No business could have predicted the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and Max Kelsen is no exception. However, that disruption has made way for more of its machine learning- (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered solutions.
With more people than ever working from home, the Queensland-based ML and AI consultancy took the opportunity provided by the COVID-19 pandemic to look outward and increase its efforts – both abroad and at home.
This is just one part of the plan it has at the moment, according to CEO Nick Therkelsen-Terry.
“In reality, no one is completely aligned to the same strategy they had at the start of the year, given the massive, structural and economic impact of the pandemic,” he told ARN.
“One of the main changes which we have seen since January is that we are now more globally focused than we ever have been, with less travel required to meet customers and less need to put people in the geographies we operate in.
“We are also more focused on helping our customers adapt and thrive in the post COVID-19 era. Thirdly, it also necessitates us to develop and fast track new products and solutions to combat the quickly saturating market.”
At the moment, Therkelsen-Terry expects to continue to grow the consultancy during the next six to nine months, even with the disruption to economies and industries taking place around the world.
Of course, this is under its current plan — potential future disruptions driven by COVID-19 lockdowns are just as likely to alter plans as much as previous ones.
Regardless, in the current short-term, Max Kelsen is keeping an eye on ML and AI applications into health science and retail – areas it has found success in over the last few months, as seen with the University of Queensland and Domino’s Pizza in Australia and New Zealand, respectively.
The healthcare industry has at least two ML avenues Therkelsen-Terry is looking at closely.
The first is on the consumer side through telehealth enablement, which he believes will be adopted everywhere due to COVID-19, with ML being used to accelerate science and patient-based outcomes.
On the other end of the spectrum, the CEO sees ML playing a role in advancing precision medicine through examining and classifying large data sets for diagnoses, as well as creating treatment paths for patients – an area the consultancy is engaged in.
“We are currently working with a large, Brisbane-based study into skin cancer incidence. They are using machine learning to help significantly speed up the time it takes to classify thousands of patients' skin cancer – a process which, if done manually, would have taken years,” he said.
This runs closely alongside one of the consultancy’s primary focuses of cancer genomics with its belief of “reinvesting strongly in areas where AI and ML can play a significant role for the betterment of society and the globe,” according to Therkelsen-Terry.
Meanwhile, the retail food space, he added, needs to deal with the changing behaviour of customers.
“Some industries have been badly affected by the pandemic, but even those who have done relatively well during COVID-19, including successfully transitioning online, have had to become more attuned to forecasting demand and ML plays a key role there,” Therkelsen-Terry said.
Moving forward, the CEO believes that the absolute key attributes for how tech providers find success in a post-coronavirus pandemic world will be the same as they were prior to the pandemic — good work with practical applications, be an ambassador for their respective industry and work with the right vendor partners.
However, that’s not to say that there won’t be any changes to these attributes. One such change Therkelsen-Terry predicts is that providers will need to be able to break down exactly how a solution can help a customer.
“It will be important for tech providers to explain clearly how their solutions will benefit customers’ businesses – improving their visibility over their supply chains, for instance, or getting them better insight into what their customers want,” Therkelsen-Terry said.
ARN Advance is a centralised editorial resource designed to help partners access forward-looking content as the Australian market attempts to reposition for growth.