Life at ElectrifAi: Aliya Khan, Product Owner of ProcurementAi
“It’s inspiring and motivating that ElectrifAi believes in big ideas,” says ElectrifAi Product Owner Aliya Khan. This innovative spirit truly drives everything she does, from keeping her team motivated to finding ways to solve blockers as efficiently as possible.
What’s your role at ElectrifAi?
I’m the Product Owner of ProcurementAi. I also cover Scrum Master duties of ProcurementAi.
What does a typical day look like for you?
On ProcurementAi, our team has grown a lot recently and we’re all acting on a scrum team. Every morning we have a daily scrum meeting where we talk about where the team is blocked and try to figure out how we can resolve those blockers. I’ll follow up on any of those blockers as the scrum-master and then in my product owner role I’ll make sure the team has work planned out for them. I also make sure the roadmap is really filled out with the new features that are going to be added and work on product tasks like interviewing our users, talking to our stakeholders and working with our designers and developers.
What product(s) are you focusing on at the moment?
ProcurementAi. I worked on SplashAi last year.
Which product has been your favorite to work on?
I love ProcurementAi. It’s inspiring to see the team build this thing from scratch. We aren’t using any enterprise BI tools here so we’re really just building it using our own UI code. Everything’s really custom to us and really flexible so if a customer wants something displayed in a different way we’re able to adapt to those requests.
What is the main problem that ElectrifAi is solving with this product?
With ProcurementAi, our customers are procurement professionals who deal with a huge amount of data that can be poor quality, unstandardized, and generally not really collected in a smart and easy to use way. What’s nice about ProcurementAi is that ElectrifAi is taking all of that data, cleaning it, standardizing it and displaying it in a beautiful and clear way so that procurement professionals can actually make some higher-level decisions during their day. Otherwise, they’d be spending more time just tracking down low level data or trying to get a good picture of what’s going on. With ProcurementAi, It’s already been cleaned and organized for them so that they can actually make some good action items on their procurement.
How is ElectrifAi’s approach to this solution unique?
One thing that we really like about ProcurementAi is the insights that we offer into where a user could increase their savings, reduce risk, or improve the efficiency of their processes. Procurement professionals like category managers, analysts, and CPOs have to come up with those ideas and improvements on their own to shine in their job but we’re able to easily present those insights to them at the top of their homepage using AI. Through our program, they have some starting points for their investigation.
What is the added value of using AI and ML instead of a rules-based system in this solution?
For one, using Ai instead of a rules-based system is faster. We live in a world where lots of data is constantly coming in and procurement is still on a quarterly or monthly refresh. Using AI allows us to get that time lift so in our roadmap we’re now able to start looking at weekly and daily refreshes of data. The other thing that’s really fun to note about Ai vs. rules-based is that ProcurementAi has ContractAi as well and as we know, contracts are huge, dense, and full of legal language that’s kind of hard to decipher if you’re not a lawyer. Rules don’t really work that well in situations like that since you really need natural language processing to get clauses out. Contracts are all so different so it’s important to grab the information that’s there.
What’s an example of #AIforgood that you think is particularly inspiring?
A lot of my personal interests lie in combating climate change and helping the environment so I’m always interested to see how AI is helping out in that area. When we have better models we can make better decisions on how to offset climate change and there are some really cool machine models that are coming out that are offering us better information.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned while working at ElectrifAi?
Well, I started as a technical writer a few years ago and moved up to being a product owner for a pretty big team, so most of the lessons I’ve learned have been about how to make a team work well. I think an important thing for teams is for them to see and be involved in the future decisions of the product they’re working on. That’s something that’s really engaging and motivating because it makes it so everyone on the team believes in the same vision. As I’ve become a leader, I’ve learned that this strategy keeps the team motivated and keeps us all really inspired to produce something cool.
Is there anything that’s surprised you about working at ElectrifAi?
I’m definitely happily surprised by a lot of our projects that are in their infancy since they’re fostering innovation in new fields. It’s inspiring and motivating that ElectrifAi believes in big ideas.
Now that we’ve reached 2020, how do you predict the world of AI and ML will change over the course of this decade?
AI and ML are going to be everywhere. Everywhere they aren’t right now, they will be eventually. We’re modeling all sorts of things and making predictions all over the world every day and those are all going to be aided by AI.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I really like cooking! That’s probably my biggest hobby. I’m also involved in my community about climate change and the environment.