The Future of AI at Deltek with Bret Tushaus

We speak with Bret Tushaus, VP of Product Management at Deltek, about the company’s new AI tool, Dela, and how businesses can best harness AI

The hype around artificial intelligence (AI) has led more businesses to invest in the technology to remain competitive.

With the advent of ChatGPT and the big enterprise push for generative AI (Gen AI) putting AI in a larger spotlight, businesses are needing to be mindful of opportunities versus risks and ensure they are harnessing the power of AI safely.

With this in mind, Technology Magazine speaks with Deltek’s Bret Tushaus about the opportunities and risks of enterprise AI and how the company is harnessing the technology to help businesses advance their goals.

“The onset of Gen AI has really demonstrated the possibilities that are much more accessible than they were prior,” Bret says. “Businesses are now starting to realise that if they don't leverage AI, their competition could have a leg up on them.”

What are some of the opportunities and risks of enterprise AI?

Being able to do more with less is key, especially now given the economic pressure that's on many organisations and companies today. 

That manifests itself in a number of different ways. It can be something as obvious as automation, using AI to automate tasks that humans might otherwise do. Gen AI has the ability to scale certain things in ways that would've been a lot more difficult previously.

The other key opportunity is enhanced decision making - being smarter about how you’re servicing your customers.

At Deltek, with the capabilities of AI and the amount of data that's available to us today, we are able to give our customers line of sight into how a project is performing in a much more predictive way. This will allow an organisation to identify a problem before it really turns into a big problem.

The opportunity to do that and the accessibility of the technology to support that type of capability is more apparent than ever before. 

Concerning the risk side of AI, our annual survey results show that one of the leading risk challenges for businesses is cybersecurity. AI certainly doesn't change that, in fact, it probably amplifies it because organisations are now leveraging additional technology in many cases. As a result, its increasing risk footprint from cyberattacks and data breaches.

Clarity 2024: Trends & Insights for Architecture, Engineering and Consulting Firms report - key findings (Source; Deltek)
  • 67% of firms expect to lose market share within two years if they fail to make significant digital transformation, and AI is seen as a key solution
  • 74% of firms are confident that investing in AI will expand the services that they can deliver to the market
  • 41% believe that successful AI implementation will increase profits
  • Looking at risks, the top challenge for 2024 is cyber-security risks / breaches (78%) with almost a third of firms experiencing a cyber-attack/threat in the past 18 months

Cyber security and data privacy concerns are risks that have definitely amplified as a result of AI.

What do businesses need to be mindful of when it comes to AI? How can they best protect their organisations?

At Deltek, we're seeing with our customers that companies need to be more mindful of the terms and conditions of solutions they're using than they ever have before. That's a unique thing that, again, has been amplified by AI. 

All of these new AI tools that look really cool and promise great value, it's easy to get sucked into that. Very quickly you could be making your data available somewhere where you don't want it available and setting up your organisation for risks that may not be readily apparent in more mainstream tools.

We're going through the process at Deltek of ensuring that the technology is using data in a responsible way and isn't a risk from a security perspective so that our customers don't really have to think about it.

Tell us about Deltek’s new product, Dela.

Dela is our AI-powered intelligent business companion. It encompasses a lot of different functionality features that we're incorporating across our entire product portfolio.

We focus on probably three primary things when it comes to what Dela encompasses. The first is generating smart content with the advent of Gen AI and the ability to take vast amounts of data and serve that up in a summarised way. We serve natural language in a way that can be delivered to the market, leveraging all of the data within our systems.

Secondly, Dela covers insights and smart decision making. For Deltek, we deliver solutions that are focused on project-focused industries. Everything that we serve up to the market is about project success and making those projects smarter. Any line of sight that we can give into those key metrics is going to be helpful to that organisation making decisions on where that project is going. Any course correction that they might need to do is a key part of that predicting project success. 

One of the great things about the solutions that Deltek brings to the table is we have a massive amount of data from projects that our customers have delivered in the past. Having that intelligence and being able to deliver that to our customers is key. 

Finally, Dela covers intelligent exploration. We see Gen AI and the capabilities around it as a vehicle or a mechanism through which our end users can have a conversation with their ERP software. That's a big deal because getting information out of our solutions is one of the key things that our customers need to run their businesses and run their projects effectively.

It's all about having a conversation with the massive amount of information that's within our solutions.

What does the future of AI look like for Deltek?

To date, we've done a decent amount with traditional AI. Building on that is what I'm most excited about. 

Deltek has power and large amounts of data within its solutions. There is a wealth of information in that data that we can use to make an organisation even smarter in terms of how they deliver future projects. 

I’m excited about how we can leverage that data in ways that we haven't thought of yet, because there’s huge opportunities above and beyond what we've already done. 

Another thing I’m looking forward to is how we can start to implement Gen AI agent components within our solutions. It's not just about harvesting information, it's also about taking action for the end user as well - taking Gen AI to a whole new level.

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