In 2015, the 17-year old British-American entrepreneur Joshua Browder launched an app called DoNotPay. It was a chatbot that helped users get out of parking tickets.

In 2016, The Guardian newspaper reported the chatbot had successfully contested more than 250,000 parking tickets in London and New York and won 160,000 of them, all free of charge.

I was reminded of this because it’s such a good example of an entrepreneur piggybacking on somebody else’s platform to make magical things happen.

The platform that Browder is using is IBM’s Watson, which is now in the cloud.

Watson is a system that grew out of a research project started in 2008 to compete in the popular American quiz show, Jeopardy! In 2011, it won against two previous Jeopardy! winners.

I won’t bore you with the technical specs of Watson’s hardware (it has 16 terabytes of RAM, for instance) but I will say that it costs an estimated $3 million.

Most of us — even the biggest financial institutions — don’t have that kind of spare computing power in the basement.

What does this mean?

No Watson platform, no DoNotPay app, no Joshua Browder and no relief for 160,000 irate parking-ticket recipients.

That’s the power of a platform in the cloud.

What Browder did in 2015 is what enterprises are starting to take advantage of now.

Browder has a five-year start on some companies. His little parking-ticket app is now helping people to get Green Cards in the USA and even to sue other people!

Our research partner HfS calls this the Triple-A Trifecta. The A’s are robotic automation, smart analytics and artificial intelligence.

Some real-world applications of this triple-A trifecta include a solution one financial services company is using for its portfolio managers.

They need to make investment decisions for their portfolios and clients. So this company is analysing credit card transactions of customers to extrapolate the performance of listed companies in the retail industry. That’s smart analytics. The company uses AI to comb social media comments, which are written in natural language, to understand how customers feel about those brands and companies.

It’s a short jump from there to implement automated systems to make trading decisions. Portfolio managers have been doing that since 2008.

The triple-A trifecta is one component of what Accenture is calling Intelligent Operations. Our research showed that 50% of companies complain that their back office isn’t keeping up with the goals they are setting themselves for the customer experience, or CX.

Joshua Browder didn’t have a back office at all. He designed his customer experience and hired Watson to help execute it.

If you’re reading this, chances are you agree that automation and AI will help achieve your business goals. Over 90% of survey respondents agreed with it.

The real test is not whether anybody agrees with it or not. The test is who will start implementing it. What’s interesting about the triple-A trifecta is that you can start anywhere. You don’t have to start with analytics, or AI, or automation. You can choose one, get going, and then add the others when it becomes appropriate to do so.

In a later post in this blog series I will be sharing a financial services case study where the firm in question is using the AWS platform. But if you want to read the research about Intelligent Operations, please do so by clicking this link.