5-in-5 with SVP Global Partnerships Joe Deely


Joe Deely is Senior Vice President Global partnerships at Arria NLG. He joined the Company in 2012 and has worked on numerous Natural Language Generation applications within finance, oil and gas, healthcare and insurance sectors. Originally from Christchurch New Zealand, Joe brings a wealth of experience having worked at a number of SaaS software and software automation companies. Joe is a regular speaker at industry events and focuses on bringing about digital transformation for enterprise through working with strategic partners in the UK, US and India.

1. What does your role entail as SVP Global Partnerships?

I spend most of my time working with two specific partners – Genpact and Deloitte. These organizations are large, so they obviously have numerous opportunities for our NLG technology. Half the challenge is making sure the key people know about our capability so we can capitalize on the opportunities. The other key challenge is to help large organizations join the dots internally as to who is doing what NLG projects with Arria. The more we can help our partners do this, the more momentum we can maintain to get opportunities for partnering for customer solutions.                                                                                                      

2. What does it mean to partner with Arria NLG?

To partner with Arria ultimately means establishing an ‘NLG practice’ internally where a substantial number of people in the partner organization are able to conduct the sales, configuration and deployment of NLG applications for their clients using our software development toolkits.

Initially, we assist on the building of each application and ensure that we are able to meet the tight delivery timeframes whilst optimizing the engagement process. There are a lot of challenges in the day-to-day running of a successful collaboration, but luckily for Arria, we have extremely talented and multi-faceted people who can flexibly fit into each engagement we take on. Over time, we will make sure that the partner and Arria smooth out the engagement approach and refine how we work together for mutual benefit.

3. What are we doing with/for our current partners.

We’re adding a lot of value for our partners by being able to showcase the future of AI in specific areas of business such as finance and across multiple sectors. We can also help our partners in taking their customers’ brief or problem statement and translate that into a feature requirements summary of new applications. We are able to give our partners a piece of technology which has many avenues for ongoing and growing revenue. NLG technology is scalable and repeatable, and this makes it an attractive investment. The NLG applications themselves add value and there is also further value in the professional services engagements that our partners can provide on the back of an NLG application. There are many areas where we can add value both operationally and commercially.

4. Where do you hope to see Arria in regards to future partnership?

Arria is poised to be a true vendor for partners in offering training and senior level assistance on projects where partners may struggle. This will help limit our exposure in terms of the number of resources we need to dedicate to any one partner or any one project.  From being a vendor with multiple partners who have substantial NLG capability internally, we will be poised to drive our revenues from the licensing that our partners sell to their clients, and in this way, rapidly grow our revenue base, and therefore our ability to expand our reach to further partners and clients.

5. Being one of the longest serving Arria employees, what are some key insights that you have learnt along the way (in relation to Technology/NLG in the work place, etc.)?

I believe there are many things we have learnt. The first that comes to mind, is that our ability to be ever more precise and clear in explaining our technology and how it actually works, does wonders to get clients and partners across the line to commit to projects. Nobody likes ‘black boxes’ but it’s not exactly simple describing what’s happening in our NLG Platform. There is always a balance between how much you should try to explain to an interested party versus the risk of not explaining enough. You want to give them the confidence that this technology is fit for their purpose.

Another key insight I have personally acquired from many years at Arria is that we’re probably best poised out of all the NLG companies to tackle the ‘big challenges’ in this space when it comes to applied NLG technology. That is because we have invested more and deeper into the core Platform’s ability to handle the most complex use cases, and give the most flexibility to the developer to provide a solution using our Platform. Anyone can build a cheap and cheerful smart template machine, but it takes real time and money to get a sophisticated multi-level Platform like ours market ready.

Finally, I have seen that the work being done in the arena of AI, Cognitive, Machine Learning and other advanced technologies is still very experimental. They are still at the foothills of the mountains they must climb to make a real difference in customer implementations. Whereas NLG is here now, mature and market ready. It is totally configurable to be accurate and consistent at enterprise scale. This means we are ready and waiting when it comes to customers who want some AI now that can meaningfully transform their business.

 Author: Joe Deely, Senior Vice President, Global Partnerships at Arria NLG

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