Women in AI
What would life be like if people gave you 100% of their attention? What if they dedicated all of their focus to discovering your needs and helping you accomplish your goals? For Stacey Tomasoni, Managing Director at Datacom in Australia, an AI system designed to handle customer support should achieve this level of concentration for each and every user.
Stacey leads the Datacom Connect initiative, which requires her team to deliver operational mastery and superior customer service at scale for over 10 million interactions per year.
“We use AI in a number of ways,” she explains. “The virtual assistant space and contact centers are such a great place to use AI. So many interactions don’t add a whole heap of value having a human in the middle. Using AI is about being able to enable people to help themselves 24/7, wherever they are in the world.”
One critical project Stacey is currently immersed in centers on the establishment of a remote contact center environment supporting unprecedented demand for contact center services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stacey’s team worked collaboratively with partners, including IPsoft, to provide rapid, scalable, secure services for Australians who need access to essential services through digital and voice channels. In collaboration with partners, the project teams had to design the end-to-end experience, integrating services such as user authentication, CRM, advanced security, AI and Software as a Service with Datacom’s own private cloud (DCS) to stand these systems up in record time.
“The idea of creating connected experiences has shifted into a whole new arena in terms of strategic importance right now. I am seeing the shift in complexity of problems we are able to solve for our customers through the powerful combination of digital and human workers and how relevant this is now and beyond COVID-19. We’ve been fortunate to have played a key role in the nation’s COVID-19 effort through job creation and working with technology partners to rapidly scale people and platforms to support our communities.”
Stacey had never worked in technology prior to joining Datacom in 2008. At her last company, International SOS, the world’s largest medical assistance and security company, she served as an Operations Director.
She was interested in her initial role at Datacom because of the high level of leadership and responsibility the role would provide. She was however a bit daunted by the technical support aspect of the business and wondered how she would handle that.
“As a woman in IT, confidence can be a challenge, which I have not been immune to, and I have personally found it really helpful to have someone external to act as a sounding board and a constant checkpoint to remind me that, ‘I am good enough,’” she says.
This is why Stacey advises all women who are interested in pursuing a role in technology to “throw yourself into the arena. Women are more likely to hold off from volunteering for a role where they don’t tick off all the boxes. Generally, men are more confident to take on a task they aren’t exactly skilled for.”
Luckily for Datacom, and anyone looking for a technology role model, Stacey accepted her Datacom position. She says attending Datacom’s annual hackathon for the first-time last year was one of her 2019 highlights. This year was a record breaker with more than 500 joining the event, including 100 Talent X participants, a program Datacom developed to target under-represented segments of the community — including indigenous people, women, and technical novices.
“Twelve years later, I’ve fallen in love with the place and the idea that a non-tech person like me can make sense of it and help others connect and get excited about technology,” she says. “That’s a real gift. I’ve seen others fall in love with the powerful combo of technology and people and how it can help us get to a better place…that’s where the real magic begins.”