Artificial intelligence (AI) has always fascinated Sri Vidya Rallapalli.
“Simply put, the immense value that ‘historical data’ plus ‘sophisticated algorithms’ can add to our day-to-day tasks is really mind-blowing,” Sri says.
As an associate director of engineering at Gainsight, Sri also recognizes AI’s influence on her team’s ability to innovate and open new doors for customers. And with the fast-moving and ever-transforming nature of the industry, Sri dedicates ample time to keeping her team’s skills sharp.
We sat down with Sri to hear more about how Gainsight is utilizing AI to enhance their customer success (CS) software — and how she helps her team adopt new technologies along the way.
AI meets the leading customer success platform
Gainsight’s technology organization is no stranger to AI. Over the years, they’ve leaned into AI-driven motion initiatives like Sally Chat Bot, Data Science-powered Renewal Forecast, and Key Point Analysis.
However, the last few months have been particularly exciting.
“Generative AI is radically transforming how we do business and develop software. Our primary approach entails focusing on key productivity enhancements in CS, advancing and simplifying our digital initiatives, and reinforcing our data platform to increase our footprint,” explains Sri.
“We believe all the data around CS will help CSMs in making intelligent decisions and partnering cross-functionally with other departments.”
Some initiatives include customer cheat sheets (comprehensive overviews of all crucial customer aspects for managers, executives, pooled CS teams, and non-CS teams), survey takeaways (AI-generated summaries of all customer feedback), and email template text generation (AI-assisted text generation for crafting email templates).
Keeping skills sharp
Sri believes that the recent generative AI changes have disrupted the AI space, and as such, she’s highly focused on helping her team adopt new technologies.
Her strategy involves encouraging teammates to apply new technology in their work in order to gain exposure and develop proficiency. This includes trying out new technological services like Copilot and ChatGPT that improve effectiveness and efficiency.
She also gives teammates the time and space needed to perform small proofs of concept using the new power of AI and large language models.
“An example of this is doing a generative AI sprint for each and every scrum team so that they would get time to learn and implement the newer concepts around generative AI and prompt engineering in particular,” Sri explains. “And then, we’ll have dedicated time scheduled with the team to review the application of AI and discuss the outcomes.”
For teammates who show enthusiasm toward adopting new technology, Sri and other Gainsight leaders create spaces for them to present their learnings through forums like weekly huddles and meet-up groups with the wider organization. They can also participate in events like hackathons to further hone these skills.
The power of mentorship
A cornerstone of Sri’s upskilling strategy is mentorship.
“Through mentorship, team members can explore AI in directions that are most relevant to their learning and growth,” she says. “This approach ensures that each individual is equipped with skills and knowledge that align with their interests and the team's objectives.”
Sri is also able to provide personalized advice and guidance to team members at every stage in their AI learning journey.
“Whether it's selecting the right courses, diving into hands-on projects, or making strategic career moves, mentorship offers invaluable support,” she adds.
4 tips to keep your AI skills sharp
If you’re looking to sharpen your own AI skills, Sri leaves you with these four tips:
- Look for hands-on learning opportunities. “Invest time in things like introductory courses that apply new AI technology to familiar use cases. Platforms like DeepLearning.AI offer excellent resources for this purpose.”
- Stay informed through social networks and influential figures. “Examples like BabyAGI, Agent Framework, Copilot, and enhanced search capabilities on proprietary knowledge bases showcase the potential of AI. Understanding these innovations and their working principles not only demonstrates the promise of the technology but also sparks ideas for its potential applications in your own work.”
- Embrace technology integration. “Don't hesitate to incorporate new AI tools and technologies into your day-to-day work. By integrating AI into your regular tasks, you gain practical experience and witness firsthand how it can enhance efficiency and productivity.”
- Regularly participate in AI competitions and challenges. “Challenges hosted on platforms like Kaggle present you with practical problems that require AI solutions. Participating not only sharpens your AI skills but also exposes you to a wide range of problem domains and AI techniques.”
As Sri looks ahead to the future, she’s excited to see how AI continues to open up doors for her team.
“We are taking the steps to transform the field of customer success and allow it to scale efficiently for our customers through AI,” she says with a smile. “This level of user-centric AI support is a game-changer in ensuring our clients get the most value from our offerings.”
See where you could fit in Gainsight’s groundbreaking technology department! Explore their career opportunities here.