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John Runte discusses technology trends and AWS collaboration

Listen to John Runte discuss what the inaugural BT Digital and AWS DeepRacer event can offer for participants.

John Runte, a principal in the consulting practice of Baker Tilly, joined the firm in 2002. John has an extensive consulting background and currently leads several teams within the consulting practice including Baker Tilly Digital, Enterprise Transformation Services and Growth Strategies. Prior to joining Baker Tilly, he consulted in a global accounting, tax, and consulting firm.

  1. What led you to working for Baker Tilly’s consulting team?
    Wow, can’t believe I was part of the team that formed our management consulting group 18 years ago given the demise of Arthur Andersen. There were four of us (and many more who quickly followed) to start our consulting team here at Baker Tilly. It’s been fun to see our team go from small to over 850 management consultants in the present day.
  2. What do you enjoy most about working for Baker Tilly Digital?
    What I love most is the constant push of innovation and watching the next generation take the reins and deliver on really innovative and complex client initiatives. I also enjoy solving complex client problems and leaving our clients in a better position than when we arrived. We offer a number of different services and solutions that bring a lot of diversity to our delivery so every day is something new. Services range from program management, project management, change management on the transformation services side to technically advanced digital solutions including custom application development and advanced analytic solutions.  Our digital labs offering is unique and focuses on proof of concept oriented solutions where we take tough business problems and we ultimately solve them using technologies in a proof of concept way prior to moving those towards production type environments. Overall, it’s the constant diversity at Baker Tilly Digital that I love.
  3. Due to the pandemic, what obstacles and/or opportunities are clients seeing?
    Since March, there have been a number of industries and businesses doing extremely well and there are others that have been challenged. We have seen some organizations that want to move forward and leverage the pandemic and the crisis for digital / transformative change. They are focused on digital applications to reduce the manual footprints within their organization.
    Everyone is focused on data. Many organizations back in March were caught with a “where exactly are we within our finances perspective, or, where are we at from an inventory perspective given stress in our supply chain.” All of these questions are certainly prime for data / analytics solutions.  We do a significant amount of work in that space and the pandemic has brought to light the number of digital use cases within organizations. I’d say the crisis pushed organizations to take action on those opportunities.
  4. What digital strategy and technology trends do you expect to see in 2021?
    Ongoing workflow enhancements so that everything that can be electronic can be migrated to digital / electronic channels. Many person-to-person workflows are being considered for digital / technical change to eliminate the in-person human interactions.
    Even when we come back to a new normal, there will be a push to utilize digital/collaborative technologies. There will be a significant focus in electronic commerce for those who have not embraced it. There will also be a significant focus on alternative supply chain tracking, inventory management techniques and even leveraging AI/ML solutions to improve operations and the overall customer experience.
  5. What does the collaboration with AWS mean for Baker Tilly Digital? What opportunities can clients take advantage of with this collaboration?
    AWS has been a strategic platform and partner for us. We are doing advanced portal and data solution projects as well as electronic commerce related solutions on the AWS platform. The partnership with AWS gives us a standard platform to think about different use cases and business problems by industry. It allows us to leverage the AWS capabilities and services to quickly solve business problems.
    AWS have a significant number of services. A great example is the propensity module. They have an algorithm that is set to deal with propensity and a great example is we have used their model to develop a propensity to pay application. It’s a predictive view of those customers and those vendor partners that have the ability to pay; certainly a critical capability during the pandemic and early economic crisis associated with the pandemic.
    We believe that leveraging these canned AWS services allow us to build strategic and game changing type applications for organizations. We are exactly where we want to be from a digital development perspective.
  6. Describe what the inaugural Deep Racer event can offer for clients and prospects.
    The DeepRacer event is a league which consists of a series of events. What we are trying to do is bring organizations together to learn about AI and machine learning. The event starts with a number of preparatory sessions including masterclasses on data science and predictive analytics. This thought leadership is available for organizations to participate in prior to the race.  We also will be creating social connections for organizations that want to collaborate with each other.
    The actual event is a race that is about using AI, machine learning and deep, predictive algorithms that allows a car to race around multiple tracks. The league we’ve established consists of three different races. In-between these races we will be hosting masterclass sessions to help these organizations learn real-world machine learning solutions. We will also be conducting industry and/or functional thought leadership “fireside chats” which will lean towards industry themes and trends for the market.
    I am really looking forward to this event! It should be a fun and interesting way to bring organizations together. If this league goes well, we will be connecting organizations and peer groups with similar interests in order to collaborate and share information, key learnings and AI use cases.
  7. Did you take up any hobbies during quarantine? / What do you like to do outside of the office?
    Outside of the office, I am an avid outdoorsman. Over quarantine, I spent a lot of time fishing with my family. It was fun to watch my 20-year old daughter gain interest since there wasn’t anything else to do! She really embraced the sport of fishing. That’s where we spent the majority of our time. I also took in a round of golf or two, but I always say you can’t be a good fisherman and a good golfer at the same time. They both take too much time to be consistently good!  

For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly specialists can help, contact our team.

John Runte
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