Science & Technology

Applied Materials battles COVID storm with automation, proactive big data and AI-driven decision-making

The best businesses are those that can make informed and calculated financial and operational bets before, during and after a cataclysmic event.

One such recent event is the current pandemic. In a time where some companies in the semiconductor and microchip business suffered material shortages reduced profit forecasts, Applied Materials Inc. saw sustained growth driven, in large part, by its proactive commitment to artificial intelligence and robotic process automation.

“If you want to say where we made a big bet as a company, we went all-in on AI,” said Junaid Ahmed (pictured), corporate vice president of finance at Applied Materials. “We believed in that growth at a time when I think not everyone was so convinced. So, we had the benefit of going all-in on AI and saying this is another big computing wave. And Gary Dickerson, our CEO, bet on the company and that we’re going to enable this growth.”

Ahmed spoke with Dave Vellante and Lisa Martin, co-hosts of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, during last month’s UiPath Forward IV conference. They discussed how Applied Materials‘ proactive digital transformation set it up for sustained market dominance. (* Disclosure below.)

The unique approach at Applied Materials

RPA is usually seen in software and solutions-focused companies. Applied Materials, however, took a slightly different approach and applied it to the digital transformation of the company’s finance and leadership areas.

“The pandemic touched the whole global economy. No one could foresee what the pandemic would do, but we had the good fortune of saying we were reacting to the growth that we were committed to service. And we knew we had to get ahead of it. So we quickly organized … got our organization well-positioned to successfully support the company. We got hit with the pandemic, and luckily for us, we were proactive. And then you know what we did? We accelerated,” Ahmed explained.

Applied Materials was established in the 1960s and for 50 years has remained a market leader. An early adopter of the data-driven wave of accelerated digital transformation, the $116-billion company has automated more than 300,000 employee hours to date, according to Ahmed.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of UiPath’s Forward IV conference. (* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the UiPath’s Forward IV conference. Neither UiPath Inc., the sponsor for theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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