Anthony Goonetilleke is group president, technology and head of strategy at Amdocs. He and the corporate strategy team are responsible for formulating the strategy of the company, as well as developing and executing on long-term growth plans aligned with the company's purpose and vision. Anthony also head's the company's product and technology groups, responsible for creating industry leading cloud platforms that meet rapidly evolving market needs, scale efficiently and provide immediate business benefits to service providers and their customers.
Amdocs is a provider of software and managed services for communications, media, and entertainment service providers.
What initially attracted you to computer science?
My Dad bought me a Sinclair ZX81 when I was a little kid (it had 1K of memory… that’s right, 1K!), and it was something we bonded over. It was my first foray into writing code, and generally getting excited about creating things. That started my path into computers and all things technology. My Dad’s background was also engineering – that certainly didn’t hurt!
You were an active developer within the early Linux community during the 1990s, what were you working on at Linux and what were some of your key takeaways from this experience?
I was introduced to Linux by one of my college professors, and it completely expanded my mind to where software can go when it’s open and people can contribute. I think I ‘got’ the model of ‘open source’ early on, and that influenced a lot of my thinking on technology strategy. I worked on Samba, a Linux connectivity protocol, and that got me started down the enterprise software path. Really, it happened at a dynamic time, as the internet was starting to come to life in a widescale way in the education sector, and then into commercial avenues.
You began your career with Amdocs in 1999, and you were instrumental in building the first managed services outsourced data center for a Telstra subsidiary, what were some of the challenges at the time behind this?
When you’re building data centers, infrastructure and applications all at the same time – while trying to ensure it’s mission-critical and highly available – on emerging hardware and software, it becomes a fun and interesting challenge. Getting everything to work in harmony is one of the single largest challenges, especially when we were essentially building a home-grown cloud in our own data center.
As the Group President of Technology and Head of Strategy at Amdocs, can you share some details on what this role entails and what your average day looks like?
Sure, as the Group President of Technology, I’m responsible for our R&D organization, product and offerings, ensuring that our thousands of engineers, architects, and developers create the industry’s best products. With my other hat as the Head of Strategy, I’m responsible for ensuring that we are constantly looking forward, staying ahead of the trends, and finding new growth opportunities for Amdocs and its customers.
You recently oversaw the company’s recent launch of Amdocs amAIz, a Generative AI Framework for the Telecom industry. Why is this tool a gamechanger for the telecom industry?
Generative AI is here, but just as importantly, it’s here to stay. The technology has huge potential to create more agile organizations as it is embedded in daily processes ranging from back-office options to end-user experiences. amAIz is a critical framework for our industry, as it simplifies the requirements for our customers to adopt generative AI in their businesses. By leveraging the best of the industry’s evolving foundational LLMs, and overlaying a robust vertical taxonomy, and pre-configured ‘use case kits,’ our customers simply need to choose what generative AI capability they’d like, and we take care of all of the important underlying technology integration, training and governance.
What are some of the challenges behind Generative AI hallucinations and how is Amdocs addressing this to reduce or mitigate these?
Hallucinations stem from the way statistics are used in the implementation of the algorithms. At its core, generative AI uses data to predict responses based on vector models. The data used to train the models is massive, but the concept is quite simple. That said, generative is not human and it can’t exercise judgment. Instead, it predicts ‘most likely’ results based on statistical modeling, and it sometimes creates responses that aren’t accurate. The challenge that every user of generative AI faces is managing the training and ‘guardrails’ in the deployment of generative AI models to minimize the hallucinations, or the likelihood that it will hallucinate. Amdocs is developing a robust governance layer that addresses challenges around hallucinations, data bias and other complexities of emerging generative AI technology.
Another recent announcement was the launch of Next generation version of Amdocs Cloud Management Platform which leverages the amAIz GenAI framework for automating the entire lifecycle of IT and is built to accelerate service providers’ journey to cloud, utilizing DevOps and FinOps. Could you share some details on some of the machine learning that is used and more details on this tool?
The Amdocs Cloud Management Platform helps our customers operate complex cloud footprints efficiently and simply. Not only did we embed thousands of telco-specific processes and code elements in the platform to accelerate development and optimize operations, but we’re also enhancing the platform with generative AI capabilities to ensure that business processes are continuously and dynamically updated. As with many forms of traditional AI, machine learning continues to play an important role in the ongoing improvement of many aspects of the cloud lifecycle, particularly as it relates to application and infrastructure operations.
Cloud computing costs are an issue for telecom companies, how does Amdocs assist in keeping these costs lower than traditional cloud computing?
There are two important components to our approach to optimizing cloud costs. The first part is designing and executing cloud strategies that best fit the needs of our customers. This includes ensuring alignment with their budget, scalability needs, etc. The second is optimizing the operations, particularly through the use of automation and FinOps. FinOps, which is an important function of our cloud management platform, ensures that service providers can clearly see all of their cloud activities across providers and infrastructure, helps them adjust policies reduce costs, and proactively recommends changes that can be made to better match resource consumption with customer demands.
Thank you for the great interview, readers who wish to learn more should visit Amdocs.
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