Arlen Robinson [00:01]
Welcome back to the E-commerce Marketing Podcast, everyone. My name is Arlen, and I am your host. Today, we have a very special guest, Praveen Narra, the visionary founder and CEO of Tech.us. Praveen has an illustrious career spanning over 25 years in the tech industry. His expertise shines through in the successful execution of over 1,350 AI, SaaS, and mobile projects. Welcome to the podcast, Praveen.

Praveen Narra, Tech.us [00:44]
Thank you for having me, Arlen. It’s a great pleasure to be here.

Arlen Robinson [00:47]
Thank you for joining us today. I’m really excited to talk to you. As I mentioned before, you’re in an area that’s super hot right now—AI. Today, we’ll discuss how e-commerce companies can use AI effectively to provide tangible results rather than just buzzword boosts. Many companies are just throwing in AI because it’s a big buzzword, but you’re going to tell us how to uncover true value with AI. But before we get into that, why don’t you tell us a bit more about your background and how you got into what you’re doing today?

Praveen Narra, Tech.us [02:08]
Absolutely. My journey with technology started in college, about 30 years ago. I took courses in AI, like pattern recognition and image processing, which sparked my passion for AI. Back then, AI was still in its early stages. I grew a passion for coding and, after graduating from Birla Institute of Technology and Science in India, I embarked on a career that allowed me to explore the intersection of technology and business. I worked with giants like Microsoft and Dillard’s Department Stores and gained valuable insights into how technology can transform operations and create value for businesses and people. My passion for AI grew stronger, and that fueled my desire to start Tech.us. We’ve been in business for over 24 years, completing over 1,400 projects. We serve clients like NBC Sports, NBC Universal, Synopsys, and Tony Robbins. For the last seven to eight years, AI has been at the heart of what we do. It’s been incredibly rewarding to see our work deliver tangible results for clients.

Arlen Robinson [04:02]
That’s awesome. It sounds like you guys aren’t newcomers to the game. You’ve been involved in AI for a very long time. It’s good to know that you’re utilizing it with some major players in various industries. Now, if you could share a specific example of how Tech.us has used AI internally to provide tangible value to your customers over time, that would be great.

Praveen Narra, Tech.us [05:06]
Sure. We use AI in a variety of ways, one of which is to help us write better code. Our team uses AI to write test cases. Once the code is written, AI figures out all the different test cases to test the code. AI is doing a pretty good job with that. We’re also exploring how AI can upgrade software to newer versions of operating systems or programming languages. For our customers, I’ll give an example of a small company, a construction material recycling yard. They relied on efficient throughput of trucks carrying waste materials. Their initial process was manual and time-consuming, creating bottlenecks. We developed an AI-powered iPad app that automated the truck verification process. By taking a photo of the incoming truck, the app used AI to read the license plate, instantly verifying client details and streamlining operations. This allowed more trucks to pass through each day, directly impacting their top line and bottom line. This is just one example of how you can prioritize tangible value over buzz.

Arlen Robinson [07:37]
Awesome. Thank you for sharing that. As you mentioned, the use of AI to write test cases is interesting. I’m familiar with AI helping to troubleshoot code and develop snippets, but this is new to me. Now, bringing this conversation into e-commerce businesses, specifically those that aren’t tech-savvy, what would be your top three recommendations for them to ensure they get the best value from AI?

Praveen Narra, Tech.us [15:46]
Great question. First and foremost, start with the customer in mind. Identify your customer’s pain points and desires. Look for areas where AI can enhance their experiences, whether it’s personalized recommendations or improved customer support. Second, prioritize low-hanging fruit. Focus on AI applications that are relatively easy to implement and can deliver quick wins, like using a chatbot for customer support or a basic recommendation engine. Third, data is key. Ensure you have clean and well-organized data. Investing in data infrastructure will maximize the value that AI initiatives can deliver. Remember, garbage in, garbage out.

Arlen Robinson [17:38]
Very true. Now, there are many pitfalls that companies face when implementing AI. What are some of them, and how can they be avoided to ensure an effective AI strategy?

Praveen Narra, Tech.us [18:48]
Common pitfalls include unrealistic expectations, lack of expertise, and data challenges. Some companies expect AI to be a magic pill that solves all their problems overnight, which isn’t realistic. AI requires specialized skills, so consider partnering with AI experts or consultants. Also, poor data quality leads to poor AI results. Investing in data infrastructure ensures you have clean and reliable data. Start small with a pilot project, test the waters, and collaborate with AI professionals.

Arlen Robinson [20:24]
Great advice. What metrics or KPIs do you use to measure the success and value of your AI projects?

Praveen Narra, Tech.us [21:10]
We measure success using a few different metrics tailored to each project. Key metrics include return on investment (ROI), efficiency gains, and customer satisfaction. Additionally, we look at the accuracy and performance of AI models. Some of our AI models have achieved accuracy levels of up to 99%, far superior to what humans can achieve manually.

Arlen Robinson [22:18]
Customer satisfaction is definitely key, especially for e-commerce businesses. What would you say are some pitfalls companies should avoid when implementing AI?

Praveen Narra, Tech.us [23:25]
Unrealistic expectations, lack of expertise, and data challenges are common pitfalls. Companies should set realistic expectations, consider partnering with AI experts, and ensure they have clean and reliable data. Start small, test the waters, and gain experience before scaling up.

Arlen Robinson [23:26]
Great points. Lastly, if our listeners want to reach out to you and learn more about how they can utilize AI effectively for their e-commerce brand, what’s the best way for them to reach you?

Praveen Narra, Tech.us [32:02]
The best way to reach me is through our website, tech.us. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn by searching for Praveen Narra Tech.us. I’m always happy to connect with people who are enthusiastic about technology and AI. If someone is in the range of $10 million to $100 million in revenue, I’m happy to offer a free consultation if they email [email protected] and mention e-commerce AI recommendation in the subject line.

Arlen Robinson [32:47]
Thank you for that offering. We’ll include the website address in the show notes. Praveen, this has been a great conversation. Thank you for sharing your knowledge about AI and its applications in e-commerce.

Praveen Narra, Tech.us [33:07]
Arlen, it’s been my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Arlen Robinson [33:10]
Thank you.

Podcast Guest Info

Praveen Narra
Founder and CEO of Tech.us