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[Forbes] Eli Lilly and Parexel Talk About the ROI of Practical AI

Marshall Van Alstyne



June 9, 2022

Forbes recently published an article on pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and how it has utilized practical artificial intelligence to improve quality of operations in manufacturing. Following up on the recent MIT CIO Symposium panel, “How Artificial Intelligence Powers Digital Ecosystems,” which featured Marshall Van Alstyne, Professor of Information Systems, the article offers some additional reflections.

Until Practical AI was implemented, Eli Lilly’s process of inspecting syringe quality required manual inspection. This process then became automated using a vision system to find defective syringes. With the addition of deep learning algorithms, the overall accuracy of the system improved. Not only did this positively impact efficiency and quality of operations, but it also allowed the company to cut down on drug development time.

According to the author, the recent panel discussion was dominated by the idea of learning from data created inside and outside of enterprises. During the discussion, Marshall stressed the importance of externalization, describing how data can be generated from and used across a business ecosystem. The panelists emphasized the importance of educating employees about data and analytics, as well as creating a company ecosystem that allows data to flow freely.

Marshall Van Alstyne is a Questrom Professor of Management in Information Systems at Boston University Questrom School of Business and is one of the leading experts in network business models. He conducts research on information economics, covering such topics as communications markets, the economics of networks, intellectual property, social effects of technology, and productivity effects of information. As co-developer of the concept of “two-sided networks” he has been a major contributor to the theory of network effects, a set of ideas now taught worldwide. His co-authored article on the subject is a Harvard Business Review top 50 of all time. Awards include two patents, National Science Foundation IOC, SGER, SBIR, iCorp and Career Awards, and eight best paper awards. Articles or commentary have appeared in Science, Nature, Management Science, Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.