Challenges in Machine Learning Application Development: An Industrial Experience Report

Published:

Md Saidur Rahman, Foutse Khomh, Emilio Rivera, Yann-Gaël Guéhéneuc and Bernd Lehnert "Challenges in Machine Learning Application Development: An Industrial Experience Report", 1st International Workshop on Software Engineering for Responsible Artificial Intelligence(SE4RAI). Pittsburgh, PA, USA, pages 8, 2022. (Accepted) Preprint Published


Abstract

SAP is the market leader in enterprise application software offering an end-to-end suite of applications and services to enable their customers worldwide to operate their business. Especially, retail customers of SAP deal with millions of sales transactions for their day-to-day business. Transactions are created during retail sales at the point of sale (POS) terminals and those transactions are then sent to some central servers for validations and other business operations. A considerable proportion of the retail transactions may have inconsistencies or anomalies due to many technical and human errors. SAP provides an automated process for error detection but still requires a manual process by dedicated employees using workbench software for correction. However, manual corrections of these errors are time-consuming, labor-intensive, and might be prone to further errors due to incorrect modifications. This is not only a performance overhead on the customers’ business workflow but it also incurs high operational costs to the clients. Thus, automated detection and correction of transaction errors are very important regarding their potential business values and the improvement in the business workflow. In this paper, we report on our experience from a project where we develop an AI-based system to automatically detect transaction errors and propose corrections. We identify and discuss the challenges that we faced during this collaborative research and development project, from two distinct perspectives: Software Engineering and Machine Learning. We report on our experience and insights from the project with guidelines for the identified challenges. We collect developers’ feedback for qualitative analysis of our findings. We believe that our findings and recommendations can help other researchers and practitioners embarking into similar endeavours.