There’s a fourth wave of shift coming in the way IT is being used in easing business processes. We are moving from internet-based systems to systems and business processes being driven by artificial intelligence. According Gartner’s recent emerging technologies hype cycle AI has moved from being just a hyped up technology to something that the enterprise segment is seriously looking at or even deploying to remain competitive in the coming months.
In fact, by 2021, Gartner projects that 40% of new enterprise applications implemented by service providers will include AI technologies. The technology today offers companies achieve optimal efficiency in their business processes and serve customer needs better. Arup Roy, Research Director, Gartner India tells HPC Asia, how companies should plan to implement this technology, and how it can benefit organisations going forward.
How is AI defining business processes of organisations today?
Artificial intelligence as technology for businesses defines the fourth generation of IT usage. In the current scenario the biggest impact is in the way chat platforms have evolved. The human-machine interaction will change. It will be more life-like, as in a human agent. It is an area where we see the chat platforms being powered by intelligence that will enable better customer engagement – helping in purchase decision. The possibilities are immense with AI. Things like advanced analytics, deep learning, machine-learning all will have beneficial effect on business processes when implemented with the right strategy. Banks, healthcare organisations and retail segment gain most right from adopting AI.
What should the CXOs focus on when implementing AI?
While the tendency is to just deploy some aspect of AI within a business process, but that is not the way to go. The CEO and the CIO need to sit down and understand the business need, and then use draw a roadmap and the areas of improvement needed. Once you have a business case in place, then look at the how the various aspects of AI technology whether it is chatbots or virtual bot, or natural language processing, or analytics can be deployed to get the maximum returns. Just putting in a chatbots as mandated often does not give the results expected. The mind-set within the organisation has to move to data-driven business processes – where data and analytics are being extensively used to develop insights and subsequent business process.
The CIO will also have to develop a framework, assess existing applications, and evolve the complete thought-process if how AI will impact the business before evaluating AI vendors or application developers. Look for AI-based solutions that help in decision-making and process automation as the first step to using this technology.
How should an organisation deploy AI within its processes?
There are few things that you need to take note of when working out your AI-enabled digital transformation strategy. You should look at the financial impact, customer impact, business impact, the way you can execute the transformation. If that’s in your digital transformation strategy, then explore how AI can impact the points mentioned. You need to draw a business case – look at how AI can speed up your processes, help in transactions, benefit in operational terms, and the cost of acquiring the AI-based solutions. When the benefits outweigh the cost and the risk, then you should evaluate and deploy. As a CIO, you have to also ensure that the governance around your AI-based processes are in sync with the other systems and tools within the organisation.
What are the challenges of deploying AI within an organisation?
The biggest challenge is the resource and the right skill set. The organisation has to have a data and insight driven policies to be able to leverage this technology. Currently there are very few who have the right skill sets to develop an AI-based business culture. Very few have the understanding of the potential of this technology. There is a lack of skilled people and organisations will need to develop AI-skilled team who can understand the implications and implementation of data science and advances analytics. The organisations will need to invest in developing analytical thinking processes within the existing teams. To develop the teams, CIOs will need to look at domain experts, data scientists, enterprise architects who can be trained to deploy and maintain your AI-driven systems.
What is your key message to the CXOs within organisations looking to adopt AI?
As an organisation your central focus should be digital transformation. Develop a thought process around that first and work out a framework of your business processes that will benefit most from having this technology. You need to develop your understanding of how you will use this technology and the benefits you are expecting. You need to develop greater capabilities in, and reliance on data analytics. Once this is in place you can exploit the AI technologies for better business value generation.