AI is here. Is your business ready for it?
Why you need AI — and how can your organization be ready for it.
For many of us, artificial intelligence is already part of our daily lives as we turn to Siri and Alexa for updates and chatbots delivering content to customers.
But what about Artificial Intelligence in the business world?
AI leaders expect that the modern workforce will be comfortable working alongside robots by 2020.
AI is a broad term. It refers to a group of technologies that include machine and deep learning, predictive analytics, process automation, speech recognition, biometrics, and natural language processing. These technologies allow businesses to mine data, generate insights, create operational efficiencies, provide stronger experiences, and close the gap between information and action in ways that were never possible before. As such, AI has applications in virtually every industry.
Collaboration between humans and machines can enhance
capabilities, create new job opportunities, and open the door to deeper,
more accurate insights and foresight. But before businesses can see the
benefits of better customer experiences, productivity, and revenue
growth, they must first prepare their organizations for change.
IDC estimates that the AI market will surge from about $8 billion in 2016 to more than $47 billion in 2020.
One critical element differentiates AI success from AI failure:
strategy. AI cannot be implemented piecemeal. It must be part of the
organization’s overall business plan, along with aligned resources,
structures, and processes.
How a company prepares its corporate culture for this transformation
is vital to its long-term success. That includes preparing
people by having senior management that understands the benefits of
AI; fostering the right skills, talent, and training; managing change; and
creating an environment with processes that welcome innovation
before, during, and after the transition.
Although 82% of all respondents plan to implement AI-related technologies in the next three years, only 38% say they currently provide employees with reskilling options.
For making AI work the foundations should be right.
Just one quarter of organizations say they are getting significant impact
from it. But these leading businesses have taken clear, practical steps to get
the results they want. Here are five of their key strategies :
• Dedicate sufficient resources and funding to AI
• Gain senior management support
• Focus on process, not function
• Reskill your teams and foster a learning culture
• Encourage innovation
THE HUMAN FACTOR: KNOW HOW TO EMBRACE CHANGE.
There is an element of psychology that plays a large part in AI implementation, and that means paying attention to the human factor by fostering a culture of innovation and openness to change, with a
primary emphasis on training and development.
It’s critical to understand, however, what training and reskilling mean
in practical terms. “The organizations that invest in training have to be
continually monitoring where the market is, what the competition is
doing, what the new skills and technologies are, and implementing
training programs with that in mind,” says Mark Fox, professor of
industrial engineering at the University of Toronto and one of the pioneers
of AI development. “It’s really more of a ‘monitor and adapt’ situation as
opposed to a wholesale prediction of what’s going to happen 10 or 20 years
down the road.”
POSITIVE BUSINESS OUTCOMES THROUGH AI
While the full impact of AI won’t be felt for some years,
the technology is already having a large positive influence on the
businesses that invest in it heavily, because it allows us to solve problems we have not yet been able to solve.
Succeeding with digital technologies, companies identified as AI leaders are also more likely to be top performers in productivity, profitability, and the ability to adapt to evolving market conditions.
AI can be used for competitive advantage. The return on investment from AI is considerable. AI leaders, top-line impact is more prevalent as AI improves processes, increased revenues, and better customer experiences which are the top three areas of impact.
“Ultimately, the combination of humans plus computers
is more powerful than humans alone, and certainly more powerful than computers alone.”
— Jody Kochansky, head of the Aladdin Product Group, BlackRock
AI leaders are also consistently more likely to have a range of positive expectations from AI-related technologies, including reallocating human work to more complex activities, improving processes, and transforming products and services.
Companies are clearly optimistic about the value AI will bring in the near future. Nearly all survey respondents plan to implement AI related technologies in the next three years, and most are aware that it will transform the workforce. Almost half agree that employees will become comfortable working with robots — a number that shoots up significantly among companies realizing the highest levels of impact from AI.
It’s also important to remember that AI is part of a much bigger
process of re-engineering enterprises. The technologies of AI are completely integrated into the fabric of business, allowing private and
public-sector organizations to transform themselves and society in
With the right pieces in place to align the organization, workforces can not only survive automation but thrive alongside it. And that is the real story behind the headlines.