Artificial Intelligence: How Can Enterprises Prepare for the Inevitable?
It is often quoted that: “It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle. When the sun comes up, you better start running.”
In my previous article, I discussed how AI (artificial intelligence) has become a ground reality and is already touching our lives and businesses. As its use cases expand and the contagion spreads, it is important for businesses to not only watch it closely but to take certain steps to prepare themselves in the race for survival.
So what does this mean for the enterprise?
1. Watch: This is not about “if”, it is about “when”. If companies do not watch for the wave and catch it in time, they will be left on the shore and will become extinct without even realizing it. While it is important to follow technology, it will also be important to follow its application in industry and the mobility of the use cases from one industry to another.
2. Lay the foundation: The success of AI is heavily dependent on the data underpinning it. Feed it bad data and the machine will make wrong decisions. The organizations that succeed will be the ones with a very strong data fabric in terms of data availability, integrity, and integration. It’s time to get the data right.
3. Prepare: While technology is still evolving, now is the time to map the processes and see both where and how AI can be applied. This is also the time to train people and create awareness, especially for those involved in the process so they are not overwhelmed when implementation begins. Knowledge is going to be power more so than ever before.
4. Experiment: Enterprises can take small chunks of the process, experiment and assess the impact to see what works and what does not. Address problem areas, particularly those with the highest ROI first.
5. “Right-Invest”: Prices of AI are coming down and options are increasing. Over-investing at this stage may backfire, but under-investing can lead to a severe competitive disadvantage.
6. Take a holistic view: All processes in the enterprise are interrelated and so is their data. Over time, AI implementation cannot be done in pockets since data is the food for AI and it needs to be wholesome for it to work properly. So it is important to plan for the future and look at implementations holistically.
The Artificial Intelligence Transition
As during any technology revolution, it is going to be a tough transition. Some gloomy reports like “The Future of Employment” estimate the probability of machines eliminating jobs as extremely high, e.g., 0.94 for accountants and auditors and 0.92 for retail sales people.
However, this is not about humans vs. machines. Technology is here to stay and companies will have to transform to accommodate it. As always in any evolution, it will be the survival of the fittest, and the fittest in this case would be those who embrace the change and are well prepared to adapt to it.