What was once a futuristic look at advanced technology has emerged as a viable strategy to enhance the technical operations of businesses across the industry spectrum. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has grown rapidly from a concept that left IT executives wondering how to create business value with it to now trying to thrive in a brave, new world that uses AI ethically and responsibly. For all the value generated by AI, the other side of the coin is the potentially destructive use of the technology that hinders, not improves the operations of businesses operating around the globe.
To integrate AI technology seamlessly into your company’s technology infrastructure, IT executives need to ask the right questions not only among IT leaders, but also among every member of their IT teams. You should ask about the strategic options for using AI technology, as well as what types of factors make AI a highly risky type of technology to incorporate into your company’s technology infrastructure.
Vice President at Gartner, Whit Andrews, offers some sage advice for IT executives looking to expand the presence of AI within their organizations. “Look at how you are using technology today during critical interactions with customers (business moments) and consider how the value of those moments could be increased. Then apply AI to those points for additional business value.”
Let’s see how IT executives can apply AI to maximize business value.
Understand the Fundamentals of AI
Gartner defines AI as a tool to develop logic-based techniques that support automated decisions. However, although AI is often associated with automation, many IT executives fail to understand the opportunities that are available to mimic human performance. AI is not integrated into your company’s technology infrastructure just to come up with artificially-driven business decisions. The technology’s real value appears when it emulates the thought process humans have when it comes to making business decisions.
IT executives should search for the critical business points in which human expertise adds value through personal interactions. For example, AI should analyze data that demonstrates the positive outcomes sought by interacting with customers. Using AI to analyze large amounts of customer relationship data should improve the relationships your company develops with the loyal customers of your business.
AI is about augmenting the business value of developing long-term relationships with vendors and customers.
What is the Potential of AI?
IT executives from across all industries should ask one important question: What is the strategic potential of AI? What your IT team gets out of AI in 2022 should not be the same benefits your IT team gets out of the technology five years down the road. AI possesses the potential to automatically make critical decisions for your company, such as what products to recommend for different customers to how to prioritize customers that have raised an issue with a product or service. Integrating AI fully into your company’s technology platform can potentially replace worker-dependent operations, which transforms your company’s variable cost model by trimming labor expenses.
AI has the potential to move technology to a place that IT executives never thought to be possible. This is especially true for automated tasks that unfold daily. The higher the number of repeated operations, the more valuable AI becomes for the financial health of your company. On the other hand, the potential of AI also includes the possibility of the technology becoming a disrupting component of your IT platform. Andrews recommends a steady integration of AI tools to prevent the technology from damaging software programs written for your IT platform.
What Are the Potential Future Uses of AI?
AI is not technology just used by upstart firms operating in Silicon Valley. It has the potential to cross industry lines to enhance the performance of businesses that interact with customers every day.
Retail outlets might one day use AI by having a robot located on-premises requesting apparel for a customer to try on in a dressing room. A robot can request different sizes and colors until discovering the most appealing type of apparel for a customer. Sales teams should be able to transcribe online sales meetings into highly actionable summaries that shorten conference calls. Finance departments might one day optimize AI to complete tax returns that take advantage of every tax break granted by state and federal laws. Security personnel should be capable of implementing AI tools to detect, prioritize, and alert the right team members concerning imminent or completed security breaches.
The Bottom Line: Overcome the AI Obstacles
One of the most effective plans for overcoming AI obstacles involves establishing realistic timelines for IT projects. This means finding the right starting point to launch a project, and then setting achievable deadlines that keep each project on track.
“AI projects face unique obstacles due to their scope and popularity, misperceptions about their value, the nature of the data they touch, and cultural concerns,” Andrews stated. “To surmount these hurdles, CIOs should set realistic expectations, identify suitable use cases, and create new organizational structures.”