How ready are Australian Enterprises to adopt the benefits of AI?
AI, or Artificial Intelligence is a field of Data Science that allows computers to understand and simulate human cognitive functions when it comes to processing information.
In a recent (March 2019) study undertaken by Microsoft and IDC*, 80% of the respondents stated that AI is important to their organisation’s effectiveness in the next 3 years. The key drivers for exploration of AI implementation were; better customer engagements based on a deeper understanding of the customer and achieving higher margins from human capital savings based on automated processes.
Whilst half of the respondents have begun implementing AI, only 14% are utilising AI as a core aspect of their strategy. Before the benefits of AI can be harnessed, several criteria must be addressed, or the project could be shelved before it begins. Microsoft and IDC identify a readiness scale that determines the success of an AI program before benefits could be realised fully:
AI readiness assessment questions to consider
- Data – Is your data consolidated and accessible to everyone in the organisation with well managed quality control access and governance?
- Strategy – Is AI and the associated data and digital readiness a core part of the strategy?
- Investments – Is AI an ongoing investment priority and increasing each year?
- Culture – Are you fostering a bottom-up innovative culture, with empowered employees for agile and fast decision making; and cross-unit collaboration?
- Capability – Is there organisation wide data running on cloud or on-premise with AI analytics, such as robotics process automation or Natural Language Processing.
- Infrastructure – Is data is accessible to all business users with quality control access and governance built in?
An enterprise looking to explore AI capabilities, needs to more than just deploy a machine learning module, it first must address their enterprise data.
The McKinsey Global Institute published an interesting article in 2018 on the relationship between digitisation and AI**. It discusses the fact that AI is fast-tracking the necessary digitisation of the modern enterprise.
“The digitisation revolution in a lot of industries first comes and creates digital data.
After that comes some data science, where you start to get more insights, and then also AI, because it’s only after you have the digital data that AI is very efficient in coming in to eat that data to create value.”
So what benefits await those who have harnessed their enterprise data?
Access to a consolidated view of an enterprise’s data provides new insights and faster decision making than the historical methods.
AI can both analyse quantitatively and qualitatively, as well as process vast amounts of external data to provide a sentiment analysis on a company’s brand or CEO favourability.
Increased productivity from knowledge workers
The same workforce can produce 20-50% more productivity when menial tasks are automated, whether that is data entry or manually checking forms and verifying signatures. Those lower level tasks can free up time for employees to engage with bigger issues. This can translate into cost savings or increased output for the same cost.
Increased customer satisfaction
AI – specifically Robotics Process Automation (RPA) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) – can provide the speed and accuracy to process a customer with minimal time delay. Once onboarded, AI can also ensure a customer service operator has access to multiple systems and suggestions regarding a customer, based on customers in a similar demographic.
Decrease in compliance risks
The less humans interact with data the less that data is likely to be compromising compliance adherence. Rules can be set up and an easily auditable trail can be maintained into who has access to what, for what purpose and for how long.
In summary, it is not an overnight process for an enterprise to adopt AI. For an enterprise to be competitive, retain talent and provide a quality customer experience, they must make a considered and steady investments in digitising data and allow AI adoption to flow through their organisation.
* ASSESSING AUSTRALIA’S GROWTH POTENTIAL THROUGH AI – Microsoft and IDC March 2019.
**What’s the relationship between digitization and AI? https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/artificial-intelligence/how-artificial-intelligence-and-data-add-value-to-businesses