Like it or not, technology disruptors are changing the way companies do business, causing fear and confusion for many IT professionals. The reality is that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are developing at such a rapid pace that they impact pretty much every industry and companies are failing to keep up. The other technology disruptors that most people are familiar with include the Internet of Things (IOT), cloud computing, social media and block chain.
When embarking on a digital transformation initiative, a new approach to making sense of all this data is needed. AI and ML (the engine behind AI) enable computers to learn from data to perform specific tasks without manual interference. It provides analysis and drives insights to users, addressing the large amounts of structured and unstructured data that companies increasingly need to consider as part of their decision-making process. According to MIT and IBM, a staggering 81 percent of businesses do not yet understand the data required for AI (but plan to).
The benefits of leveraging AI and analytics are huge with AI increasingly capable of outsmarting and outperforming humans. Unsurprisingly, this causes alarm for people who fear their jobs may be replaced by automation.
According to KMR Research, within 5 years, 85 percent of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) expect that AI will change their workforce by requiring new skill sets (40 percent) or reducing the number of jobs (45 percent). Few CMOs expect no change at all (11 percent).
How will AI affect individual roles? Research has found executives are evenly divided on the question of whether AI will produce job losses or job gains overall. Chief executives are among those least convinced that AI adoption will result in more overall job losses. Only 38 percent of surveyed CEOs expect workforce reductions due to AI. The effects of AI on the workforce won’t be uniform. Managers need to address the concerns of their employees through reskilling, change management and communication.
According to Accenture, 81 percent of executives agree that within the next two years, AI will work next to humans in their organizations, as co-workers, collaborators and trusted advisors. 72 percent of executives report that their organizations seek to gain customer trust and confidence by being transparent in their AI-based decisions and actions.
Let’s not forget that AI is already here and working effectively alongside human counterparts. Companies must embrace it and recognize AI as a partner to their people. Implementing AI improves responsibility, fairness and transparency, enabling businesses to create a collaborative, powerful new member of the workforce.
If you do not have the skills in-house to develop a digital transformation strategy that embraces AI, work with a trusted advisor who can help and assist you, as it is not a simple task with many things that need to be taken into consideration. Having lots of data has no value, unless it’s backed up and analysed appropriately. From that point on you can begin to drive valuable insights.
In a rapidly expanding digital marketplace, legacy companies without a clear digital transformation strategy are being left behind. New technologies are changing the very infrastructure of business. So, how do you keep up? It is critical to embrace an AI strategy for your company – competition is fierce, and the reality is that if you do not, then you will be left behind.
While we talk about AI as a technology disruptor which of course it is, it is also important to realise that technology is simply an enabler. The Uber App is not killing off the taxi business, it's the expensive fares and lack of availability; Airbnb isn’t killing the travel industry, it's the limited availability and pricing; Apple isn’t killing the music industry, forcing people to buy full length albums is the problem; and Netflix did not kill the video industry, it was Blockbuster’s late fees. In these cases, and in many more, technology by itself is NOT the disruptor. All these successful organisations identified their customer needs and preferences and catered to them.
Not being customer centric and knowing your customer is the biggest threat to any business. It truly is a case of adopt an AI strategy or be prepared to surrender your market position.