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Building an AI-powered organisation

The fourth industrial revolution is catapulting organisations into a world that most business leaders are not prepared for.

We live in a digital world, where software-led advances in technology are transforming industries and enterprises across the board. The digital transformation that is happening, promises benefits ranging from increased efficiency and lower costs, to faster innovation, better interaction with customers, and enhanced productivity.

“Every business should become a software-driven organisation,” says Johan Steyn, chair: Special Interest Group – AI and Robotics at IITPSA, and portfolio lead, at IQbusiness.

According to him, the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is catapulting organisations – most already far lagging in their digital transformation efforts – into a world that most business leaders are not prepared for.

Studies reveal that a mere 8% of organisations globally are truly prepared for, and are using AI and advanced analytics, or engaging in core practices that support widespread adoption. “Many firms run only isolated and largely impromptu AI initiatives, targeted at single business processes.”

“The idea of adopting artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics in an organisation is not primarily a technology conversation. It is foremost a business initiative, with commercial goals in mind, addressing specific challenges. It is also largely a cultural and organisational design challenge,” Steyn adds.

He says the most important aspect of any new technology journey, is understanding what problems the business is trying to solve. “AI and Robotics are in themselves, not a “silver bullet” to any problem. Many vendors are selling their tools and services as a quick-fix to embark on an AI journey, but business leaders should be wary of this approach.”

Organisations should find an area in their business where AI can best help them. “This decision should be based on a clearly defined business case and an understanding of the return on investment.”

They also need to start in an area where their data sources are mature, where their business processes are documented and working, and where the leadership understands the impact that such a journey will have on their teams.

Steyn believes there are several areas where AI and robotics have great potential. “In the business context, there are several areas where we see organisations are finding value in the benefits that AI and machine learning can offer them, namely customer segmentation and churn; customer sentimental analysis; natural language processing and voice recognition; fraud detection; and business process automation.”

Steyn will be presenting on ‘Building an AI-powered organisation’, at ITWeb Artificial Intelligence 2019, to be held on 20 August, at The Forum in Bryanston.

During his presentation, he will touch on understanding the drivers of technological change; embarking on an AI journey; the AI capability framework; AI maturity assessment; and developing the AI business case.


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