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4 tips for CIOs to take benefit from artificial intelligence in digital transformation

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming the world rapidly with its vast capabilities including machine learning, natural language processing, and deep learning. Self-driving cars, computers which can play chess with Grand Master, etc. are around the corner. The AI has progressed enough to detect even the emotions of human beings, and help them increase their life spans by an average of 6 months.

In the realm of customer service, AI can help manage repeated customer interactions as machine learning can extract the patterns and knowledge from a range of observations.

A company found that 30% of the calls it received were from the customers who asked about the status of their order. AI can handle such calls in the form of a virtual assistant who can answer frequent questions like “Where is my order?”, “When will it be delivered?” etc.

The usage of AI is not limited to just this. It is used in many commercial industries for automation and to identify patterns. AI enables organizations to extract data from a wide range of places and then apply the self-improving analysis which can be used to take appropriate actions to add business value.

AI can be the best friend for CIOs and IT professionals, if they realize the potential of AI to make their jobs easier. Below are some tips for CIOs to incorporate artificial intelligence in their business journey.

1. The most crucial step to incorporate AI in a business is to get AI educated.

CIOs must educate themselves on AI and all related technologies. It will help them understand the areas as to where and how a particular AI technology is to be used. For example, all the products don’t need machine learning implementation. Some need deep learning, some NLP, and some overall AI technology.

Then, map out a strategy to implement AI technology. Educate the existing employees about the AI technologies. Deep Learning, NLP, computer vision are the areas where the assigned employees need to educate themselves. Hire new ones with vast knowledge, skills and expertise in AI.

The initial experiments might not need much of the investment, but building and retaining required talent will do. This talent includes skills in specific AI technologies, domain expertise, monitoring skills, managing and governing environment, data science, etc.

Take small steps and try to apply AI technologies in various business areas as per the need.

2. Digitization is accelerating the pace of AI. CIOs need to formulate AI strategy to influence business strategy at the very outset, to beat competition.

Talking about yesterday’s CIOs, they maintained the technical infrastructure of the company, but today’s CIOs need to find innovative ways to keep the business in a position where they can lead a specific industry.

CIOs should take a step ahead and make the CEO and the board members of the company understand as to how innovations in AI can influence the business and make it robust enough to compete with other top businesses.

For instance, AI can be leveraged in every department including marketing and sales to personalize communication with clients and prospective clients, offer personalized pricing and make sales and marketing process more streamlined and buyer specific; in service support to offer virtual assistance, predict repair and maintenance needs and fill process gaps; in supply chain to discover risks, correct data errors, get insights from field devices and logistics.

This step can help an organization replace the traditional business model with an advanced AI model, which can influence the business development significantly.

3. Top business objectives of CEOs today are better customer relationship, competitive advantage and increased efficiency and can be achieved with AI.

CIOs can go for cloud SaaS applications that apply AI to address these priorities. Now the AI technology has progressed enough and it is safe for CIOs to explore and experiment about different use cases. CIOs should treat data as money, because it serves like a fuel to AI implementation. They should protect, secure, and manage it like an obsessed-to-data CIO.

4. Differentiate between real and faux AI offerings.

Once the organizations are sure that they are going to implement AI, they wonder whether to go for one vendor or multiple. For small sized organizations, single vendor might work, but medium and large enterprises must opt for multi-vendors because single vendor can’t provide full suite of capabilities.

Enterprises need to understand how an AI provider’s service or product uses AI and evaluate whether it is going to fit with their data and business needs. There are a lot of AI startups and other organizations which offer the same products, but you should understand – what AI method is being used in the solution, how much time will be needed to get trained, what specific skills your employees should have to use that AI solution, if there are any risks involved and if the vendor is updating the solution to improve the offering.

The vendor must be able to explain how implementing AI will help end users more as compared to the solutions without AI.

It’s 2018 already, and a CIO can’t wait for his CEO to ask him, “What is our AI strategy?” Instead, it is the time that he takes a step forward and tell the CEO, “Have a look at our AI strategy”.

The role of CIO in an organization has changed markedly in the era of digital transformation, especially with advanced technologies like AI and machine learning. For that, CIOs need to redesign business processes, use skilled workforce and make use of latest technologies to drive maximize benefits from organizations’ digital transformation efforts.

Also read: Threats in 2018 that keep CEOs around the world up at night

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