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Are You Prepared for Autonomous Capabilities?

Autonomous is set to dramatically transform industries. Here’s how your organization can be ready.

By Charles Njendu and Catherine Slater, Oracle Insight

May 2018

Systems with autonomous capabilities guide themselves with little-to-no human interaction. Such capabilities have matured most in the automotive and transportation industries—in fact, 8 million semiautomated or highly automated vehicles could potentially be on the road within 10 years, creating up to US$60 billion in annual revenue.

Autonomous systems are greatly impacting industries that respond to a system independently changing its response to perform its intended function, regardless of unanticipated external stimuli or events. A broad spectrum of individual industries is ripe for change due to the expansion. For instance, autonomous IT systems could result in up to 50% savings on total cost of ownership versus their traditional counterparts. Financial technology companies are using AI and predictive modeling to build fraud prevention systems. In healthcare, big data analytics using AI is helping to evaluate patient population health, perform cancer research, and ensure medical inventory.

It is only a matter of time before broad cross-functional applications lead to autonomous vehicles and drones that adjust their paths using blockchain data inputs, autonomous cybersecurity becomes the norm, and robots are able to forage for their own resources using neural networks, pattern recognition, and even behavioral ecology.

Organizations that thrive will strategically allocate cost centers to focus on infrastructure that supports around-the-clock operations via customized software that provisions resources according to real-time needs.”

The expansion of autonomous capabilities will require businesses to adjust strategies appropriately for their industries. This means understanding how self-driven, fully scalable, completely integrated, and reliable systems can ultimately impact the strategic goals for the enterprise. Here are three questions to consider as your organization looks to the future:

1. What does autonomous mean to your company’s business imperatives?

Understanding the concrete implications of autonomous capabilities on your company’s business imperatives requires understanding how the capabilities will affect your organization’s systems, people, and processes.

  • Systems will shift from being standalone to being integrated applications, platforms, and infrastructure that are tied together for self-driven, “always on” operations.
  • People working in these environments will require updated or entirely new skills (for example, AI and machine learning skills) so they can support the integrated systems with an expectation of delivering constant quality and a simple, personalized, yet seamless end-user experience. The value proposition that your people must deliver will more sharply focus on creativity and innovation to enable such experiences.
  • Processes that currently support the productivity of people and systems will shift from being manual to being automated, impacting the number of individuals requiring access to sensitive data and decreasing the potential for manual mistakes.

Autonomous capabilities will also impact your company’s external relationships. Current partner relationships with companies that are slow to respond may become obsolete, while new, unforeseen partnerships may emerge, especially in the case of technology relationships. Customer relationships will pivot toward companies that can meet increasing expectations of simple, personalized, easy-to-use services that come with a guarantee of high availability and strong security. Your company will find that customers will require assistance less frequently as products shift toward instantaneous conveyance. However, when difficulties arise, the customer needs will be of increased complexity.

2. What impact will autonomous capabilities have on your IT strategy?

The key drivers of autonomous capabilities, AI and machine learning, will not only drive faster innovation but will challenge your IT strategy with an ever-increasing volume of data arriving from disparate sources of varying quality under rapidly evolving conditions.

To remain competitive, you must adjust your IT strategy with the expectation that many traditional IT tasks (such as provisioning, securing, monitoring, upgrading, and patching) will be performed automatically. This will ultimately lead to higher availability of systems and reduced administrator errors. However, it could require significant effort during the shift from your current IT planning process to your new IT strategy canvas.

Your company could decrease the burden by engaging an IT partner that can provide easy-to-use, secure, elastic systems. An ideal partner would further bring experience and expertise across the entire IT landscape: architecture, design and optimization, implementation, and management of costs for value received.

3. What should you do now to take advantage of autonomous capabilities?

Your organization, aware of the impact autonomous capabilities will have on your business, can already begin preparations to take full advantage of the capabilities as they are developed and available for your industry. You must begin with an understanding and clear direction for your company’s overarching business strategy.

  • First, take time to understand the disruptions that are likely and how they could impact your value chain.
  • Next, revisit your company’s broad aspirations to ensure that they align with your beliefs about the autonomous future in your industry. Develop your vision for how your organization will continue to win in the new landscape—especially in light of emerging technologies and competition—and identify tangible goals against which you can measure your progress.
  • Then, determine the capabilities that must be built and maintained to win in your chosen manner, and invest in your people and IT systems appropriately. Take note that these capabilities, specifically in IT systems, must be flexible and adaptable so they can send your current innovation program into overdrive.
  • For areas not in your expertise, find IT partners who have invested in up-and-coming technologies, so you can ensure that your primary focus remains on your core capabilities.
Catherine Slater and Charles Njendu

Catherine Slater and Charles Njendu, Oracle Insight

The impacts of autonomous systems will ultimately change the way industries operate. Organizations that thrive will strategically allocate cost centers to focus on infrastructure that supports around-the-clock operations via customized software that provisions resources according to real-time needs. For instance, if your organization has invested in capabilities that will allow a database to automatically provision grid components, your internal research teams could run analytics anytime without having to worry about when the processes will end or the associated database workload. This expansion of the standard labor workday via augmented systems could ultimately lead to furthering research goals faster, gaining more time for researchers and developers to develop products and services, and ultimately, attaining new revenue streams for your company.

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Photography by iStock.com/baona