Artificial Intelligence (AI) can and will underpin many of the upcoming changes affecting organizations as a whole, but especially IT departments. AI is being hailed as the cornerstone of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with the potential to completely overhaul the way we live and work.
Much of the focus around AI has been on the threat to jobs and displacing the need for humans; savvy organisations already realise that the real risk around this emerging technology is failure to embrace the productivity benefits on offer.
IT departments not already involved in AI projects should move quickly to understand how the technology can improve their performance and that of the wider organization, as it will be down to them to embed AI across business applications and IT platforms.
Thanks to recent advancements in machine learning, and the convergence of cloud compute power and big data, AI is finally making its way into the mainstream, with user-friendly systems available for organizations of all shapes and sizes.
Machine-learning (ML) systems can model market dynamics - think self-irrigating farms, and self-serviced industrial equipment - and also empower enterprise LOB. On the HR side, AI can offer recommendations to improve employee engagement and identify the best candidate for a specific role; for finance departments, AI can handle routine tasks like invoicing and reconciliation, freeing up time to focus on more strategic projects; for sales and marketing teams, AI applications can suggest the next best action in the sales cycle and improve campaign targeting based on previous patterns.
AI and ML also enables NLP (Natural Language Processing) which is the technology behind Conversational Interfaces also known as Chatbots. These intelligent interfaces enable organizations to build exciting new experiences for customers, partners or employees.
All this is enabled through Adaptive Intelligence, which combines the wealth of data available with human knowledge and experiences programmed in. Personalized shopping suggestions, self-driving vehicles and virtual assistants all function thanks to these Intelligent Systems. Many sector leaders already use autonomous systems to out-think and out-innovate their competitors, stepping up from bare automation to the autonomous capabilities offered by machine-learning algorithms implemented on a cloud platform.
AI will enable the IT department to run more smoothly, allowing technology teams to focus on more strategic projects rather than fixing basic IT problems. Instead of having to focus on fire-fighting, AI will help IT professionals provide additional security to business users concerned about hacking, and identify problems before they emerge, predicting how one decision or configuration change could affect the operations of the wider organisation.
Ultimately, AI will allow the IT department to bring more value to the whole organisation, becoming more of a strategic department that shapes the business proactively.
Find out more about how to distinguish the facts from the hype around innovative technologies.