One of the most debated technologies today is artificial intelligence (AI). “His love is real, but he is not. Some embrace it, others fear it,” said the trailer for the movie A.I., directed by Steven Spielberg in 2001. For most people, AI was futuristic at that time. The film was a vision of the future in which a childlike android was programmed to love his human parents. Metropolis, Star Wars, and Ex Machina fans know that A.I. wasn’t the first and only film whose plot revolved around how humans and machines define their roles in a futuristic world, and it won’t be the last.
Some of the technological capabilities envisioned in science fiction movies have become reality in a less dramatic and more impactful way. Artificial intelligence has become part of the work environment for a large number of organizations worldwide. Automation is increasing. Machines are taking over repetitive tasks. Software is becoming more intelligent. Analytics predict behavior and trends.
A few key facts about the intelligent enterprise
While the future is yet to be written by all of us, we know this: We have entered the age of the intelligent enterprise. Companies are embracing intelligent technologies, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, and analytics. These intelligent technologies can create new business opportunities, open new markets, and drive social change.
Like all changes, the transformation to the intelligent enterprise can be challenging and disruptive. It questions traditional thinking and business models, and even what we define as a typical day at work. But companies that embrace technology adoption, including AI, reap real business rewards, especially when they’re early adopters.
A recent analysis by McKinsey of more than 400 artificial intelligence use cases across 19 industries and nine business functions found that AI improved on traditional analytics techniques in 69% of potential use cases. Adoption of AI is increasing but is still uneven. About half of respondents in a 2018 McKinsey survey said that their companies have embedded at least one AI capability in their business processes and another 30% are piloting.
Very real business benefits
Pioneers in using AI are pulling ahead of their competition, according to the MIT Sloan Management Review’s 2018 Global Executive Study and Research Report.“By deepening their commitment to AI and focusing on revenue-generating applications over cost savings, these early implementers are positioning themselves to reap the benefits of AI at scale,” says the report.
Survey respondents also said, “not so easy is building a system of AI applications along with associated data pipelines that interact and are reliable.” They agreed on the need for an AI strategy.
Regardless of which emerging technologies companies plan to embrace, every transformation journey starts with putting the right innovation strategy in place and mapping the best transformation path. That’s why most journeys start with the cloud. Now in its second decade, cloud computing has become a mature technology that serves as the anchor to drive digital transformation. A cloud-first approach for business innovation has become the industry standard. The cloud offers a path to the intelligent enterprise as a safe passage to embrace disruption without being disruptive.
With the cloud as the path to the intelligent enterprise, we can envision a happy ending for future story plots where human intelligence uses machine intelligence to improve businesses and people’s lives. But best of all, the impact of cloud and intelligent technologies like AI is real and happening today. That’s better than fiction.