Part 1 of a 2-part series exploring how to approach the implementation of artificial intelligence technology. Read Part 2.
Recent research into the effects of automation indicates that it can lead to increased demand, creating new job opportunities. But without the right enterprise building blocks in place, your organization will not be able to absorb the new technologies seamlessly or capitalize on their potential for increased productivity. Shining a light on your current data governance, business process consistency, and system integration and connectivity is critical.
Data is the new “oil”
Data enables you to understand, automate, and predict what will happen in your business. But to do that, it needs to be liberated. Currently, too many organizations have data locked in unusable silos. It’s essential to gain a good understanding of where and how accurate your data is and prioritize it based on its value to the business.
Adopting a sound data-governance approach ensures that once you have your data sorted, you can maintain it into the future. That is the first step in turning your systems of record into systems of analysis — and making them capable of performing more advanced processing.
Same way, every day
Equally important is ensuring consistency across your enterprise. By building consistently repeatable ways of working, you develop a dependable baseline on top of which you can more easily automate and innovate. If, for example, your enterprise wants to introduce automation into its accounts payable process, it is important that each of your offices execute its AP processes the same way.
Business process consistency reduces rework and cuts down on time spent understanding how different parts of the business do similar tasks. It can also reduce cost and improve worker portability and role transferability.
Start by mapping your key business processes, and gain an understanding of the areas that will give you the most return and value. If you can automate those areas, productivity improvements will lead to better competitive advantage. But be careful. Start simple. Don’t begin by trying to automate your most complex business process areas. Work incrementally so you can improve and refine as you go.
Get your systems linked
To truly benefit from cutting-edge technologies, your enterprise needs to be connected at the system level. Integration between key line-of-business systems is necessary to automate processes from beginning to end and to allow the automation to take place regardless of the enabling system.
It also helps reduce data reentry and the risk of error. If, for example, your enterprise doesn’t have real-time connections between its front-end website and back-office inventory system, it will be difficult to accurately fulfill customer orders, match supply with demand, or react quickly to new market opportunities. Any failure to meet customer expectations will hurt satisfaction levels, driving customers to a competing business.
CIOs need to take a leadership role in navigating the complexity of change. They are in a unique position to communicate across multiple disciplines within the enterprise and foster understanding within the workforce about the opportunities and benefits new technologies can afford.
This article originally appeared on the DXC Oxygen blog and is republished by permission. DXC Technology is an SAP platinum partner.