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Applied Enterprise AI: Augmenting Human Workflow

Human smarts + AI muscle.
David Lefkovits
Contributing Writer

Organizations are no longer asking if they should adopt AI, but how. The allure is undeniable, with promises that extend far and wide. Yet, as many tech leaders will attest, moving from the abstract to the tangible, from promise to implementation, is where the challenge truly lies.

Imagine walking into a vast, sprawling digital marketplace, teeming with vendors showcasing their latest AI tools and solutions. Each promises transformation, efficiency, and a competitive edge. But as a seasoned tech executive, you’re not here for the sales pitch. You’re here for results. The question that looms large isn’t about the ‘what’ of AI; it’s about the ‘how’.

How do you navigate this marketplace, make the right choices, and ensure that AI is a boon and not just another buzzword?

Charting a Pragmatic Path

Enterprises venturing into AI must begin with self-evaluation. It’s not solely about the tools but more so the organizational mindset. Is your team prepared for AI’s cultural implications? Do you possess the right data infrastructure and the expertise to guide this transformation?

Identifying the right challenges is crucial. Not all Enterprise AI solutions need to be groundbreaking. Sometimes, simplicity can lead to the most transformative results. Identify areas within your enterprise where advancing the potency of your workflows and processes would be most evident and impactful, be it in automation, decision support augmentation, personalized customer interactions, or insightful data analytics.

Choosing the right AI tools is essential. It’s easy to be swayed by the latest technology, but the most sophisticated tool might not address your specific needs. Think of it as selecting a meal – complexity doesn’t always equate to satisfaction.

Data is at the heart of AI. Prioritizing data quality and its management is fundamental. Without it, even the most sophisticated AI remains inert. Moreover, ensuring data privacy and security is imperative in our interconnected era.

Pilot projects can serve as a valuable gauge. They provide insights into potential hurdles, help refine strategies, and offer a perspective on returns on investment.

When scaling Enterprise AI, seamless integration is vital. AI should complement and augment existing systems, enhancing processes, and fostering innovation. However, the AI journey doesn’t culminate with deployment. It requires perpetual adaptation to shifting market dynamics and evolving customer preferences.

As we navigate the AI evolution, the directive for enterprises is lucid: adopt AI judiciously. It necessitates a well-thought-out strategy and ongoing adaptation. As tech leaders, we’re tasked with ensuring AI becomes a pivotal force driving growth and innovation.

From Task Automation to Cognitive Augmentation

The age of technology has been characterized by waves of innovation, each promising to redefine the enterprise landscape. Today, as we stand on the cusp of another transformative shift, the narrative revolves around not just technology but the synergy between human intellect and machine capabilities. Herein lies the essence of “Applied Enterprise AI” – a realm where technology doesn’t replace but enhances and augments human potential.

The Foundation: Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

For the longest time, Enterprises have leveraged Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to streamline operations. By automating repetitive, mundane tasks like managing accounts payable, handling financial reconciliations, or generating routine reports, RPA introduced efficiency and accuracy. However, its scope was inherently limited, able to mimic actions but devoid of genuine cognition.

The Evolution: Intelligent Process Automation

The integration of Computer Vision and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) with RPA has heralded the era of Intelligent Process Automation (IPA). It’s not just about automating tasks; it’s about systems that can interpret, understand, and act upon unstructured data. It is becoming a broader vision for enterprise automation, where machines can process information with a semblance of understanding.

The Leap: Generative AI and Decision Automation

As AI technologies matured, Generative AI emerged, bringing with it the promise of machines that could not only understand data but also create and decide. Infused with capabilities from Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Large Language Models (LLMs), these systems transcended traditional boundaries.

For instance, in supply chain management, instead of merely tracking inventory, a Generative AI system can predict future demand based on historical data, current market trends, and even global socio-political events. It can then suggest optimal inventory levels, manage orders, or even interact with suppliers for restocking, all while minimizing human intervention.

In customer service, beyond automating responses for frequently asked questions, these systems can now generate solutions to newer, more complex queries by learning from past interactions, making decisions in real-time.

What’s pivotal is that these AI models can automate tasks and processes that traditionally required human intervention but didn’t necessarily demand high-level cognitive skills. It’s about identifying areas where decision-making is based more on data analysis and less on nuanced human judgment.

Augmentation: The True Power of Enterprise AI

While automation is a significant aspect of AI, its true potential in the enterprise landscape lies in its ability to augment human capabilities. Consider sectors that require a blend of data-driven decision-making and human expertise.

In healthcare, while an AI system can analyze patient data, suggest treatment plans, or even predict medical outcomes based on vast datasets, the physician remains at the center of patient care. The AI system augments the physician’s capabilities, ensuring they have all the information they need, processed, and presented in an actionable manner. Yet, the final call, the human touch, the empathetic interaction – all remain irreplaceably human.

Legal professionals, too, benefit immensely. While AI can assist in sifting through vast amounts of legal documents, suggesting clauses, or even predicting case outcomes based on historical data, the strategic counsel, client interactions, and courtroom representations remain inherently human tasks. AI ensures that lawyers have the best tools at their disposal, from intelligent search capabilities to data-driven insights, allowing them to focus on strategy and advocacy.

The Wrap

The journey of AI in the enterprise is not a zero-sum game where machines replace humans. It’s a future where technology and human expertise coalesce, leading to unprecedented efficiencies and innovations. As enterprises evolve, this symbiotic relationship between human professionals and advanced AI systems will define success.

In the grand tapestry of the enterprise future, AI threads will intertwine with human narratives, crafting a story of collaboration, innovation, and shared progress. This is the promise and potential of Applied Enterprise AI – a brighter, more efficient, and innovative horizon where technology elevates human potential.

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