AI wagon – all aboard!

Don’t fall behind the Artificial Intelligence wagon!

In recent years artificial intelligence has become a term that almost everyone has heard of, yet many are wondering what it is or how it can be utilized. Companies are also contemplating how it can be exploited. We’ve noticed when talking about artificial intelligence, that a few concrete examples illustrate the basics better than a thousand pages of theories. That’s why I will begin by explaining two easily understood applications where artificial intelligence already produces real added value.

In many companies, repetitive routines are too time-consuming thus reducing productivity. Imagine that you have hundreds of documents in front of you that must be sorted into various folders according to certain criteria. The Financial Supervisory Authority also faced this sort of challenge. They decided to utilize an artificial intelligence software robot capable of reading documents in three different languages, categorizing documents into required categories and collecting certain information from documents no matter their location. In the Financial Supervisory Authority example, the introduction of this robot has made the work of experts more meaningful while reducing processing time and the number of errors. Note that also in this instance artificial intelligence has a better accuracy level than humans. This is true in many other routine and repetitive tasks as well.

Next, imagine that the elevator is out of order in your apartment building and you have to carry shopping bags to the fifth floor. Not really a lot of fun, is it? That is why the elevator company, KONE, has begun to solve this problem with the help of artificial intelligence and developed a round-the-clock intelligent solution that monitors elevators and learns to anticipate potential problems based on collected data. When the service and maintenance personnel already know when your apartment’s elevator is breaking down, they can proactively service it and minimize elevator downtime. This kind of proactive service not only increases the efficiency of their own company’s processes but, most of all, increases customer satisfaction and service quality.

Artificial intelligence is not usually mind-boggling, but it reaps benefits through changes in current processes and business models, and by increasing operational efficiency. When talking about this it is important to focus on concrete problems to be solved rather than technical algorithms. However, it is not a given that companies can solve problems with artificial intelligence and succeed in realizing the benefits described above.  A US study of more than 1,500 organizations around the world found organizational level differentiating factors for utilizing artificial intelligence between leaders and laggards. They are listed below:

  • Integrated data management
  • CEO priority
  • Digital strategy
  • Security strategy
  • Digital processes
  • Agility
  • Innovation ecosystem

The first three of these are particularly interesting. The role of data cannot be underestimated under any circumstances, as almost all artificial intelligence solutions require a large amount of data to produce benefits. In this case, integrated data management, that is, ensuring the quality of all the data and centralizing it in one place, must be well managed within the company. As with almost any project that requires change, management’s commitment is important in utilizing artificial intelligence. No change can be accomplished without senior management’s prioritization and visible leadership in the company. However, this can be a bit more challenging with artificial intelligence as in many cases a person with knowledge of the subject can’t be found on the management team. On the organizational level digital strategy is also crucial in many ways. One viewpoint is that if a company cultivates a bottom-up approach of brainstorming, the existence of an organization-wide digital strategy guides employees’ thinking towards ideas for developing artificial intelligence and other digital technologies.

If your company hasn’t yet considered benefiting from artificial intelligence or the above-mentioned success factors, it is time to take action. The speed at which technology is currently evolving is so staggering that procrastinators are only unnecessarily increasing their risk of falling behind the artificial intelligence wagon.

Eetu Rantanen

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