Smart Data Strategy Essential to Reap Benefits from AI

AI has the potential to transform how business is done, but getting your data in order is an important pre-requisite.

AI’s Growing Role

AI technologies, driven by machine learning, are gradually transforming every industry, right from customer inquiries managed by natural language processing systems to robots in manufacturing. This is aided by exponential increases in computer processing power and volume of data creation. These effects are expected to only magnify in the coming decade as organizations transform their core processes and business models to take advantage of machine learning.

Moderate Adoption Rate

But a recent MIT Sloan study of business leaders has shown a substantial difference in numbers between those who believe in AI’s potential for change and those who have actually incorporated it in business processes. One reason for this is the confusion and hype surrounding AI. Most current investments come from R&D divisions of companies like Amazon, Baidu and Google, while elsewhere one mostly finds projects in discussion or pilot phases.

CIOs, AI and Data

Another reason is the added layer of complexity brought on by AI for CIOs already grappling with the disruption caused by digital transformation. Of course, AI can aid digital transformation, provided the data strategy from CIOs is robust. The key to effective use of AI is data that is accurate as well as meaningful and high-quality. Machine learning processes rely on the quality of data and metadata available to train the AI. So, leaders will have to invest in talent and information infrastructures, while laggards struggle with analytics expertise and easy access to data.

An important point to note is that, in most cases, AI for enterprises won’t mean entirely new applications. Machine learning techniques will be incorporated into platforms, products and services already in use in order to improve analytical power, data management and overall performance. So, a firm’s data analysts will not be replaced by AI systems, but will see their productivity and effectiveness improve.

In this environment, along with planning out their organization’s data strategy, CIOs will face two additional important tasks. This is the right time for them to educate the company leadership, and the organization in general, about the myths and realities of AI. And to complement the tools necessary to ensure quality data, they will have to put the right team in place to train AI algorithms.

So, as data-driven digital transformation continues to disrupt industries, CIOs will continue to play the role of agents of change. A data strategy that enables their organization to rapidly adopt AI will accelerate the pace of this change and ensure competitive differentiation.

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