Even in a sector where rapid change is the norm, the rate at which artificial intelligence (AI) is evolving has taken many IT professionals by surprise.
Pushed into the spotlight by services such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and DALL-E, AI is now being closely examined by CIOs to determine how it can support everything from increased operational efficiency to improved customer experiences.
It’s clear the impact of the technology across all business and public sectors will be immense. According to forecasts by analyst firm IDC, 90% of most advanced enterprise applications will have AI capabilities embedded by 2025. The firm estimates that $500 billion will be spent on AI-related investments during the next three years alone.
Potential cost savings
One of the areas capturing significant attention is the potential for AI tools to deliver sizable cost savings for organisations.
One example is the way in which AI algorithms can analyse resource utilisation across an IT infrastructure and identify overprovisioning and underutilisation. By leveraging real-time demand insights, an IT team can then eliminate unnecessary costs and achieve optimised resource allocation.
AI-powered predictive analytics can also support proactive maintenance, thereby reducing costly disruptions. Maintenance activities can be more effectively scheduled, and unexpected downtime minimised through better prediction of potential hardware or software failures.
Boosting operational efficiency
Many CIOs are also closely evaluating the ways in which AI can increase both operational efficiency and productivity. Incorporating evolving technologies such as Machine Learning (ML), Natural Language Processing (NLP), and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), AI has the potential to rapidly reshape IT operations. It also offers the opportunity to enhance service delivery and finetune decision-making processes.
By automating time-consuming, mundane tasks, AI can also increase staff productivity and reduce human error. This can allow teams to focus on strategic roles by freeing them from the daily grind.
Improved customer experience personalisation
Another way in which CIOs can expect to extract value from AI tools is by enabling their organisation to deliver vastly better customer experiences. AI’s data processing capabilities can enable organisations to scale personalised experiences, which lead to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Increasingly, AI-powered analytics is being used to personalise customer service. If machine learning algorithms that predict customer behaviour are added to the mix, the result can be a compelling and personalised customer experience.
AI can also assist when it comes to achieving proactive customer engagement. AI tools can be used to predict customer needs and behaviours, thus enabling businesses to engage with customers even before they actually realise they need something.
The power of data-driven insights
CIOs and their IT teams can also use AI tools to transform what might currently be a sea of data within their organisation into valuable, actionable insights. These insights can then become the cornerstone of strategic decision-making and give the organisation a competitive commercial edge.
This capability will become increasingly important as the volumes of digital data continue to grow. AI tools are able to spot trends and correlations within data sets that would be missed by humans working alone. This, in turn, supports improved business decision-making.
AI tools can also help organisations overcome their data-related challenges by taking advantage of evolving cloud solutions, be they private, public, or hybrid. The tools can help to manage both data migration and ongoing management and security.
Before embarking on AI-powered initiatives, it is worth a CIO taking time to consider some significant factors. Together, they could be the difference between success and disappointment.
These factors are:
- Developing a comprehensive strategy
Before beginning the deployment of AI tools and platforms, it’s important for CIOs and their teams to develop a strategy that aligns with business objectives. Take time to evaluate goals and ensure that selected AI tools support specific use cases.
- Building a robust infrastructure
The design and construction of a resilient IT infrastructure is critical for effective AI deployment. CIOs will need to invest in a scalable, secure IT infrastructure to support the algorithmic demands of AI tasks. This doesn’t necessarily mean starting from scratch but rather enhancing the infrastructure their organisation already has in place.
- Focusing on data privacy
The task of maintaining data privacy when using AI tools can be particularly challenging. CIOs need to set up sturdy frameworks that ensure secure storage and transmission of data at all times.
- Achieving effective AI governance
It’s also important for CIOs to put in place a comprehensive AI governance framework to ensure the ethical use of AI. Clear policies, guidelines and procedures must be created to ensure effective governance is in place across the organisation.
While most organisations are still in the very early stages of their AI journeys, it’s clear the technology is going to reshape large sections of business and public-sector operations. By taking time to understand how AI is evolving and the ways in which it can be put to work, CIOs will be well-positioned to ensure their organisations obtain maximum value from it in coming years.