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    Using AI to enhance business operations

    Published on 18-Oct-2019 11:09:49

    Enterprise cognitive computing is the application of AI to enhancing business operations, and has a wide range of applications including call handling, fraud detection and maintenance scheduling. ECC systems automate repetitive tasks and improve efficiency through fast search and information processing.

    Despite many business executives reporting high expectations for ECC systems in 2017, uptake has since been low. Furthermore, around half of surveyed executives that have introduced ECC systems report that their impact on their business performance has also been low.

    The authors (Tarafdar, M., Beath, C.M., and Ross, J. W.) identified a lack of preparedness as a possible cause for the low uptake and impact of ECC sytems among business leaders. They went on to develop a framework for the "foundations of ECC competence", consisting of five capabilities and four practices.

    Businesses that had successfully generated values from ECC systems shared five common capabilities. These are: data science competence for effective data management and AI algorithm development; business domain proficiency to identify areas of potential value from process automation; enterprise architecture expertise to effect wide-ranging changes to business policies and practices driven by the ECC insights; an an operational IT backbone, to store the data and integrate the ECC algorithms into existing IT infrastructure; and digital inquisitiveness, to question and interpret the outputs of the ECC algorithms.

    With these five capabilities in place, businesses should adopt four key practices in order to apply the capabilities:

    1. Clearly define what your ECC systems will do and how it will improve these processes (use cases).
    2. Keep the ECC system up-to-date by building reporting into the algorithm and re-training when necessary.
    3. Have an interdisciplinary team collaborating on the development and maintenance of the ECC system.
    4. Build enthusiasm for ECC into your company culture, and ask employees to suggest ways in which ECC applications can support them.

    Key Takeaways

    Enterprise cognitive computing can add value to your business, but it is important to manage expectations and lay down a strong foundation of capabilities before introducing ECC systems to your business. Businesses who have succeeded in generating value from ECC systems exhibit five crucial capabilities. With the five crucial capabilities in place, follow the four practices outlined to ensure that ECC systems generate value for your business.

    The five capabilities:

    • data science competence
    • business domain proficiency
    • enterprise architecture expertise
    • an operational IT backbone
    • digital inquisitiveness

    The four practices:

    • Develop use cases and define their values
    • Keep the ECC system up to date
    • Encourage collaboration
    • Foster enthusiasm

    Check out the full article at MTSloan Management Review

    Topics: Business Operations, Data Analytics, AI strategy, Data Science, Digital transformation

    Mia Hatton

    Written by Mia Hatton