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To AI or not to AI?

It’s 2021 already! One often thinks about the desertion of 2020, as if 2021 followed straight out of 2019. Having said that, the criticality of the technology has been underlined by the pandemic. And one technology that has been among the ones at the vanguard is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Driven by the business needs around leveraging data for real-time decisions, enhanced experiences and improved efficiencies, Indian organizations have realized that to thrive in this new normal will require them to explore and adopt AI.

As businesses gain clarity about the future, enterprise intelligence is pivotal for providing insights at scale for work, operations, and experiences.

But defining AI is as confusing as it is illuminating. The surplus of AI information tends to overwhelm judgment in defining its true meaning. IDC defines artificial Intelligence (AI) as systems that learn, reason, and self-correct. These systems hypothesize and formulate possible answers based on available evidence, can be trained through the ingestion of vast amounts of content, and automatically adapt and learn from their mistakes and failures.

If we look at the AI adoption in India, 62 percent of organizations stated that they have plans to increase their AI/ML spend in 2021, per IDC’s FERS Survey 2021, Wave 1. With AI that supports innovations at scale, delivers enhanced customer experience, and improves operational efficiency, organizations will continue to find ways to gain more value from their data and deliver customer-enhancing solutions.

IDC’s research shows better customer experience, faster development of new products and services, and improved employee productivity are among the primary drivers for Indian businesses for leveraging AI.

Organizations across verticals such as BFSI, manufacturing, healthcare, and government, etc. in India are adopting AI across various use cases and trying to reap the benefits.

For instance, in the healthcare vertical, use cases like diagnosis and treatment analysis have gained momentum. In the BFSI space, fraud analysis and investigation are among the top AI use cases to reduce fraudulent activities and assess risks. Per IDC’s AI MaturityScape Study, 2020, automated customer service agents was stated as the top use case for Indian organizations, as customer service interactions continue to transform with least need for a human agent.

So, what does all of this mean for the enterprises? AI is easy, said no one ever, and involves thorough planning, understanding the business, and identifying pockets of opportunities best suited for AI implementation. Organizations should look at the core pillars for an effective AI journey to mitigate risks and improve end results to include strategy, culture, governance, and data. IDC’s Demystifying Artificial Intelligence: How Far Are India Enterprises in Their Artificial Intelligence Adoption Journey? report advises that businesses’ successful AI adoption starts in including AI as part of the organization’s vision. The vision must be developed at the top and cascaded to all lines of business and IT so that everyone is aware of the organization’s AI vision.

Change fundamentally brings resistance and organizations should be prepared for the struggles in aligning people and processes. People are essential for successful AI adoption, and they should be able to embrace AI and create business value. Data is the backbone of all things AI and it will include integration, analysis, and management from disparate sources to make real-time decisions. Data ownership must be clearly defined to ensure that the right people have access to the right data at the right time for the right decision-making.

And lastly, organizations should develop governance around ethical AI use. This will involve defining focus on policies, compliance, and accountability to realize intelligence at scale and have sustained effective results.

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