30th September 2021
AI is cited as being the next big disruptor to industries, changing how businesses operate and how customers interact and go about their daily life. Already we’re seeing widespread adoption of AI technology into the area of customer service, with chatbots answering customer queries. Customers are using mobile apps to shop, place food orders and socialise with their friends. The dynamic of business is changing at an extremely rapid pace.
Yet there are many companies adopting a wait and see approach, hesitant to invest in technology and implement digital transformation. But technology is changing rapidly, and creating a culture change in how customers live and industries function. If companies start to try and catch up tomorrow, it may be futile; by the time they start to implement technology, it will already have changed.
When companies ignore change, it happens anyway – making what they offer and how they operate obsolete. Entire organisations can collapse – even those who previously held a position of market strength. Take, for example, Fuji film who were a market leader in the film and photography industry. Within three years of digital photography becoming mainstream, they went bankrupt, because they were too slow and unresponsive to change.
Many agree now that AI is the next big thing. So what should companies be doing to get ready?
Understand customer value
While ignoring technology isn’t wise, blindly going ahead and implementing technology without understanding how it can add to customer value for your business is equally foolish. Technology is a major investment and requires a clear strategy, where objectives and outcomes are well– defined before implementation. Understanding customer value and demand will help the decision-making process of what type of technology to implement where. What processes could be automated? What customer channels could be made self-service? And what systems need to be upgraded so they provide more efficient support to employees?
Tune in to what’s happing in your industry
Look to what technology the market leaders are implementing and learn from their mistakes and successes. Jaguar Land Rover, for example, has an impressive level of automation in its manufacturing operations that many other organisations might aspire to. However, it cost billions and took more than five years to implement, which is not something many organisations could match. It’s therefore essential to be realistic rather than idealistic when considering technology options. This is true of all technology: you need to choose solutions that align with your customer value and operating model. Not all AI technology will be a fit for your business. You need to ensure that whatever digital transformation is implemented achieves a return on investment.
What will reduce failure demand?
AI technology offers many advantages, but on its own it cannot fix failing operational systems or disengaged employee attitudes. Technology is just a tool: real change comes from first making a strategic review using diagnostics and analytics, finding out where the failures occur and what’s causing them. Then you can start working at a culture change that is supported by the right kind of technology and training.
Training for future employees
Recognise that many repetitive or entry level jobs will be automated in the future, which means that the roles humans fill will require a higher level of skill or knowledge. Train employees in the skills they will need to integrate with technology, either in systems design, maintenance or management. If you don’t yet know what this will look like, consider running diagnostics or do a deep-dive analysis using speech analytics to uncover specific training needs.
Keep abreast of real tech innovations
It’s not difficult to find information on the latest technological advances. The problem is separating the ‘fake news’ from the truth. There are plenty of opinions out there making large claims and predictions. It takes a discerning eye to cut through the clutter and know which voices to listen to. The more you research the topic, the more you will know who the real authorities are and the easier it becomes to spot and ignore the myths.
Prepare for disruption
Even if you’re not quite ready to implement digital transformation on a large scale, you still need to start thinking about it and preparing your organisation for the impact technology disruption could have. Consider which business functions could become obsolete, how customers might engage or buy differently and start thinking about how you can do things better using AI technology. The point is to do something! Don’t sit back and think that your organisation is too large, secure or well established to be impacted by AI and the technology changes it’ll bring with it. AI can offer many advantages to those companies choosing to embrace it.
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