There are numerous technology trends growing in popularity and captivating the business world. The Internet of Things, Blockchain, Enhanced Cybersecurity, and Edge Computing are just a few. Each of these technologies are advancing and growing in demand. Although they are all intriguing, the area that I feel is the most exciting and where I foresee the greatest potential impact on changing the way we do business is Intelligent Automation (IA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Computer automation is not a brand-new arena in IT. However, it is quickly evolving. I started my career in this field a decade ago and was sold on the need for it when I was able to replace the work of three individuals using my scripts. I have been asked by various IT Departments why they should consider this technology if they can just use other tools such as Perl Scripts, Shell Scripts, or VB Code. Each of these have their place and should be used when they make sense. But, failing to consider the ongoing advancements in technology can impact your organization’s bottom line and leave it vulnerable in these competitive and rapidly changing economic times.
I remember growing up in the 90’s. To connect to the internet, we had to get off our home phone and then listen to a loud screeching noise for up to a minute. Once connected, I could download songs and applications off Napster. It was remarkable! It only took the time my family ate dinner to download any song I wanted. At this time, nothing could be better. I now have Fiber Optic Internet at a rate of 1 Gig per second and can download an entire album legally in a matter of seconds. Oh, how my perspective of time and value has changed. In a similar fashion, I have come to look back at these segmented, uncontrolled scripts. The way IA and AI are advancing capabilities in the workforce make some of the early methods of automation look like child’s play, much like only being able to download one song during dinner.
There are several areas that fall into Intelligent Automation and Artificial Intelligence. Some of these include Robotics Process Automation (RPA), Chatbots, Machine Learning, Self-Driving Cars, and Deep Learning. In IA, some of these technologies are being combined to pack a powerful two birds with one stone punch. For example, when RPA and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) join forces to fulfill time-consuming and rule-driven processes that would have required many FTEs to fulfill. Other technologies like Microsoft Azure AI are being used to predict failures, enhance customer service through chatbots, or forecast demand and price optimization. AI is being applied in many aspects of business such as: improving agricultural output, enable real-time pricing decisions, and advancing healthcare through deep-learning, image analysis, and automating administrative tasks.
Although some of the examples provided above may seem unrelated to your specific field, they demonstrate a crucial fact: Intelligent Automation and AI industries are providing technologies that can support virtually all industries. Unlike in the past where scripts could only run specific jobs on a single server, computer, or application, these modern tools are no longer limited by such boundaries. Today these tools are capable of learning, using data to make decisions, and leveraging more than one application to complete a business process. This will enable companies to reduce costs, improve productivity, and increase consistency. In addition, these technologies will continue to help make more accurate decisions, improve client satisfaction, and improve productivity. For an organization to make these solutions a reality, there must be clarity on the capabilities needed and a clear roadmap for achieving success throughout the enterprise.
I recently left EY to focus purely on Intelligent Automation and Artificial Intelligence. Although I had multiple opportunities, Ashling Partners was my top choice. The founders, Don Sweeney and Marshall Sied, have created a mission that I believe in. Their goal is to provide meaningful work for their employees and deliver real value to their clients. Since the onset, I have seen that at Ashling Partners we create value through the customized design and strategic use of Intelligent Automation and Targeted AI. We’d love to assist your company in making the jump into the future. Please contact us for more information.