Step One in Enterprise AI Adoption: See Past the Word Salad

We are more than 15 years into the Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolution. It is broadly accepted that the adoption of AI is a business imperative, yet a recent study by MIT Sloan and BCG* indicates that less than 20% of businesses have adopted AI. What are the fundamental underlying issues that prevent adoption by the wider business community?  

Confusion about terminology abounds, and new names for the same thing pop up continually. In the beginning, there was Big Data. The business community was told that there was a Data Revolution with data being the new gold, the new oil and, from IBM, the new bacon. When mining Big Data failed to live up to the hype, Machine Learning became the new buzzword. Then when technical advances in Deep Learning gave computers the ability to recognize objects and communicate in natural language, and robots became reality, Artificial Intelligence (AI) took root in the lexicon.  

Each of these terms has its own definition and emphasis, but from a business leader’s perspective they all refer to the same thing:

  • Machine Learning is the current state-of-the-art way to implement AI
  • Deep Learning is a type of Machine Learning
  • Big Data is the underlying input that feeds Machine Learning

What applications are good AI candidates? Is it a marketing tool? An automation play? A strategy engine? There are high-profile AI applications for product recommendations, bank fraud detectors, chatbots, and machines that beat champions at Chess and Go. Ironically, the broad range and reach of these applications is an indication of just how elemental this new capability is.

I think the best way for business leaders to think about AI is this: it’s a revolutionary, fundamental tool to extend human capabilities that sense, interpret, detect, and predict the world around us. When applied in the workplace, it’s a revolutionary, fundamental tool for automating and optimizing business decisions and processes. Eventually, Enterprise AI can, should, and will find its way into every functional area of business.

A baseline imperative for getting started with EAI adoption is to gain a true understanding of its potential. This understanding has an added benefit beyond the practical implications of strategic planning and resourcing. The moment one grasps the profound transformation that lies ahead, there is an “Aha!” moment. Words like amazing and incredible begin to emerge to describe EAI. When that revelation is shared throughout an organization, it sparks excitement and enthusiasm to navigate the challenging journey toward EAI adoption.


Next Up: The Five Faces of Enterprise AI

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