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February 07, 2017
Artificial intelligence: Out of the weeds and into the boardroom
By: Kaushal Mody

A series on using AI to transform operations and business process services at speed and scale.

Why is artificial intelligence (AI) such a hot topic these days and how can we use AI technologies to transform operations and business process services? These are the questions we’ll be exploring in this blog series, “Out of the Weeds and into the Boardroom.”

Why should a CEO care?
As our title implies, artificial intelligence in recent years has often seemed too far “down in the weeds”—a complex topic needing specialized training to understand … something for data scientists and R&D labs, but not something a CEO might necessarily care about. This is rapidly changing.

New Accenture research
In fact, recent research into AI from Accenture Research says that AI will become a critical means of economic growth, especially in developed countries, over the next 20 years or so.

AI as a vehicle for impressive growth
As Accenture’s Chief Technology & Innovation Officer Paul Daugherty puts it, “Artificial Intelligence is poised to transform business in ways we’ve not seen since the impact of computer technology in the late 20th century. … Our research demonstrates that as AI matures, it can propel economic growth and potentially serve as a powerful remedy for stagnant productivity and labor shortages of recent decades.”

But what does this have to do with operations and business process services?
A lot. In this series,we want to focus especially on three ways were companies are applying AI to transform operations, and will continue to do so in the coming years:

  1. Improving business outcomes. As we’ve seen, AI is poised to deliver impressive economic growth. But from an individual company’s point of view, the benefits are more immediate: increased productivity, higher profitability, reduced errors, better customer service and more.

  2. Increasing strategic agility and growth. Cloud and analytics have transformed the usual technology “stack,” adding a new execution layer on top of legacy ERP. This gives you a very different operating environment, using automation and AI to create better business agility and growth.

  3. Driving innovation. The execution layer can deliver a higher level of intelligence, looking at unstructured data and applying a degree of higher intelligence, making inferences about what is happening. Then we can use AI capabilities to make recommendations or judgments about the next course of action in a process, or respond to a complicated and dynamic environment.

Oh, and one more thing. In operations and business process services, companies have a built-in advantage. They don’t necessarily need to build extensive AI capabilities in-house, but can leverage the capabilities of their service provider.

Stay tuned for more exploration of these three transformative AI principles in our upcoming series.

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