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Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation: is your IT department getting left behind?

BY ALASTAIR MCAULAY, PA IT AND CLOUD STRATEGY EXPERT AND FRED JOHNSEN, PA AI AND AUTOMATION EXPERT

You’d expect IT teams to be enthusiastic adopters of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. But our experience tells us other parts of the business are leading the way. And IT experts are in danger of losing credibility.

Yesterday a human was required to screen CVs from job applicants, today it’s done automatically with ‘personal prejudice-free’ AI software in many organisations. Back in 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported that in one year alone Starbucks had 7.6 million applicants for around 65,000 positions. Using keyword-based screening systems to filter out the best candidates for interview was the only practical way to make sure the coffee giant considered all applicants fairly. Other businesses are adopting automation tools like voice recognition in customer contact centres, for example.

There’s a powerful incentive to automatewherever and whatever you can to cut costs and improve quality and safety. With artificial intelligence becoming ever more capable, more automation is possible than ever before.

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Don’t play it safe
IT departments are well aware of the cost-saving potential of scripting routine infrastructure builds. But many stop there. They’re not using IT to create brand new ways of doing things, to enable innovation in priority areas of the business. It’s a repeat of the cloud scenario. Then, business teams ignored IT’s reservations about cloud and started buying their own infrastructure from Amazon. It was a much quicker way to meet a business need.

We think organisations can reach the highest level of benefits by coupling AI and automation tooling with Agile methodologies like DevOps. (DevOps combine the capabilities of the development teams and the operating teams to continuously enhance IT systems.)

Don’t let history repeat itself
As CIO you need to challenge and press for change, even if it involves short-term investment. Here’s how:

  • determine where AI and automation could be used in your organisation and develop a roadmap to support the overall strategy
  • simplify your own service offerings: any reduction in complexity will speed up the rollout of more automation
  • push hard to automate routine operations, aiming to fully automate 90% of them
  • work out where people in the IT team can be redeployed from routine operations to strategic functions that increase the value and innovation IT can bring to the business.

Get your street cred back
The full benefits aren’t instantaneous, but AI and automation tooling allow you to transform the way you provide IT services. They improve agility and quality and cutting operating costs at the same time. What’s more, the experience gained from doing it will strengthen your team’s credibility as experts and advisors to the rest of the organisation on the best ways to adopt AI and automation.

Read more
“I’m sorry Dave…I can’t do that” – making sure chatbots and AI don’t ‘go rogue’

Avoid the Jeeves syndrome – don’t get too dependent on a specific AI system

Find out more about our work in IT transformation.

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