Bestselling author and media commentator Mike Bugembe is an internationally recognised expert on artificial intelligence. Advising IT leaders across a range of industries, the former chief analytics officer from JustGiving is helping organizations transform and grow their businesses through AI.
According to Mike, the perception of AI being too complicated is causing businesses to become spectators—something he believes puts them at risk of failure. We caught up with Mike after his keynote speech at ServiceNow’s recent Future of Work livestream event, where he shared six key insights with us on AI integration.
What is AI?
“Think about AI as a machine which can see better than us. It can see through walls, around corners, and into the future. It can also hear better than us and read better than us. So any processes which require us to see, read, or digest lots of information and make decisions—machines can do it significantly quicker. That’s AI.”
Does it have to be complicated?
“Hollywood has a lot to answer for with their description of what AI looks like. The current generation of CIOs have grown up watching the type of sci-fi movies which make it difficult to conceptualize and understand what you can do with it in our world of work.
The biggest insight is that AI doesn’t have to be complicated; you shouldn’t be intimidated by it.
The best way to look at AI is to look at it as a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum, you’re getting decisions from data or getting data to describe what’s happened, what’s going on, and why it potentially did happen. And on the other side, you’re looking at full automation to predict exactly what’s happening and prescribe what the solution should be. Technology is making this simple.”
How are everyday businesses using AI?
“I’ve seen businesses make their help desk far more efficient, responding to customer requests super-fast. And I’ve seen organizations use AI technologies to better understand their customers too—to understand why they’re doing something specific and to optimize and monetize those processes.
I’ve also seen organisations use AI for acquisition and AI for engagement. Ultimately, in businesses of all shapes and sizes, AI is making life better for teams, making life better for customers, improving productivity, and unlocking hidden revenue.”
What are the rewards for the business?
“The rewards are sizeable. You can see companies that have invested in AI doing significantly better from a profit, production, and a cost perspective.
Companies that successfully deploy AI see a game-changing difference within their organization and their industry vertical. Often, those that have successfully integrated AI on the right use case will be the dominant player in their respective industry.”
What can an IT leader do now to start their AI journey?
“Do your homework now. How many organisations do you know that have written down all the key decisions they need to make? Or how those decisions relate to each other and how any incremental changes to one of those has a knock-on impact on the key metric they’re trying to move?
Understanding your organization is essential. View it as a system of people making decisions and if you take the time to look deeply, to understand the processes, understand the activities, understand the decisions being made, your AI use case will generally fall out and it will be very, very clear where you should be applying AI.”
Can we afford to wait to see how others are adopting AI?
“You absolutely cannot afford to stand on the side and spectate and say, ‘I’ll wait for somebody else to do it first.’ Companies that thrive in the future are those prepared to integrate AI into their workflows now. No doubt about it.”
Watch Mike’s guest keynote from ServiceNow’s Future of Work livestream event and see how ServiceNow digital workflows are helping companies on their digital transformation journey here.
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