There’s no question that artificial intelligence (AI) has become a game-changer for businesses today. For forward-looking leaders, AI is increasingly understood to be the key to transforming customer experiences, delivering new, digitally driven value propositions, and entering new markets. But most business leaders today aren’t capitalizing on AI’s full potential. That is largely because they’re limiting their focus to the technology itself — rather than focusing on the much bigger potential of AI as an engine for growth.
To reap the full benefits of AI, executives must dig deeper — they must evolve the technology from a hot new trend to a seamless enabler, woven into the fabric of the enterprise and truly working alongside and augmenting people. When done right, AI has the potential to allow companies to not only do different things, but also to do things differently.By more deeply understanding AI and the holistic value it can bring, companies can become more valuable to their ecosystem and maintain a competitive position in a world that will soon be powered by AI. But that also requires the ability to see beyond the hype and tackle the challenges and complexities to reach AI’s full potential.
A multi-pronged approach to AI
Firms across industries are starting to recognize the value of ingraining AI programs into all aspects of their business. While 57 percent of companies are still in the early investment or pilot stages of AI initiatives and have yet to deploy fully sustainable programs across their organization, some are starting the journey — and already reaping the benefits.
One large financial services firm, for example, is working to incorporate AI across all levels of its business by exploring areas such as intelligent automation that can automate analyst and operational workflows, as well as intelligent products that can deliver a new class of algorithm-driven funds for clients.
Data is the new currency
For the best learning and results, AI demands vast and diverse data. Accordingly, leadership teams are quickly realizing that data from their own company is highly valuable — and that data from a network of related companies is even more valuable.
AI will only be as good as the breadth of data used to “train it,” which is why it’s so important for organizations to leverage the data across an ecosystem rather than just within a company. According to Accenture Strategy research, 44 percent of executives across industries say the value of ecosystems lies in access to new customers, and with those customers comes data. (Note: The authors of this article both work for Accenture Strategy.)
The faster and more completely companies buy into ecosystems of data, the better able they will be to compete. AI-fueled insights will increasingly require vast data marketplaces to be truly targeted. It is these very insights that are key to business growth drivers — transforming experience, developing new digitally enabled products and services, and serving previously less attractive markets.