With cloud computing becoming mainstream, enterprise digital transformation is now no more a buzzword but a practically achievable reality. Companies are now able to focus on their goals at a business level and leave all the IT-related details to specialist vendors. Digital means that a company for whom IT is only an enabler need not bother about details of servers, technologies, test beds, server environments, and the like. It can simply engage with a cloud vendor and discuss its complete requirements and specifications with the vendor. The vendor in turn will set up the company’s IT systems on a public, private, or hybrid cloud as the case may be.
Interplay between AI and cloud computing
With the arrival of the Internet of Things and AI in a big way, there is now an interesting interplay happening between AI and cloud computing. AI-based systems are by nature big consumers of data, not generally producers of them. Given this scenario, AI systems are well suited to feeding off cloud-based systems that in turn accumulate large amounts of system data. What this means is that there is now enormous potential for AI systems to be brought into the picture in enterprises where they work with existing cloud-based systems to deliver specific needed goals. AI meets the cloud – what does it mean for enterprise digital transformation? Let us take a look.
What is enterprise digital transformation?
Digital transformation is the process by which an entire reinvention of an organization is accomplished by the use of digital technology geared to completely change the way it operates and serves its clients, employees, and senior management.
These are the nine elements of digital transformation:
Transforming customer experience:
- Top-line growth
- Customer understanding
- Customer touch points
Transforming operational processes:
- Worker enablement
- Process digitization
- Performance management
Transforming business models:
- Creation of new digital businesses
- Digital modifications to the business
- Digital globalization
Let us now look at the impact of AI meeting the cloud for all these nine elements of digital transformation.
Social media is one area that companies can leverage to understand the sources of customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction. You already have cloud-based marketing automation platforms that can be used to set up read streams for social media for specific strings. When you are able to build AI-based systems on top of such marketing automation platforms, you are in a position to build advanced systems that better reveal the customer. For instance, AI-based systems can keep track of certain types of adjectives used in association with the company’s products and build indicators of customer delight.
With regards to top-line growth, one example is with the case of auto insurance companies. Typically, the insurance company provides an offer to the customer based on the customer’s salary and savings information. When the customer gets back asking for a better rate, the company comes back with a counter offer. An AI-based system can do a scan of all of the customer’s transactions and driving records, and be able to provide a quote that would be extremely suitable for the customer. This kind of system can help improve conversions and positively impact revenue.
Speaking the customer's language
One of the biggest pain points in customer service is the lack of availability of customer representatives to address customer issues. While automated chatbots are quite popular and reasonable in terms of price and performance, AI-based systems can greatly enhance the performance of such chatbots to provide a near-humanlike experience. The key here is to be able to access the customer’s relevant activity and answer his or her questions. Both are reasonably easy to do. What is more difficult is to speak the customer’s language in a human way, which is where AI systems working with cloud applications can make a difference.
Plant and process automation represents the most promising area in process digitization, where AI systems working with cloud applications can make a significant difference. Take the case of a plant that is almost fully automated with the aid of AI. Not only does this allow employees to focus their efforts on tasks that are not repetitive, it also reduces labor requirements, improves product quality and safety, and crunches the product development lifecycle significantly.
One significant area for worker enablement is with regards to tools that enable virtual offices and anytime, anywhere work for employees. AI-enabled software can help make a quantum leap in this regard. AI systems-enabled software can with the swipe of a card reset a workspace to match all the requirements of an employee’s actual workspace in terms of lighting, phone number, and computer logins. This can greatly improve employee productivity.
Performance management also offers significant avenues for AI-based systems to work with cloud applications to make a difference. Automated appraisal systems can pull in a lot of data from the internal and external IT systems with regards to conference presentations, awards, seminars, and the like. Not only that, it can also pull in data from the internal quality system. All these may not make the process 100 percent automated, but it gets very close to having a manager’s involvement become a very minimal review and signoff.
Digitally modified businesses
Digitally modified business offer some of the greatest scope for AI-based systems in sales at stores. Here, AI-based systems can do a scan on incoming customers, do a pattern match on previously visited customers data, and take it forward. If there is a match, the system can pull in previous purchase information before the checkout interaction to enhance the customer’s shopping experience.
New digital businesses
AI-based systems working with cloud applications can do a great deal in pharma companies to come up with novel formulations. Based on results from current testing, certain patterns can be identified to throw up novel formulation suggestions that may have been missed.
While cloud applications are already enabling digital transformation, AI systems can introduce even newer avenues of innovation, productivity improvement and revenue growth.