Accenture: Leverage AI to achieve your growth objectives

By Janet Brice
AI isn’t just one thing – it’s a constellation of technologies which needs to be part of your business strategy, according to Accenture...

How can Artificial Intelligence (AI) help your business? This is the thought-provoking question posed by consultants Accenture who are offering a curated collection of insights, reports and guides to help organisations plan for the future.

“AI is used in many ways, but the prevailing truth is that your AI strategy is your business strategy. To maximise your return on AI investments, identify your business priorities and then determine how AI can help,” says Accenture.

A poll by Accenture shows that three out of four C-suite executives believe that if they do not scale AI in the next five years, they risk going out of business entirely. But companies that scale successfully see three times the return on their AI investments compared to those who are stuck in the pilot stage. 

“No wonder 84% of C-suite executives believe they must leverage AI to achieve their growth objectives,” comment Accenture.

To help businesses get up to speed about how AI can drive value, Accenture has produced a simple guide, which includes podcasts and reports, which not only covers the basics of AI for beginners but provides valuable tips on how organisations can implement AI and reap the benefits.

What is AI – fact or fiction?

“AI is a constellation of many different technologies working together to enable machines to sense, comprehend, act, and learn with human-like levels of intelligence,” comment Accenture.” “Maybe that’s why it seems as though everyone’s definition of AI is different: AI isn’t just one thing.”

Technology like machine learning and natural language processing are all part of the AI landscape and, when applied in combination with data, analytics and automation, can help businesses achieve their goals.

“Some go even further to define AI as ‘narrow’ and ‘general’ AI. Most of what we experience in our day-to-day lives is narrow AI, which performs a single task such as weather apps.

“These systems are powerful, but the playing field is narrow: They tend to be focused on driving efficiencies. But, with the right application, narrow AI has immense transformational power,” says Accenture.

General (or strong) AI currently only exists in sci-fi films where sentient machines emulate human intelligence. 

“This fully realised vision of general AI does not yet exist outside the silver screen. That’s why human-machine collaboration is crucial - in today’s world, AI remains an extension of human capabilities, not a replacement,” comment Accenture.

Why does AI matter?

Due to the proliferation of data and innovations in cloud processing and computing power, AI adoption is growing faster than ever. Companies now have access to an unprecedented amount of data. “These treasure troves are a boon to the growth of AI,” says Accenture.

AI can be a critical source of business value - when done right says the report. Automation can cut costs and brings new levels of consistency, speed and scalability to business processes. Some Accenture clients are seeing time savings of 70% and recognise the ability of AI to drive growth.

Agility and competitive advantage

Machine learning and deep learning allows AI applications to learn from data and results in near real time, analysing new information from many sources and adapt with levels of accuracy that’s invaluable to business. 

“This ability to self-learn and self-optimise means AI continually compounds the business benefits it generates,” points out Accenture.

AI can help businesses adapt at speed, with a stream of insights to drive innovation and offer a competitive advantage. “When scaled, AI can become a key enabler of your strategic priorities and even a lynchpin to survival.”

Five benefits of AI

  1. End-to-end efficiency
    AI can eliminate friction and improves analytics and resource utilisation across organisations, resulting in significant cost reductions. It can also automate complex processes and predict maintenance needs.
  2. Improved accuracy and decision-making
    AI augments human intelligence with analytics and pattern prediction capabilities to improve employee decisions.
  3. Intelligent offerings
    Machines can uncover gaps and opportunities in the market in a different way to humans - so can introduce new products, services and business models with a speed that wasn’t possible before.
  4. Empowered employees
    AI can tackle mundane activities while employees spend time on more fulfilling high-value tasks. 
  5. Superior customer service
    Continuous machine learning provides a steady flow of 360-degree customer insights for hyper personalisation and round-the-clock chatbots to faster help desk routing

AI ethics – how to build trust

The big question is how do organisations build trust with the public when it comes to introducing AI? Accenture outlines what is needed for “responsible AI” which will help companies to win trust and scale AI with confidence.

  • Trust
    Every company using AI is subject to scrutiny
  • Data security
    Companies must design confidentiality, transparency and security into their AI programs
  • Transparency
    Companies need to establish a governance framework to guide their investments and avoid ethical, legal and regulatory risks
  • Control
    Machines can make mistakes - organisations need risk frameworks and contingency plans in the event of a problem 

“It’s imperative businesses take the necessary steps to scale successfully,” concludes the report.

To view Accenture’s collection of AI insights click on the link below.

Read more 

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