Authored by: Pooja Jain, Sub Editor, Enterprise IT World.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are two of the disruptive forces in the industry today. Being in their early stages, they already have the potential to absolutely change the way business decisions are made in the organization.
AI/ML favors companies with significant data stores on historic operations. So, it favors companies with scale and those who have invested in ERP, CRM, MES, Sensor Data, etc. and kept historic data. Very small companies and those that have thrown out historic data will be at a disadvantage.”
Stephen Pratt, CEO, Noodle.ai
Conversations around Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning began in the 1950s. It was then that people started talking about these technologies academically, in relation to the business and what they could generally mean for the development of computer science. In 2019, AI and ML’s all-encompassing presence within the business operations have transformed them from merely a niche solution to a mainstream disruptive force.
Anil Arora, Principal Data Scientist, SAS India notes that an explosion of data sources, low costs of computational power and advancements in methods and algorithms are the catalysts that have led to the advancement of AI and ML over the last decade.
Artificial intelligence is poised to unleash the next wave of digital disruption, and companies should prepare for it now. AI promises benefits, but also poses urgent challenges that cut across firms, developers, government, and workers. The workforce needs to be reskilled to exploit AI rather than compete with it.”
Anil Arora, Principal Data Scientist, SAS India
AI and ML for the Enterprise
AI and ML are revolutionary technologies. These learning algorithms have the potential to fundamentally reform the way operational decisions are taken by the enterprise. In 2018 the NITI Aayog under the National Program on Artificial Intelligence, adopted a three-pronged approach – undertaking exploratory proof-of-concept AI projects in various areas, crafting a national strategy for building a vibrant AI ecosystem in India and collaborating with various experts and stakeholders.
The Indian enterprises are gradually moving towards AI-ML friendly business operations, as they have identified and plan to benefit from the advantages that an organization stands to accrue if it deploys these technologies.
Conversational AI is a frontier technology, offering capabilities that most companies are not yet aware of. This includes everything from making marketing conversational, interactive, and personalized to making customer support more immediate, effective, and cost-efficient.”
Kartik Walia, Head India operations, Amplify.ai
AI and ML are extremely useful for Security, for instance. It allows the system to identify a pattern of use, mannerisms, data transfers, accessibility, etc. At any slight deviation, say irregular log in requests by employees or accessing of data base through unknown systems, AI tracks the disruption and alerts the authorities immediately so that the crisis can be averted. Hence, by intercepting and mitigating potential breaches or leaks, AI and ML become crucial tools for prevention from the security point of view.
Below are some testaments from business leaders on how Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have proved to be a game changer for their business.
Commenting on how AI has shaped their business activities, Gail Moody-Byrd,CMO, Noodle.ai, says, “We have a not-so-secret plan to create a world without waste through the Enterprise AI apps we deploy to manufacturers and supply chains. Our products focus where the waste is – companies that make things and move things. We think traditional rules-based software is failing business leaders, so we work with our customers to leverage artificial intelligence to do things like improve quality, reduce downtime, improve fill rates and recover lost sales – all while reducing waste.”
Talking about how ML has benefitted their business, Ajay Trehan, Founder & CEO, AuthBridge says, “We have used AI/ML to reduce the turnaround time for our customers, to deliver lower costs and serve better quality. Vault, our Criminal Records search product, has become more efficient through ML and is getting even better with time through self-learning driven by additional data sets. Instant results from searching millions of records are getting precise reducing the time considerably to deliver the service.”
Addressing the issue, Sandeep Geol, Senior Vice President – Technology, Moglixsays, “We have deployed AI and ML based solutions to address critical business problems such as Data Quality, Buyer’s behaviour prediction, supplier selection and more. We are using AI and ML for supply chain optimizations through initiatives like Data Cleansing and Catalogue Management, Purchase Recommendations and Supplier Performance Management.”
But the Transformation journey is hardly as smooth as it seems to be.
The rise of AI and ML in the financial industry proves how quickly it’s changing the business landscape even in traditionally conservative areas. We are witnessing and delivering transformational changes in how we make decisions, manage risk, prevent fraud and automate processes – for an improved customer experience.”
Neeraj Goyal, Head of Technology India, RBS India.
Problems with AI and ML deployment
The challenge that arises with such technologies, that are still, in many ways, only in the early years of development, is that there is not enough information or awareness about it. “Many customers in the Indian market are not aware of the difference between a report, a BI dashboard, a simple analytics service and a ML or AI service. The awareness factor also is dependent on the steep learning curve ML and AI as a domain warrants,” says Anand Subramaniam, Head – Artificial Intelligence Practice, Aspire Systems.
All the highly skilled personnel that any business already has, would be people who are trained in technologies that have already gone through the initial stages of development and are now an established norm. But as far as adoption of AI and ML is concerned, businesses cannot proceed without either acquiring a new tea or training its existing one.
“AI projects require a multi-functional team,comprising of domain knowledge experts, data scientists and programmers,” says Ajay Trehan, Founder & CEO, AuthBridge. So, even though AI and ML have immense potential for the businesses, it cannot be realized unless and until there is a considerable growth in the number of professionals available in the market who have a thorough working knowledge of AI and ML.
Addressing the problem of the extensive lack of skills and tools for the adoption of AI, Anil Arora, Principal Data Scientist, SAS India, says, “Majority of the organization want to embark upon AI journey but with lack of skills and relevant tools it becomes almost impossible to build and deploy AI in their system. It’s imperative to have highly skilled resources at disposal to be able to build any AI application.”
AI and ML is going to impact every vertical/sector dynamically or anywhere where primary customer and operational data is the lifeblood of an enterprise.”
Joseph Jayakumar, CEO, Amstar Technologies
Another challenge that needs to be mentioned here, is the problematic of Cybersecurity. AI and ML primarily uses huge volumes of Data to make intelligent decisions, which makes it imperative for a business to safeguard Cybersecurity to ensure that security concerns like Data Breach and Identity Theft are under control.
Like every other Technology, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, come with their fair share of potential and challenges. At the end of the day, it all comes down to how well can a business overcome the challenges, in a cost-effective manner, so that they can overhaul their activities in a way that is only for the betterment of the organization. It is only after a business excels at this, that Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can prove to be a game changer for them.
Businesses subsist for the customers and if they feel AI and ML give an easing experience, giving them that would be the right solution”
Mohar V, Co-founder and CEO, TECHVED Consulting.