09 Feb Does Artificial Intelligence in the Enterprise have a future?
Its not like Companies have not been doing analysis. Analysis for key business focus areas like building a better product, getting market feedback, figuring out productivity initiatives is as old as business itself. But in the era of mainframe and later server client computing, three things have always hampered it:
- There was not enough data. Entire empires were built on hoarding data and releasing it selectively. You simply could not get enough data to be sure of the conclusion you would reach!
- Tools for data mining were frightfully expensive and opaque. They were very hard to learn and resources to use them efficiently were near impossible to find. If you created a resource organically it was prone to attrition.
- Buying expensive processing power via servers to run calculations just for analysis were an expense IT departments simply could not justify.
How things change. Within a decade processing power had come down dramatically. This allowed for massive processing to be available in the cloud on a per use case basis. Open source initiatives like Hadoop and related third party tools became the backbone of an analytics revolution. And the internet with its social users suddenly started creating gigantic amounts of relevant data.
Facebook users share close to 2 billion pieces of content a day. There are over 200 million tweets a day. In a single minute 1.6 million USD are spent online on B2C commerce. “According to Newstex, five exabytes (that’s 5 billion gigabytes) of content were created between the beginning of the world and 2003. In 2013, five exabytes of content were being created daily.”
Suddenly enterprises faced with reams of data needed to make sense of it. But they also had the tools to make sense of it. Big data and analytics fuelled by billions of dollars poured into analytics startups creating breathtaking technology exploded as a field. The average worker in an organization suddenly had to deal with a lot of data. He spends hours daily using the internal or external search function for finding the information he needs to do his job. That’s billions of dollars of lost productivity. Simply organizing your day well from calendar and meetings to quickly getting relevant data to make decisions in real time as demanded by the digital era has become a priority for companies.
Therefore we see Artificial Intelligence as rapidly growing in importance with an enterprise point of view. Right now the most well known examples of AI are the ones on our smartphones like Siri and Cortana. But expect them to jump very quickly with a focus to Enterprise tasks and Enterprise productivity. Expect AI to become integral to everything from customer support to CRM, Enterprise analytics and Human Resource management very quickly.
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