Nearly every industry has focused on digital transformation plans over the past half-decade. Today, many companies are wrestling with how to respond to economic uncertainty, and whether now is the time to continue their digitization efforts or tighten their belts.Instead, now may be the perfect time to tap into AI solutions to advance your company’s digital capabilities and get leaner, faster, and smarter. This lean approach should not only pay off in tangible business value, but it can also help reduce employee stress and allow for sharper thinking and judgment.
Of course, when “AI” and “get lean” are mentioned in the same sentence, many people think of automation—and fewer workers. But in this case, AI can actually help CEOs and IT leaders trim their tech fat by conducting intelligent audits. At the same time, AI can provide managers and HR teams a map to better structure their workforces, determine where there may be skill gaps, and help leaders better apply training and resources to improve employee value propositions. This approach should help companies retain talent, but also avoid hiring mistakes.
Companies have spent the past few years adopting new analytics partners, cloud providers, data sources, and other tools and solutions to become more dynamic, leading to application bloat.
Indeed, it’s not uncommon for organizations to suddenly realize that as they pursued digitization, they unintentionally created a maze of tech vendors, workflows, processes, and silos costing them time and money.
In the face of potential economic headwinds, it’s the perfect moment to use AI technology to identify what’s truly helping your company work more efficiently or effectively, and which tech providers are redundant or just plain useless. At the same time, this audit can help companies connect the dots between the tech providers they keep, leading to consolidation or better integrations.
Here are six ways a tech audit can help your company become a truly lean organization:
- Assess where virtual assistants can help your company cater to customers faster, especially for database-related queries that are factual in nature. A great example is the increased use of kiosks in theme parks or apps that can answer direct questions when people arrive at an attraction. Disney has famously used AI technology to launch Disney Genie, an app designed to reduce wait times and bolster revenue in the company’s theme parks.
- Let AI ruthlessly identify inefficiencies and tech tools that should be eliminated. For example, eCommerce companies can use data from consumer visits, including what items they scroll past and which they linger over, to help make decisions about site layout and even what products to prioritize. Companies such as Upsellit have helped brands like Kay Jewelers use AI to reduce shopping cart abandonment.
- Perform a partner cost-benefit analysis and stack ranking to determine prioritization. A vendor such as Infosys Nia can automate manual procedures likely generating excess costs; the firm recently helped Pfizer reduce costly and repetitive IT procedures.
- Automate tasks that are better done by machines, and relocate human resources. A partner like Salesforce Einstein can help with such choices by optimizing operations. For example, the real estate listing firm Zillow has used this product to centralize data and reduce manual processes.
- Streamline data flow to reduce the number of hops data must make from the source to an end user. AI can help a company isolate which database vendors are adding value and which are adding clutter. Software from firms like Rainbird can help replicate decision-making while developing a rationale for each product. The company recently collaborated with Norwich University Hospitals to help corral large pools of consumer data during the pandemic.
- Conduct a worst-case scenario analysis to determine where virtual assistant technology could immediately replace existing offerings or processes in case of a crisis or cutbacks. Here’s where companies specializing predictive analytics, such as Planful, can help CEOs estimate where potential losses may be absorbed while making changes to products or services. The company has worked with clients such as the Boston Red Sox organization to manage the financial and customer demand volatility typical in professional sports.
This list represents just a tiny sample of what the AI-based startup landscape has to offer. There is so much innovation in this sector, with so many specialist startups emerging that give companies an array of choices to help them with “get lean” tech audits. Given the ever-changing conditions in most industries, now is the perfect time to start this process, which promises to help companies better endure future headwinds and set up their organizations to operate far more efficiently and competitively.
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