By Rui Cayman (*)
We are currently experiencing a period of intense technological progress, which history has designated as the fourth industrial revolution. This is the age of artificial intelligence (AI), in which the analytical capacity of humans is largely amplified by the algorithms applied by machines. A reality that gives managers the ability to anticipate scenarios and make informed decisions in real time, something their predecessors could only dream of a few years ago.
But does Artificial Intelligence act alone? The algorithms are the pillar of this evolution and are determinants for the development of humanity, but the human being continues to lead the process, because only he can interpret and validate the way to do. To get the most out of these new tools, we have to develop new behaviors, new forms of relationships, and, of course, sharper analytical skills.
According to a European Union study (Digital Skills and Coalition Jobs), 44% of citizens of the "old continent" do not have digital literacy. The reinforcement of these skills, called digital, must reach people, both those who leave academic life and those who are already in active life. Only in this way will we be able to make the most of the instruments that AI today makes available to organizations.
But why is Artificial Intelligence an opportunity for companies?
According to a study by the World Economic Forum (How to survive and thrive in our age of uncertainty), the turbulence in global markets causes uncertainties that organizations have to rely on. To respond to this new context, they increased the frequency of decision cycles and shortened the time horizon of future projections. At present, the leader is pressured to assume a vision that understands different scenarios, that makes decisions in a short time …
In turn, the leaders must be prepared to navigate in increasingly complex situations. This puts a lot of internal pressure on organizations and people. Thus, the ability to anticipate is assumed to be an essential resource because it transforms current information into data with new meaning, which contributes to more informed and effective decisions.
And where should we begin?
Well, to explain how this cycle of transformation unfolds, we have to take into consideration four steps:
(1) Asking the right questions and answering them properly is a first step in finding a new path. How can I reduce the waste of the raw material I use? What can fail to stop assembly line? What do consumers currently want? These are some of the issues that can be raised at this stage. Examples of other industries, associated with business knowledge can help us answer them and algorithms allow us to do this exercise in a short time;
(2) Be aware that the answers have to be integrated and that a data cycle requires a reflection of the whole organization, so that all the participants benefit from the same information;
(3) Create and maintain a working data model through analytical models of excellence. The data model is as important to an organization as a turf field is to a football spectacle. Without it there is no spectacle. If not properly maintained, the protagonists do not have the desired income;
(4) Finally, we have the democratization of data, which, on the one hand, is to reduce the complexity that technology often appears to have and, on the other, to encourage its use by the right people. When this happens, an unknown opportunity appears.
If we comply with these principles, with the existing technology, the decision process is only dependent on the guess by choice. I think it is clear to all that it is immensely more advantageous to anticipate and anticipate than to guess.
(*) Meaningful IT Business Unit Manager from Axians Portugal