AI's Evolving Role in the Enterprise: Unlocking Transformative Value


Cauri Jaye

on •

Mar 19, 2024

This blog post is the second in a series explaining the new frontier of AI in enterprise, aimed at C-suite executives and decision-makers looking to integrate AI strategically into their organisations. "AI changes everything" is a common phrase. These posts look at what these changes entail based on current trends and what we at Artium are seeing in the trenches as we build the platforms and products that underscore this new domain.

AI as a force for transformation

Artificial Intelligence is undeniably a transformative force. The narrative has shifted from employing AI to automate mundane tasks or acting as a stopgap for inefficiencies deep within established processes to strategically deploying it at the start of business processes.

Today, forward-thinking companies consider integrating AI at the very inception of their workflows, aiming to address the root causes of inefficiencies rather than their symptoms. This strategic repositioning of AI higher up the value chain optimises operations and unlocks new horizons of innovation and efficiency.

Reimagining, not just patching problems

Bolting AI onto existing processes—often to patch inefficiencies or automate routine tasks—provides immediate relief but misses out on AI's potential to fundamentally transform business operations. Today's leaders need to embed AI at the very beginning, targeting inefficiencies at their roots. This approach doesn't just tweak operations; it reimagines them, paving the way for unparalleled innovation and efficiency.

Real-World Examples:

  1. Unilever uses AI-powered demand forecasting to optimise its supply chain, reducing waste and improving efficiency. By integrating AI at the start of their planning process, Unilever can better anticipate customer needs and adjust production accordingly, leading to significant cost savings and reduced environmental impact.

  2. JPMorgan Chase employs AI to analyse legal contracts at the start of the review process, saving time and resources. This allows the legal team to focus on more complex tasks and strategic initiatives, ultimately improving the department's overall efficiency.

Augmented intelligence to amplify human potential

To truly harness AI's potential for greater gains, viewing it as a complement to human intellect rather than a replacement is essential. Augmented intelligence embodies this synergy, combining AI's analytical prowess with human creativity, slow thinking, and emotional intelligence to achieve outcomes that neither could accomplish alone.

At Artium, we developed APEX to address a problem at the top of our value chain. APEX implements augmented intelligence to pair you with an AI to collaborate on bridging the gap between having an idea for a technology product and understanding how to fund, build, and release that product. Instead of bolting an AI into product management software, we inserted it at the start of the ideation process so the benefits could be felt all the way through delivery.

AI across industries creates opportunities for all

The strategic integration of AI opens up opportunities for both enterprises and their teams. Custom AI tools, tailored to businesses' unique needs and data ecosystems, offer insights and efficiencies previously out of reach, enhancing decision-making and fostering a culture of innovation. All industries can benefit, as demonstrated by the following examples of AI placed at the right point in the value chain:

  • Healthcare: PathAI revolutionises tissue sample analysis for more accurate diagnoses and treatments. By integrating AI at the start of the diagnostic process, PathAI enables pathologists to make more informed decisions, ultimately improving patient outcomes.

  • Manufacturing: Rolls-Royce and JTEKT leverage AI for predictive maintenance, improving equipment uptime and reducing costs. By analysing sensor data and machine performance in real time, AI can identify potential issues before they lead to downtime, allowing for proactive maintenance and optimised production schedules.

  • Automotive: Tesla uses AI for production planning and optimising operations to meet market demands efficiently. By integrating AI into their demand forecasting and supply chain management, Tesla can better align production with customer needs, reducing lead times and improving overall efficiency.

Unlocking AI's value with a step-by-step guide

Embracing AI's transformative role within enterprises compels us to engage deeply, applying first principles to identify where AI can wield the most significant influence in the value chain. By elevating AI's position in the value chain and marrying it with human effort, we unlock unprecedented efficiency and effectiveness.

Steps to unlock more value with AI:

  1. Identify problem areas along the value chain through workflow analysis.

    • Map out your organisation's entire value chain, from raw materials to customer service.

    • Conduct thorough workflow analyses to uncover inefficiencies and bottlenecks.

    • If this seems too onerous, map out workflows for key areas or areas where you suspect or know there may be issues

  2. Pinpoint root causes by iteratively asking "why" until you reach the core issue.

    • For each problem area identified, ask "why" it occurs, then ask "why" again for the answer you provide. Repeat this process until you've reached the root cause.

  3. Recognise patterns and connections among root causes.

    • Look for commonalities among the root causes you've identified. Are there shared underlying issues or themes?

    • Group related root causes together to identify areas where AI can have the most significant impact.

  4. Apply AI thinking, engaging with AI experts to identify the most promising opportunities.

    • Consult with AI experts who have experience implementing successful solutions.

    • Evaluate the feasibility and potential ROI of addressing each group of root causes with AI.

  5. Prioritise and build MVPs or POCs, iterating based on feedback and results.

    • Prioritise the AI opportunities that offer the highest ROI and align with your organisation's strategic goals.

    • Develop minimum viable products (MVPs) for well-understood AI solutions. For more blue-sky opportunities, create rapid proof-of-concept (POCs) to validate the effectiveness of your AI solutions.

    • Iterate your solutions based on user feedback and performance data.

  6. Foster long-term relationships with AI experts to continuously adapt and improve solutions.

    • Maintain ongoing partnerships with AI experts to ensure your solutions remain effective as your business needs evolve.

    • Continuously monitor and optimise your AI implementations to maximise their value over time.

Navigating the pitfalls of AI implementation

While the benefits of strategic AI integration are clear, many organisations face challenges when implementing AI solutions. Common pitfalls include:

  • "POC Hell": Continuously investing in proofs-of-concept without progressing to full-scale implementation. This often stems from a lack of clear objectives, insufficient resources, or a failure to secure buy-in from key stakeholders. To escape POC Hell, organisations must set clear goals, allocate appropriate resources, and communicate the value of AI initiatives to all relevant parties.

  • Monolithic AI Builds: Creating inflexible solutions that often use inappropriate technologies and fail to adapt to changing needs. This challenge arises when organisations attempt to build all-encompassing AI systems without considering the need for modularity and scalability. To avoid this pitfall, adopt a multi-model, microservices architecture, building smaller, independently deployable AI components that can be easily modified and integrated as needed.

  • Misapplication of AI: Applying AI to existing processes without understanding the underlying problems or opportunities. This often results from a lack of domain expertise or a failure to conduct a thorough workflow analysis. To prevent misapplication, organisations must involve subject matter experts and invest time in understanding the root causes of inefficiencies before implementing AI solutions.

To avoid these challenges, leaders must approach AI integration systematically, conducting thorough workflow analysis, identifying high-ROI opportunities, and iterating on MVP solutions. Engaging with experienced AI experts is crucial to ensure the organisation has the knowledge and support needed to successfully integrate and scale AI solutions.

Embrace the AI-powered future

By following these concrete steps and avoiding common pitfalls, you can position your organisation to harness AI's true potential and drive meaningful, value-creating change. The future belongs to leaders who strategically embed AI at the heart of their enterprise, not as a quick fix but as a transformative force for growth and success.

Stay tuned for our next post, where we'll explore the new types of digital employees and how AI and humans can collaborate to shape the future of work. Let's reimagine the possibilities inspired by AI's power to transform businesses and the fabric of our work and learning environments.

And in the meantime, be sure to check out our first post from the series: AI's Evolving Role in the Enterprise: Navigating the New Data Frontier.

Ready to unlock AI's value in your organisation?
Contact Artium today to learn how we can guide you to success.