An ongoing war, a simmering pandemic, the sharp edges of an accelerating climate crisis, recession, labor shortages, social media—an intense cornucopia of crises creates a general- the sense of chaos in the world today. This makes uncertainty a perfect theme to emerge from Gartner’s recent IT Symposium in Orlando. Gartner’s top trends for 2023 are close to the idea that all this unprecedented uncertainty lurking around brings this moment.
Technology is becoming increasingly ingrained in every aspect of business, turning complex systems that cannot communicate with each other into truly insecure machines. As the famous VP analyst Frances Karamouzis pointed out during her trend presentation, cloud platforms are moving away from focusing on “technology” and towards “business value” as a key differentiator.
This seems to suggest that businesses are less concerned with what a piece of technology is, and more interested in the specific ROI it can produce. “Business value” means providing users with an experience across channels and technologies that is efficient and rewarding enough to bring them back for more.
It’s no secret that AI is at the forefront of every conversation about technology. McKinsey’s state of AI report for 2021 found that 56% of businesses reported adopting AI in at least one function, up from 50% last year.
The hype is necessary because AI is the catalyst for the alchemy of turning uncertainty into opportunity. Among many other things, AI—and conversational AI in particular—represents an opportunity to redesign organizations around technology in ways that make them more self-driving. .
The problem is, most businesses are applying AI the wrong way. Gartner estimates that 90% of all conversational AI applications in the world today will fail, if not already. With that in mind, here are three steps you can take to do the opposite.
Blanket uncertainty with intelligent communication fabric
A constant in business (and in life) is that when there is poor communication, uncertainty grows and opportunity withers. At this time, with many towering waves of uncertainty about to crash in almost the same place as the great influx of technology, the need to standardize communication in organizations could not be more clear and urgent. That bold standardization takes the form of something best described as an intelligent communication fabric that connects people, systems, and things.
The intelligent communications fabric is complex to create and a different fit for each company, but it’s something any organization can begin to strategize and build with the tools available today. This fabric allows organizations to use conversational AI in serious ways. With this, they can orchestrate a succession of technologies under a veil that hides the chaos we have come to expect (and accept) with graphical user interfaces. Instead of GUIs, the entry point is a conversational interface, something anyone can use without special training.
Customers can use this interface to access the many automations that exist within a self-driving company, and these solutions can be more efficient in meeting users where they are with the information that they need.
Employees can use the interface to the same effect, but there is also the opportunity to use the conversation—in the form of tools without creating code—to design and evolve automations that deal with customers as well as internal automations that remove them from tedious tasks, which is liberating. more time for creative problem solving. Best of all, unlike GUIs, which have a relatively low ceiling (there’s only so much screen space, after all), conversational interfaces can grow indefinitely (there’s no limit to the number of bots or functions that a user can create through conversation).
Whether businesses are building their own fabric or buying a functional solution in the marketplace, it’s important to acknowledge that a fabric for connecting people, systems, and things is a fundamental requirement for competing in this new- or and uncertain time.
Work with purpose, in the present
“Tomorrow and plans for tomorrow mean nothing unless you are completely in touch with the reality of the present…” That’s something Alan Watts wrote in The Wisdom of Uncertainty. He may not have been thinking about technology when he wrote these words, but they have special significance for companies as they get their steps into conversational AI.
One of the biggest mistakes people make in AI comes with trying to solve hyper-specific problems, which often require a lot of planning and building up front, followed by testing, crashing, and messing up the build. – again. It’s hard to live in the present in the midst of rapid product development.
There are many point solutions on the market that can speed up the process and automate isolated processes with a passable user experience, but those solutions can only grow as big as their boxes. Additionally, having siled point solutions that work in different areas of an organization doesn’t get to the point of AI (and is endemic to the outdated software cycles we’re trying to navigate away from).
AI reaches its potential when it is part of a problem-solving matrix that operates at the heart of an organization—an ecosystem that allows every aspect of that organization to improve efficiency. You can’t do something this big and digestible by planning every step from bottom to top in advance.
Once you have an intelligent communication fabric in place, however, you can start using code-free creation tools to start sifting through technologies and data to build your own automations. . Of course, it involves some planning, but it is better to build, even if you build something bad. Early automations crash and burn in painful and embarrassing ways (so it’s best to start automating internally).
The point is to learn from mistakes and fail forward faster than before. This is done by identifying the processes to automate and working with the people who best understand the processes to design and iterate the automations. Insurance disruptors Lemonade are a great example of how streamlined and efficient an organization with AI at its core can be, and their founder, Shai Wininger, describes the company as “driven by ultra intelligent, cautious that chosen small group of people who together engineered a. lean on David instead of the fierce Goliath.” It requires a more agile-than-Agile approach that keeps you in full contact with the reality of the present and leads directly to the next step.
Take control of your development cycles
Companies that maximize the benefits of AI are thinking, designing, testing, iterating, launching, testing, and iterating daily, or even hourly. They effectively write and refine their own software on their own timeline. They own their development cycles, and when you own your own development cycles you have control over your path.
It’s unfair to imply that point solutions can’t get better over time, but if you need specific customizations to the solutions you’re using, you’ll be locked into their development cycle right away. That could mean waiting weeks, or months, (or even years) for an update that could be critical to your process. That’s a lot of time to wallow in uncertainty, especially when your competitors control their development cycles.
When organizations have an intelligent communication fabric in place and automate this way every day, they are in a position to achieve a state of hyperautomation — creating and continuously improving their own powerful personalized software using codeless tools to create their own development cycles. . Any organization in a state of hyperautomation has no hope of outperforming any competitors locked into a third-party vendor’s timeline. They also cut large areas of uncertainty while mining opportunity as a daily course of action.
In the same book on uncertainty, Alan Watts also talks about how our fixation on “understanding life” poses the impossible task of “making recovery from change.” The world is always changing. In some ways, the wider adoption of hyperautomation will accelerate the reign of chaos, as disruptive changes will change all industries in different ways.
When it comes to business and technology, intelligently applied AI allows organizations to respond to change by changing in immediate and meaningful ways. Unfortunately, none of the steps above are turnkey in nature, but each one is necessary to meet the uncertain times with the opportunity of your view.
It’s Josh Tyson is the coauthor of Age of Invisible Machines, director of Storytelling at OneReach.ai, and cohost of N9K, a podcast from the future.