IPsoft Digital Workforce SummitArtificial Intelligence (AI) opens the door to completely transforming how business is done. This potential for accelerating productivity while mitigating costs was the theme of a breakout session at this year’s Digital Workforce Summit (DWS) titled Optimizing Business Transformation. Moderated by IPsoft’s Senior Product Marketing Manager Aphrodite Brinsmead, the panel featured insights from Alan Hixon, CEO of nDivision, Natalie Heroux, Vice President and General Manager of Professional Services at Milestone Technologies, and Gustavo Vega, Executive Director of Enterprise Data Solutions. This group of innovators shared lessons learned from their companies’ AI journeys and how AI can mean realizing new business opportunities.

“Milestone has traditionally been a managed services company, so our business has focused on IT services – your typical call center service desk, logistics, apps, assets, networking and data centers,” explained Heroux. “As we engaged on our journey with automation – and Amelia specifically – we first focused on our traditional clients and implementing this technology to improve our own services. However, as we [continued on] that journey we started picking up a lot of new clients who were not our traditional IT services clients, but just needed us to help them solve business problems.”

The DWS panel was moderated by IPsoft’s Aphrodite Brinsmead (left) and featured AI insights from nDivision’s Alan Hixon (center), Milestone Technologies’ Natalie Heroux (right) and EDS’ Gustavo Vega (top image).

The group also provided advice to organizations that are taking the very first steps of their AI journeys. This isn’t as simple as it seems – with so much potential to automate computational, transactional and cognitive tasks, it can be difficult to decide which business tasks to address first.

“One approach is looking at [support] tickets and asking, ‘What’s the highest volume of tickets?’ They bubble up to the top of the list. Automate it. ‘What’s the next one?’ and then ‘What’s the next one?’” Hixon said. However, ticket volume isn’t the only metric companies should consider. “During our [initial] reviews with customers, we ask, ‘What’s taking up a lot of resources either on our side or your side?’ And then […] that’s what gets prioritized,” he said. It’s all about identifying the automations that will yield the best results, or as Hixon said, “what’s going to get the best ROI.”

While AI has the potential to optimize businesses operations, companies should not expect an instant fix to their business challenges; AI requires a deliberate and sustained development strategy. Of course, many stakeholders are only now becoming familiar with these technologies and may need to manage their expectation.

“That is a big challenge as you deploy this kind of technology. Many people might think that [these technologies] are ‘magic,’” said Vega. “But then they roll out and we can crash to the reality. So we have to define which are the steps that we are taking, and start with a low expectation [so as to provide some time for] our culture or end users to adopt.”

Click here to read more about managing expectations on an AI implementation.

AI can be transformative, but the path to ROI isn’t necessarily clearly marked. That means companies will have to be both deliberate and flexible with their implementation. This nimbleness may be one of the most important qualities for an organization to undertake.

“Usually, the initial use case for what they called us for changes almost 100%,” said Heroux. “[These technologies are] so new that people have some preconceptions. They don’t necessarily know what to expect. AI means different things for different people, and so as you engage in the journey, what you’re trying to get [to] evolves.”

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