A recent Intel India commissioned report, undertaken by the International Data Corporation (IDC) that surveyed 194 Indian organizations across sectors, unveiled and increasing appetite towards the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which in turn is expected to spike organizational spends on this technology over the next 18 months.
Nearly 75 percent of the firms surveyed, anticipate benefits in business process efficiency and employee productivity while 64 percent believe AI can help them augment revenue through better targeted offers and improved sales process. All of this enthusiasm is supported by global technology companies. In the recent World economic Forum event Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google said “AI is probably the most important thing humanity has ever worked on. I think of it as something more profound than electricity or fire.” His words aptly summed up the global business communities enthusiasm about the possibilities and potential of this technology.
In Indian context traditionally companies have lagged in adoption of such cutting-edge technology solutions. Many Indian organizations have started on their journey of digitization recently and have made selective investments in areas to automate their operations. While many companies are still looking at ways to completely revisit their business models and technology landscape in the wake of emerging technologies like AI.
One noticeable exception is ICICI bank which has always been at the forefront of technology adoption. Last year, they started an automation drive to use machines and codes in many of their operations. They are one of the first domestic and few global banks to adopt software robotics in their operations. City Union Bank followed suit with an AI Powered bot– Lakshmi, an onsite bank helper.
While one looks at these examples of early adoption of AI, it’s no surprise they come from businesses which are already heavily digitized like BFSI and IT / ITES. While other sectors where the push for digitization has been traditionally lower are still slower to adopt these technologies.
We believe this is where the opportunity exists for Indian organizations to leapfrog the digital transformation efforts of their business and incorporate AI in their design right at the start of the process.
One of the first challenges that companies will have to solve in this journey is the availability of useful data in their systems.
With an estimated 90 percent of Indian organizations having digitized their operational and or financial transactions the challenge is not availability of data but availability of data that is useful from AI context. However organizations can look to overcome this apparent hindrance with use of AI as they can re-imagine the whole business process and create a completely different employee and customer experience by embedding AI powered robots as part of their business operations.
According to World Economic Forum research one of the positives working in favour of Indian organizations looking to leap frog this technological innovation is the enthusiasm of its workforce towards AI. With an estimated 700 million millennials in India and an ever increasing demand for AI skills, Indian organizations are uniquely positioned to take advantage of this opportunity. Availability of an enthusiastic workforce to work on making the AI realities possible is a potent mix which if channelized and utilized effectively can greatly transform the way many Indian organizations conduct business. These efforts could also make Indian workforce a powerhouse of AI talent worldwide.
As per Mckinsey Global Institute, wages associated with technically automatable activities amount to USD 14.6 trillion globally. In India this figure is estimated to be about USD 1 trillion with approximately 235 million workers in India being impacted with AI related activities. With India’s GDP estimated to be around USD 2.65 trillion in 2018, these figures indicate the potential of the impetus an wholehearted AI powered digital transformation of major Indian industries can provide.
The increased focus of government on digital technologies coupled with almost ubiquitous digital connectivity can help Indian organizations fundamentally shift the paradigm.
For example consumer oriented companies can now imagine and even execute on a two way real time interaction with their current and potential customers.
Digital technologies available today help businesses create and push personalized and customized campaigns to its target audience based on events or actions these individuals are taking on their personal mobile phone. This power is further being augmented by AI and companies can look to exploit this opportunity for their customers and employees alike.
For example, an AI powered HR process can auto detect the leave application of an employee for maternity/paternity and then send a personalized email congratulating for the milestone and also sending pre-filled forms as per internal or statutory processes based on information already available in the HRMS.
Another fundamental paradigm shifts is the near elimination of supply and demand mismatch. Both consumer and business focused companies can today have technology solutions that can “listen” to various clues internal and external enabling organizations to make informed decisions in more real time than earlier. Businesses can look to design their processes with the in-built power of AI to ensure that the demand clues are being predicted much in advance to adjust their production and resultant impact on their suppliers.
For example in recruitment AI powered processes can help hiring managers immediately determine how much time it took to fill a similar position in the past thus adjusting his/her expectations. The AI powered engine can also indicate if some of the variables considered to arrive at the lead time have changed and indicate its impact on the lead time accordingly, thus enabling him/her to take a more informed decision about client deliverables and other dependencies on the hiring timelines.
By reimagining their processes with AI, companies can also look to reduce their serving costs and move more to an opex spend model from an erstwhile capex heavy model. This will help organizations reach to new consumers at a faster rate than ever before. An AI powered process for example can assist organizations to reach untapped talent pools in Tier 3 or Tier 4 cities, as most of the screening process can now be left to be handled by an automated bot, thus not only improving efficiency and effectiveness of the recruitment process but also significantly increasing the access to a wider talent pool for the organization.
We firmly believe in the ability of human beings to adapt to ever changing environments.
We are excited at the opportunity that AI presents to Indian organizations in particular to re-imagine their business and HR processes and leapfrog to a newer level of productivity and efficiency.
The question is not how or what but just when – so when are you ready to re-imagine your business with the power of AI?