Creating the self driving enterprise

Facing pressure to update and improve infrastructure, analyse and utilise this available data, while keeping internal networks, systems, applications and information secure, is no easy feat.

And now CIOs are realising that to survive in the digital era, they must create a self-driving enterprise. Many factors influence the shift to digital transformation, a strategic approach that takes into consideration the following ideas, will be the foundation for a successful journey.

Embracing the concept of automation, AI and machine learning

Despite the fact that automation has been proven time and again to provide significant and substantial benefits to businesses, particularly at the enterprise level, many executives are still resistant to its adoption.

There are actually many reasons behind this, but the biggest – at least from the c-suite level – is typically cost. In order to overcome this resistance, CIOs must first be willing to go all-in for the cause, fully embracing the potential of what automation can and will bring to the table.

>See also: 7 trends driving enterprise IT transformation in 2018

From there, they must begin to address the fears and objectives that exist, both at an upper management level as well as with front-line employees. This is critical because in order to achieve automation’s fullest potential, it must be something that’s accepted organisation-wide.

For the CEO and other “powers that be,” selling the quantifiable benefits of intelligent automation, machine learning and AI is a good place to start. Demonstrating projected ROI is key.

With front-line workers, be open and forthcoming in communicating not just why automation is important, but how it will actually impact their lives. Understand that in reality, some roles will be eliminated or greatly diminished.

For those cases, highlight the new opportunities that will come as a result, such as training to become automation engineers. Focus on shifting their viewpoint from fear to understanding and finally to optimism.

Starting small

Remember – Rome wasn’t built in a day, and while intelligent automation is something that can be quickly implemented, it might make more sense to take things slow and start small. Begin by empowering employees where it makes the most business sense. The initial communication phase should have been effective enough in setting expectations and getting everyone onboard, which should make the transition much easier.

>See also: Artificial intelligence is transforming the enterprise

The self-driving enterprise often begins with a simple list of pain points. These glaring needs are where your organisation can garner the fastest and most quantifiable value, which makes them the ideal place to start. Create a list and prioritise those needs accordingly, determining which tasks and workflows will be implemented when and in which order.

Then, begin tackling the list one by one, becoming comfortable with the automation platform you’re using before expanding to more complex workflows.

Being both consistent and strategic

As automation begins to become more pervasive, it’s essential that CIOs and others involved in the planning and implementation process focus their efforts on both consistency as well as strategy. The goal is to automate in a way that takes into account the big picture. It’s not enough to simply pick and choose a handful of manual processes. That isn’t sustainable, which means it’s not supportive of the self-driving enterprise.

Instead, ongoing planning should be directly in line with, and measured against, the overarching business goals. The objective of this type of project is to engrain the concept of automation into the very culture of the organisation. This cannot be accomplished by creating automation silos. Furthermore, since AI and machine learning present the added value of transforming data into actionable insights, with the right “big picture” approach, the automation platform can drive better decision making in the future.

Evolving constantly

The last important point for CIOs to consider is that moving toward a self-driving enterprise will inevitably change many internal roles and business processes. As such, management must be innovative and creative in order to continue to empower and inspire workers through the many changes that are occurring all around them.

>See also: The value of AR to the enterprise

Investing in training and education to help skilled employees transition into new automation-centric roles can make the entire process a much more positive one, and will benefit both the employees as well as the organisation as a whole.

The other side of the coin is the actual automation solution itself. Over the past several years, so much has changed that the automation tools and technologies considered cutting edge just a few years ago are already becoming antiquated.

To stay ahead of the curve, business leaders must look toward more futuristic technologies. Ideally, in order for the platform to facilitate the goal of creating and sustaining a self-driving enterprise, it must be agile, robust enough to support both IT and non-IT needs and intuitive enough to learn and improve entirely on its own.

Becoming a self-driving enterprise isn’t as monumental a task as it may seem right out of the gate. All it takes is the right plan, the right approach and the right platform to make it happen. CIOs that follow a well thought out approach will find that the path to an autonomous organisation will be much easier to navigate moving forward.

Sourced by Gabby Nizri, CEO of Ayehu, Inc.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is the editor for Information Age. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and cyber security.