Chris Harvey, Accenture’s Director of financial services for Asia-Pacific recently did an interview with the South China Morning Post about how your company can benefit from artificial intelligence. 

By definition by Accenture, Harvey says that AI is seen as a: “collection of multiple technologies that together enable machines to sense, comprehend, act and learn, either on their own or to augment human activities. It’s happening now”.

Harvey explains how AI has reached a tipping point today by growing at a much faster rate than before, saying: “this is because it is now possible, due to the availability of massive, inexpensive cloud-accessible computing power and low-cost storage, combined with algorithms, to sift rapidly through enormous volumes of data”.

Referring to Accenture’s 2016 Technology Vision survey, Harvey explains how corporates now seem more convinced that AI does bare a lot of potential, as 70% of corporate executives claim to be making significantly more investments in AI now, than what they did only a couple of years ago. Another 55% are planning on using machine learning and AI solutions extensively in the future.

Harvey refers to statistics from analyst firm IDC predicts that the worldwide content analytics, discovery and cognitive systems software market will more than double from US$4.5 billion in 2014 to US$9.2 billion in 2019. He also mentions how other observers see these systems as catalysts which will have a US$5 trillion – US$7 trillion potential economic impact by 2025.

“But companies need to know how to harness AI effectively”, Harvey emphasises in the article. He believes it is essential to advocate a strategic business-oriented, people-first, technology-rich approach, and that these principles together will help businesses implement intelligent systems successfully. This will eventually improve operations and develop new opportunities for expansion.

Harvey also mentions that he believes AI has the potential to increase expertise through enabling analysis and offering advice and implementation support, which subsequently improves the efficiency of the businesses as it enables the managers to be more innovative, he says.

An example of this is Accenture’s collaboration with SoftBank Robotics where they work towards making them reimagine the future of digital customer interactions, Harvey explains. Accenture  Interactive demonstrated a new prototype based on the Pepper robot, this May in Paris, which is a humanoid ‘bot’ that can read emotions, first introduced in Japan in 2014.

“The enhanced Pepper-based platform blends human and artificial intelligence, to deliver omni-channel customer service and commerce capabilities – including social media, mobile and in-store applications”, Harvey said.

Harvey breaks down how AI can work for you as an office on the whole, and as an individual manager. In terms of applying AI in the office, it can improve efficiency in the back office when you apply it to routine activities that is based on well-defined rules, procedures and criteria, he says.

In terms of the individual use, Harvey explains that if you are curious to know how AI would work for you as a manager, there are steps to go through. You need to establish and assess the opportunities, identify the appropriate long and short-term business and technology strategies, and: “implement emerging solutions to realise the benefits today, including areas such as automation and advanced analytics, while setting yourself up for success in the future”.

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