Alan Dix explains “What is AI?”
Author of Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
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SAN FRANCISCO -
The race to embrace AI in enterprise technology is well underway, but investing in just any AI offering to avoid falling behind is a recipe for failure.
While AI adoption grew from 38 percent in 2016 to over 60 percent in 2017, a third of enterprises are either not tracking or not seeing returns on their current AI investments. Yet, despite the gap in investment and ROI, companies still fear missing out. According to McKinsey and Company, nearly half of executives who have yet to invest in AI fear falling behind competitively. Faced with this competitive fear, companies are twice as likely to embrace AI as they were to adopt new technologies in past technology cycles.
The danger for those who rush to buy AI technology is that they risk burning cash, rather than cashing in. This is because AI is not (and should not be treated as) a standalone technology: in order to fulfill its promise of providing insights, predicting outcomes and improving processes and products, AI needs a solid base of core and advanced digital technologies. For AI to reach its true potential, the right data, user experience and use cases need to be developed on an evolving platform that gets smarter with time. Without the right data, technological base and structure, promised returns will remain out of reach.
Our long history of connecting people to data puts us in a strong position to streamline efficient adoption of AI capabilities for our customers. But, what really gives us an advantage in the enterprise AI race is three things: intelligent data, a pervasive user experience and the flexibility to allow our customers personalize the way they embrace AI.
To be successful in AI, you need a lot of data, but it also needs to be the right quality and type of data. Businesses need structured and clean first-party data, as well as high-quality third-party data (which adds additional context) to drive smarter outcomes.
Oracle has a strong advantage in the AI race as a result of Oracle Data Cloud - the largest pool of third-party data on the planet. This enables us to apply machine learning and AI to third-party data, as well as our customers’ own application data, to drive smarter outcomes. However, the sheer volume of data isn't the only factor. The data also has to be accurate and ingestible. For this reason, managing business data on a single integrated data platform in order to pull from a single source of truth is critical to the success of AI technologies.
One of the key application strategies is that we bundle relevant third-party data with our applications for enhanced context and understanding of the customer.
Data is the lifeblood of AI: without the right quantity and quality of data, solutions fall over.
AI is possible now because of the plethora of data, sophisticated algorithms and lightning fast computing power. But availability of the technology doesn't mean that end users will utilize the new capabilities. A seamless, step-by-step introduction is needed to ensure adoption. For example, Oracle Adaptive Intelligent Apps send users subtle cues - slide outs and alerts - to let them know about new AI features within the familiar user interface of the application. We call this user experience pervasive AI, as it’s seamlessly woven into your everyday work and tasks without interrupting your flow.
The vision for pervasive AI is to provide insights or suggested actions to end users in the normal application user interface and across all devices and platforms. You will not need to stop what you’re doing and log in to a different system to get the benefits. Pervasive AI makes it easy to adopt the technology without changing established behavior so users can quickly and easily achieve value.
Not only are Oracle’s AI Apps seamlessly integrated within our cloud applications for CX, HCM, ERP and SCM; they also connect intelligence across those apps. A smart output in one area, such as Commerce, becomes a smart input in another area, such as Marketing, to drive smarter, coordinated recommendations. Organizations running multiple applications on the same platform can easily connect the dots between the front and back office for deeper business insight, more informed recommendations and improved efficiency.
Connected and pervasive intelligence is how Oracle AI Apps become an intelligent assistant to the end-user and the business.
In contrast to the AI point solutions provided by most vendors, Oracle recognizes that every organization has a unique journey to AI adoption. Oracle is the only enterprise software vendor with a business model that enables customers to buy an out-of-the-box AI applications solution for a common business use case, easily extend those solutions with their own proprietary AI, or build their own AI applications to perform unique tasks and use cases according to their business needs.
By offering the choice to buy, extend and build AI solutions, Oracle gives customers the ability to capitalize on the advances of the evolving intelligent platform and the flexibility to deploy solutions that are right for their business now and in the future. In addition, the technological underpinnings of Oracle AI solutions and applications enable pragmatic AI for the enterprise that can be delivered with minimal business disruption, within applications that an organization is already using today.
AI apps and intelligent platforms for AI development are only as effective as the infrastructure that they sit on. The on-premise and cloud infrastructure of yesterday is struggling to keep pace with the accelerated workloads of AI platforms and applications. Infrastructure (physical and virtual) limitations will become a significant speed bump to AI progress across the enterprise. For that reason, Oracle is investing in autonomous infrastructure and bringing world-first solutions like Oracle Autonomous Cloud to market. This AI-enabled infrastructure can self-manage and adjust itself on the fly to keep pace with the AI platform and applications that sit on top of it.
To win in the AI race, it’s not enough to just jump in to any AI offering. Investing in AI that’s built on rich and expansive data sets, pervasive AI user experience and the flexibility to buy, extend and build is what will separate the leaders from the laggards.
To find out more, catch up with Melissa and the Oracle team at The AI Summit San Francisco, Sep 19-20.
Melissa Boxer is the VP of Adaptive Intelligent Applications at Oracle. Oracle’s Adaptive Intelligent Apps are a series of cloud-based applications with use cases in finance, HR, supply chain, manufacturing, commerce, customer service, marketing, and sales.
Author of Introduction to Artificial Intelligence