Futureproof or fail: how enterprise CIOs are delivering strategic business value with conversational AI

by Andy Peart 29 August 2019

Conversational AI is a rapid growth technology, revolutionizing the customer experience and offering massive gains in data intelligence. Enterprise CIOs need to be prepared to deliver this immersive technology at a strategic level across the enterprise, or face failure.

Indeed, Gartner predict that conversational AI will be a strategic business imperative within the next 10 years, with 25% of customer service and support operations integrating virtual customer assistant technology by 2020. Accordingly, 75% of CIOs are prioritizing digital transformation to meet this surging demand.

Taking back control

Many CIOs are faced with the thorny issue of multiple departments ‘going rogue’ – deploying standalone initiatives to address a tactical issue. Not only is this inefficient for an overworked IT department, it poses an obvious risk in terms of data security, as well as a hole in any enterprise data strategy. Taking control back means the enterprise can work smarter and more cohesively, delivering a conversational AI strategy that works for the business.

A conversational AI platform that delivers the advanced interaction that customers are demanding, while giving enterprises the scalability and control they need to develop and maintain systems on a global basis, is now essential.

So now you are back in control. What do you do next? Many enterprises are forming globally-resourced Centers of Excellence. Skillsets are no longer spread across the organization but organized in dedicated teams and focused on collaborating and developing solutions that take advantage of new technology to solve problems, improve productivity and make the business stronger. These organizations are actively looking for enterprise-strength conversational AI platforms that have the scalability and flexibility to deliver a variety of conversational solutions that grow with the business and provide access to the goldmines of data just waiting to be unearthed.

Maximizing the value in conversational data

At first glance, the data generated by conversational systems may seem insignificant. It is, after all, free format unstructured “chatter”, that is traditionally very hard to break down and categorize into meaningful information. But this assessment would be a grave mistake. In the same way that conversational AI is revolutionizing the frontend chatbot, so it is changing how conversational data is captured and used behind the scenes. Indeed, if data is the new oil, then conversational data must be the new golden oil!

When people converse with each other, they reveal a lot about what they’re thinking: their likes, their dislikes, what they’re looking for, their attitudes, and personal views or opinions. If you can capture this – and retain the full context of the conversation – then it’s like having a permanent focus group of millions at your fingertips, 24/7. And this allows them to get into the hearts and minds of their customers and really start to understand how they think, enabling them to make informed decisions on products and services; and to better personalize responses, helping build a more engaging relationship with their customers.

In short, the wealth of conversational information generated through customer interactions enables organizations to move beyond basic business intelligence and into sophisticated, ‘voice of the customer’ CX.

Strategic success through digital transformation

With centralized strategies in place, enterprise CIOs can move beyond short-term tactics that solve specific pain points, to using conversational AI as an enabler to achieve strategic digital transformation goals within the organization.

Already the landscape is changing fast and the list of AI assets that CIOs need to manage grows every day. At the same time other technologies are emerging, such as augmented reality or robotic process automation. While they are parallel technologies, each one

is still likely to impact on how enterprises will incorporate conversational AI applications in their wider mix of AI assets as they move forward. An open modular design is essential in developing future-proofed conversational AI applications.

Conversational AI is maturing more rapidly than other equivalent technology has in the past. Enterprise CIOs need to be prepared on a strategic level to deliver this immersive technology across the enterprise, or face being left behind by more nimble and responsive competitors.

To ensure success, businesses must implement conversational AI platform technologies that can handle specific enterprise requirements and enable them to build, maintain and manage today’s bots, VAs and digital assistants; capitalize on the ‘golden oil’ data source; and be ready to handle new AI assets and technology tomorrow. The conversational AI market is gathering speed every day. Can the modern CIO afford not to keep up.

Andy Peart is Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer of Artificial Solutions, an international business that “Makes Technology Think,” believing that people should be able to interact with technology intelligently, using their own voice, in their own terminology and across whatever channel they choose.

Using a form of AI referred to as ‘Conversational AI’, Artificial Solutions allows people to talk to applications, websites and devices in a human like, intelligent and conversational way.

Andy has over 25 years strategic and marketing experience within the IT and AI sector, successfully helping build innovative, technology driven organizations.