Becoming Cognitive: How to Transform Your Business

Becoming Cognitive: How to Transform Your Business

Ciarán Daly

December 5, 2017

3 Min Read

This week's AI Summit NYC welcomes senior speakers from across industries and enterprises to Metropolitan West, bringing together experts at the forefront of both the business and technology world. AI Business will be providing live, up-to-the-minute highlights and coverage throughout the day. To find out more about the AI Summit, click here

Josh Sutton is the Global Head of Publicis.Sapient's Data and AI practice. He's responsible for leveraging big data tools as well as correlation-based and causal-baesd AI platforms to help clients transform their businesses. His AI Summit keynote, 'Becoming Cognitive: How to Transform Your Business', explored the key business challenges and transformative potential of AI implementation.

Beginning with the birth of electricity, Sutton framed AI as the fourth major transformational wave in industry - from steam, to electricity, to the information age, and finally, to connected intelligence. "What used to take decades to transform business is now happening in years. Companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft and IBM are spending tens of billions of dollars on AI - much more than VCs," Sutton said. "AI is one of the few spaces where the corporate world is vastly outspending the venture world. By 2030, 3 out of every 4 companies that we think of as leaders are going to be brand new."

For Sutton, the pace of change is going to overwhelm the current way of doing things. " We've been fascinated by the concept of talking to computers for years. Over 10% of US households already have intelligent voice devices in the last 2.5 years - it took five years for smartphones to get to a 10% adoption rate. We're moving incredibly quickly. The technology is there today to move to intelligent assistants. Doing the same thing slightly better or slightly faster is not going to be competitive in tomorrow's landscape. As you look at large organisations in the enterprise, you find people having difficulty with capitalizing on all this potential. So how do we actually transform?"

"Don't bring a sword to a gunfight - don't bring a 20th century business to an AI-first world"

"The business case is very straightforward in some cases, such as with RPA, and harder to gauge in other cases, such as with machine learning. Digital Transformation has the potential to not only deliver significant value, but can also create sustained competitive advantage. Most companies can and likely will gain from it. Part of the challenge in the latter is that until you bring the data together and start running your AI experiments / hypothesis testing, you cannot tell how useable it is," explained Rashed Haq, Global Lead and VP of AI with Sapient Consulting, told AI Business in October. "One way to jumpstart this is to go through the process of ‘use case discovery’ to identify potential use cases and create a portfolio view of potential upside and cost. This gives you a fairly good feel for the overall business case."

Outlining seven steps of cognitive transformation, Sutton argued in his AI Summit keynote that establishing a business use case for cognitive transformation is vital in today's world. "We're seeing 5-7% increases in profitability for companies adopting AI today. That's a huge move of the needle and we're only right at the start of what's going to be done."

  1. Assess what is possible

  2. Define your data needs

  3. Define the services

  4. Align to technology platforms

  5. Execute real-world solutions

  6. Incorporate experience design into everything

  7. Iterate, iterate, iterate

Ultimately, adoption strategy needs to be a big part of planning AI implementation.  "The other big item I would highlight is the culture change needed for innovation," Haq told us. "Innovation is a high risk business – experimentation is needed and an experiment that disproves a hypothesis is not a failure. Seeing it as a failure will start to shut down innovative thinking."

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