It is now a given that every company is a digital company. Digital transformation is not limited to the elites, nor is the adoption of emerging technologies. Organisations not embracing emerging technology and moving along the path of digital transformation not only hinder their ability to scale but risk being left behind.

As most organisations have embraced the digital era and embarked along their digital transformation journey, the question begins to arise as to whether every company should now be an AI company. With the ever increasing rate of digital change, do all organisations now need to be ready to develop, deploy and adopt AI-based systems?

AI-based technologies are direct enablers for organisations to digitally transform and the path to digital transformation now involves infusing AI into crucial processes and milestones. Organisations at all levels of digital maturity can adopt AI-based systems. It is however important that before doing so, organisations think through the implications of AI within their business. This helps organisations to determine whether they have the correct governance in place to support the development of more advanced AI.

Probabilistic systems

AI-based systems are probabilistic in nature. This is the opposite of many existing technical solutions that are deterministic in which ‘business logic’ is based on predetermined, articulated rules that are compiled into an application.

Probabilistic systems, on the other hand, operate in the realm of probabilities, which, by nature, requires companies to understand concepts such as data science driven experimentation and ownership process changes.

Organisations with this AI expertise in-house are more equipped to adopt AI than those without – however this does not mean AI is off limits to those without this expertise. With a digital transformation partner, the possibilities of AI are not limited to those with full-time AI experts. Through the likes of Data as a Service – AI is accessible to all!

Ability to govern ethical use

One of the most important factors an organisation should consider when looking to adopt or develop AI-based systems, is whether they have the ability to govern its use.

As we look to a future where AI techniques are used more and more to automate tasks, identify and predict patterns and provide systems with human-like capabilities, this raises some challenging questions about fairness, understandability, accountability and the overall ethics of AI. Every organisation involved in the design, development, operation, and/ or use of AI systems must first consider whether AI should be used for the task rather than if it can be used.

Understanding your digital maturity

While it is a given that AI is now key to digital transformation, rushing adoption can be dangerous. It is important that companies and digital champions consider their organisation’s digital maturity before rushing to adopting or even building their own AI-based technology. While the desire for AI-enabled systems is clearly to help achieve objectives and goals, each time a system is not maintained properly, begins to decay or behaves unpredictably, it is easy for leadership to lose confidence in AI in general.

A loss of confidence can run the risk of a complete rejection of AI due to failed or expensive experiments. Users can also lose trust in AI as a technology, branding it as unpredictable, too hard to operate or too different. This outcome will push true digital transformation further away and cause your organisation to miss out on the powerful positive impact AI can have on your organisation.

Step by step adoption

To avoid rejection of AI-based systems, a step by step approach is recommended for the adoption of AI-based systems. Organisations that are only just beginning to question what AI is and how it could apply to their organisation should look to adopt AI technologies that are hosted by a technology giant. With the support of a digital partner, such as Incremental Group, these organisations can infuse AI into their digital experiences. The adoption of configurable AI will help with ownership, ease operational challenges and allow organisations to firmly establish themselves as a truly digital business.

For organisations that are further along their digital transformational journey, looking to optimise their process but still cautious about disruption, they are well placed to embrace experimentation with AI. Organisations at this stage should invest more in understanding how to implement and improve their use of AI, in particular in terms of its governance.

So is AI for every company?

While every company is now a digital company, the adoption of AI might seem the next logical step along the digital transformation path. Organisations at all levels of digital maturity can now certainly own and use AI-based systems, it is not limited to the digitally mature elite. It is however important that considerations are made for governance and a gradual, step by step, approach is taken when integrating AI into your organisation.

To find out where your company’s AI maturity sits or how to increase your AI maturity, discover Microsoft’s whitepaper – ‘AI Maturity and organizations – Understanding AI maturity’.