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2019 Trends: Deploying AI Won t Be a Problem but Orchestrating it Will Be

Roland Alston, Appian
April 8, 2019

(This is the third installment of our 5-part series, Winning the Future: 5 Digital Trends You Can't Afford to Miss in 2019 and Beyond. Read part1hereand part 2 here.)

The next time you roll up to adrive-thru, don't be surprised if the menu automatically changes to prompt you to get a shake to go with those fries.

That's because McDonald's recently doubled down on digital transformation with thepurchaseof an AI startup. News reports say the AI will soon be deployed to instantly change drive-thru, menu options based on the weather, how busy the restaurant is and the time of day. The AI will also instantly recommend extra items based on your initial order.

It's just another story about how AI is shaping the future and what's happening at the golden arches is just the tip of the iceberg. Many other companies are also betting big on intelligent automation to transform the customer experience and drive business outcomes as well:

    • Google Assistant is running on 1 billion devices

    • By 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human

    • Half of internet searches will happen via voice

    • AI implementations have grown by an eye-popping 270% over the last four years

But as AI solutions go viral, how can CXOs like you ever make them all work together? And if you can do that, how can you achieve your digital transformation goals?

That's where digital process automation (DPA) comes in.

Orchestrating Digital Labor

"...This technology (DPA) enables work to be coordinated effectively across teams and departments or the whole supply chain," says Neil Ward-Dutton, vice president, AI and DX European Research Practices at IDC.

"Think about all of the bots that are being mainstreamed by companies everywhere," says Ward-Dutton. "If you think of these bots as a digital workforce, you need a conductor to orchestrate this workforce."

"But you also need a backbone piece of technology that can coordinate all of that. And that's where DPA plays a huge role."

Bottom line: DPA is essential to transforming IT governance to manage the business risks that will come with mainstreaming AI and disrupting the workforce stack. You're no longer seeing organizations bringing in a single technology to overcome a business challenge. But organizations are asking: "How can I combine multiple technologies to solve problems and take advantage of business opportunities.

"Like Appian with its low-code, quick application development platform," says Todd Lohr, Principal, Technology Enablement & Automation at KPMG. "It has a backbone that allows you to hang off technologies like robotic process automation with Blue Prism and call Google with APIs that enable you to use machine learning."

Unready for Intelligent Automation

"This approach allows you to solve increasingly complex problems," says Lohr, "using more and more technologies that are architect-ed together. So, you're seeing that kind of convergence in the market, where things are really starting to come together to provide powerful solutions. I think some organizations, broadly speaking, are not prepared for the impact of intelligent automation. Specifically, I'm talking artificial intelligence, machine learning and all of the emerging technologies that are coming in the next 5 to 10 years."

The problem is that there's a mindset out there that AI is still just science fiction.

Never mind the skeptics,AI is now on an exponential growth curve. Worldwide spending on AI systems is expected to surpass $35 billion in 2019, up 44% over 2018 according to IDC. In other words, intelligent automation is poised to mainstream faster than ever before.

Machine Learning Set to Explode

"Throughout... 2019," says Lohr, "you're going to see a lot of organizations transforming, fundamentally, their customer service organization, or their sales capabilities, in a very digital way with Alexa or Google, or what we're calling intelligent interactions.Beyond that, 2020 and 2021 will be the years of widespread adoption of technology predicated on machine learning.And you'll start to see machine learning finding its way into all parts of your business."

So, if AI plays a role in your organization, DPA is probably something you should be thinking about.

To find out if you're intelligent automation ready, take this quick survey

To get the most out of your AI investment, check out these free resources:

Neil Ward-Dutton BPM: Busting Barriers to Intelligent Automation (Part 1)

Neil Ward-Dutton BPM: Busting Barriers to Intelligent Automation (Part 2)

The Power of Intelligent Automation (Demo)

Not Just Another eBook on Intelligent Automation