Artificial intelligence is the present and future of digital transformation. But what is it, and how does it make digital transformation more effective? Let’s find out more.
Artificial intelligence and digital transformation are so interconnected they are often used synonymously. However, rather than being the same, AI is the power behind digital transformation.
In this article, we’ll look at how you define AI’s role in digital transformation. We’ll also look at how the future success of digital transformation depends on the progress of AI.
What is AI in a digital transformation context?
The type of AI typically employed in digital transformation is artificial narrow intelligence. Rather than machines learning to think for themselves as we do, artificial narrow intelligence relates to complex algorithms that help machines perform predefined tasks more effectively. Outside the parameters of the task, these algorithms do not develop thoughts of their own.
AI vs automation
The terms AI and automation are often used interchangeably in a digital transformation context, but they are not the same.
Automation covers systems designed to perform repetitive tasks faster, working to previously defined rules. However, AI takes what automation does and turbocharges it. AI can:
- Evolve and learn based on previous experiences
- Analyse and identify patterns in data
- React to changes in its working environment
Because of these attributes, you can apply AI to improve more complex, non-repetitive tasks. This is what makes it applicable to digital transformation.
AI’s role in digital transformation - dealing with data
AI is tailor-made to power digital transformation because of how it handles data. AI helps companies process vast amounts of complex data; numbers that no human being would be able to work with in a feasible timescale. What’s more, it does it so quickly that companies can react to it almost immediately, using the results to boost productivity, innovation and impact.
The other indispensable feature of AI is that the more you work with it, the better it gets. It’s no surprise that a 2021 PwC study found that 33% of respondents had already begun to use AI in limited use cases, while 25% had fully-enabled AI-powered initiatives in widespread operation.
For example, a large number of engineers currently use 3D CAD solutions such as Creo as part of their design and product development process. Rather than have to design every new iteration from scratch using system design requirements, AI-powered generative design features automate the process, generating the best possible design with the engineer barely having to lift a finger.
Looking to the future
We are already seeing the impact of AI in digital transformation. Going back to our generative design example, AI can also help engineers understand alternatives to their ideas which, if incorporated into the design, could use fewer materials or reduce manufacturing costs.
As we look to the future, expect to see AI-augmented digital transformation programmes become the norm. AI has the potential to boost results in design, enterprise strategy and just about everywhere else in the product development process. It helps achieve the things that the C-suite is interested in - lower costs, shorter time to production, and better products.
Don’t look at AI as a way of replacing your people, and don’t fear that the robots are coming for your job. Rather, AI is about making everyone work more effectively, so you can succeed now and in the future.
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