How AI can fuel greater innovation in the enterprise

A new study by Microsoft and IDC shows that by 2021, AI will more than double the rate of innovation at organizations and employee productivity in India

How AI can fuel greater innovation in the enterprise - CIO&Leader

In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) has become a hot topic of discussion in the enterprise. With a flurry of AI advances, investments and new announcements that have taken the digital world by storm, businesses are betting big on AI innovation to better serve their customer, improve RoI and beat market competition. A new study by Microsoft and IDC Asia/Pacific,  shows that by 2021, AI will more than double the rate of innovation at organizations and employee productivity in India. It is therefore imperative that CIOs and other leaders in the organizations begin to prepare for its impact now, so they do not fall behind.

The study, ‘Future Ready Business: Assessing Asia Pacific’s Growth Potential Through AI’, conducted through a survey with 1,500 CIOs and business decision makers in mid and large-sized organizations across 15 economies in the region, highlights that those companies that have adopted AI expect it to increase their competitiveness by 2.3 times in 2021.

AI innovation success

Going by AI innovation use cases across enterprise, Microsoft highlights the case of ICICI Lombard, a private sector general insurance company in India that deployed AI to process vehicle insurance claims and renew policies more efficiently.

“We recognized the potential of AI in providing high quality car damage evaluation services. With data being generated at an exponential level, this technology will help us derive insights to inspect and process claims with utmost efficiency. Using Microsoft’s AI expertise is helping us bring about this transformation, allowing us to meet customer demands quicker without compromising on service excellence,” informs Girish Nayak, Chief - Service, Operations & Technology, ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co.

According to Nayak, until recently, the sector relied on traditional ways to renew lapsed policies or address claims. Both services require inspectors to physically look over vehicles and make damage assessments. But with more than 230 million vehicles and 1200 auto accidents every day across the country, getting those inspections done and receiving approvals is time intensive, creating issues for both parties.

With the help of the AI-enabled app, in case of lapsed policy instead of a physical inspection, customers can simply take images of their vehicle and upload them with Insure. The app then uses AI and machine learning to divide the images into frames and identify the various parts of the car to look for damage. In most cases the AI module can make a judgment very quickly, reducing the time from days to just minutes.

“This has made life simpler for customers as they can file claims conveniently and receives estimates or approvals much faster than before. Further, automating the process reduces the possibility of inaccurate assessments due to human error as well as increased efficiency and productivity improves the bottom line. From the perspective of AI augmenting human capability, the role of the human insurance inspectors is changing as well, since AI is quickly handing the routine claims, allowing the company to attend to more complex claims where human intervention is required,” he says.

Another example is Apollo Hospitals which is using big data, machine learning and AI areas of prediction, prevention and treatment. Apollo Hospitals’ AI model helps gauge a patient’s risk for heart disease and provides rich insights to doctors on treatment plans and early diagnosis. This was visible especially in the cardio vascular department, where nearly 3 million heart attacks happen in India every year and 30 million Indians suffer from coronary diseases.

Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals, says, “With AI deployment, now, when a patient goes for a cardio health check the doctor can do two things previously left to intuition. Firstly, they can build up a more accurate cardio-vascular health profile of the patient based on machine learning of all their previous patient data. Secondly, the doctor can make a patient health plan that addresses these possibilities whether it be prescribing medicine or recommending specific lifestyle changes.”

Culture and skillsets essential

Despite some of the success stories, there are a number of challenges for companies to unlock the full potential of AI. Dr. Rohini Srivathsa, National Technology Officer, Microsoft India, States that in order to fully embrace tech intensity, organizations will also need to invest in their human capital.

“The rise of AI means that there is a necessity for workers to reskill and upskill to remain relevant and play a part in the workforce of tomorrow. In addition, CIOs and business leaders will need to drive cultural transformation within their organizations that values experimentation, agility, proactiveness and a growth mindset,” she says.

The study clearly shows that while 85% of businesses are willing to invest in skilling and reskilling of workers to create an AI-ready workforce, 65% of them have yet to implement plans to train their workers. Technology leaders must influence on the urgency to invest in workers’ training, as AI cannot progress without skilled individuals.

The study evaluated six dimensions critical to ensuring the success of a nation’s AI journey. According to the findings, India needs to build upon its investment, data, and strategy in order to accelerate its AI journey. The study also underlines the need for cultural changes and skilling and reskilling workforces to make AI work for the country.

“To succeed in the AI race, India needs to substantially improve its readiness. Leaders should make AI a core part of their strategy and develop a learning agility culture. Investment in this transformative technology has to be continuous for the long-term success. There is an urgent need for talents and tools to develop, deploy and monitor AI models, along with the availability of a robust data estate with the adequate governance,” according to Ranganath Sadasiva, Director - Enterprise, IDC.

Building an AI-ready workforce does not necessarily mean an acute need for technological skills alone, notes Srivathsa. “Business leaders will need to drive cultural transformation within their organizations that values experimentation, agility, proactiveness and a growth mindset,” she states.

In view of this, a recent Forbes article mentions that while AI is an important opportunity for many businesses, before its integration, business leaders must fully understand AI and the specific subset they wish to use.

Therefore, instead of leaving it to the CIOs or CTOs alone, a CEO must stay informed of AI and the areas of new product development. “Businesses may never meet AI’s full capability if it’s implemented incorrectly, and probably lose out to competitors who have been focusing on the understanding of the technology. And this does require a strong, collaborative approach,” the report says.

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