Providing AI in work we already take for granted in our lives

And that requires a complete enterprise-level transformation, writes EYit is Paul Pierotti

This year’s summer vacation provided me with a stark realization of how integral AI has become to everyday life.

I spent two blissful weeks driving around southern Italy with my family. It was a very pleasant trip and provided a welcome rest. I can’t help but think about the difference between the experience of driving abroad today and before.

10 years ago our holiday started in a car full of little people unable to follow the printed route map from the airport to our Eurocamp site. It was always the most stressful start to our vacation. Now we connect Google Maps to the car and travel hassle-free; the only arguments now are with our teenagers over what songs to play on the trip.

This is just one of dozens of examples of how AI is playing a vital role in our daily lives, and for the most part, without us even realizing it.

Alexa personalizes the morning news, Spotify suggests songs to listen to with its Discover Weekly soundtrack, Netflix recommends what to watch, Fitbit encourages the morning walk, and Ring notifies you when someone’s approaching the door.

We use AI in our lives with little thought but high expectations. However, the same change has not been as significant in the workplace, with many business processes remaining clunky. There are also sectors with incredibly innovative AI applications, such as for cancer diagnosis and to support preventative health. However, these solutions are usually isolated and unconnected.

It is worth reflecting on why this disparity has arisen.

Transformation should be at the heart of enterprise AI

The best digital solutions combine automation, analytics, and AI in an innovative journey built around a deep understanding of user needs. For example, Google Maps connects directly from Airbnb to confirm the location of our next vacation spot. It also helps identify fun things to stop on the route to ensure we get to the next property at the correct check-in time.

These digital services have evolved based on detailed research to fully understand current and future customer requirements. They are also essential because they compete in experience. Simply, if you don’t delight the customer, someone else will. This experience is also underpinned by a wide range of data services to ensure a more personalized and responsive service.

While acknowledging many successes, the business process experience has often led to improvements rather than being truly transformational.

Common pitfalls include:

  • Using cases that are too focused on a single improvement and not reinventing the whole experience
  • The solution uses a single technique resulting in:
    • Automation removing some onerous activities
    • Analytics offering a more targeted list but in the same business process
    • AI sat idle after proving a narrow pilot.

The last point is particularly common and may reflect Christine Connolly’s quote of having “more pilots than British Airways” when he was CIO of the UK Department of Health. It’s incredibly frustrating to finish a successful pilot only to watch your masterpiece sit on a shelf and gather dust.

Part of the solution is to ensure executive buy-in when selecting pilots. For example, during a previous innovation program, we asked our steering group to approve the implementation of each pilot project provided that it met the agreed Go / No Go criteria.

The summer holidays allowed Paul Pierotti to realize: how much AI has become an integral part of everyday life.

A collaborative AI business framework

It doesn’t need to be like that. Additionally, the digital solutions we use in our lives provide both a solid understanding of what is possible and a clear path to success. Now is the time to apply that same approach to reinventing your enterprise experiences.

This is one of the reasons EY is integrating the use of AI into tax and audit. This helps pivot the way these services are delivered to customers while freeing up approximately two million human hours and improving accuracy.

In Ireland we are also investing to expand our wave space capability with an AI lab. The Wave-Space AI Lab will provide a foundation in Dublin and Cork for clients to reinvent their business processes based on a fundamental understanding of user needs.

It will also connect with our alliance partners, such as Microsoft and SAP, and the vibrant Irish AI start-up community to help ensure the most efficient and scalable solution today. We will also get input from ADAPT, the Irish AI collaboration involving eight universities, to make sure we also plan for what is possible tomorrow.

AI has brought so many benefits to our personal lives. Either way, we are unreasonable consumers who keep demanding more; better experiences, personalized trips, and content curated just for me. We all know and experience the value of AI.

Now is the time to take these unreasonable expectations and demand them from new and transformed business and enterprise services. This will help companies provide a new work experience comparable to what we already take for granted in our lives.

  • Paul Pierotti is an EY Ireland partner covering data analytics and emerging technology

Comments are closed.