By Mark Bannerman, Business Unit Executive at EOH Infor Services (formerly Softworx) Infor’s Master Partner in Africa, operating as a Gold Partner

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to evolve, shape and grow, we come to the realisation that we’ve only just reached the tip of the innovation iceberg. When we consider what true, fully developed AI might look like, Forbes Magazine defines it as follows: “True AI can improve on past iterations, getting smarter and more aware, allowing it to enhance its capabilities and its knowledge.”

Taking advantage of these developments requires an understanding of the areas to watch. If you don’t want to miss the AI ship, it is essential that your organisation is empowered to identify opportunities timeously, and act swiftly.


Experts Agree: Areas of Significant Potential


 1. Big data, AI, data visualisation and voice control

  • AI has the potential to take the use of big data into the stratosphere. How? By combining processing capacity with cognitive learning capabilities, AI will be able to identify patterns in data that would be difficult or impossible for humans to see independently
  • When we can access that information via voice control or with easy to understand and manipulate data visualisations, its value grows exponentially
  • AI systems will also eventually be able to make decisions on their own based on the analysis of big data

2.  Asset management

 The Internet of Things is already having massive positive impact on asset management. How?

  • Information from sensors that monitor everything from oil pressure to humidity is being integrated with systems designed to optimise equipment usage
  • This allows companies to prevent problems and increase the return on their investments
  • Other data input sources (like reports from inspection drones) are making information even more accessible and reducing the need for human intervention
  • With cognitive AI we have the potential to largely eliminate humans from a previously time-consuming and highly manual process
  • AI could deliver equipment that is virtually “self-maintaining”

3. Productivity  

While this opportunity might not be as flashy as the others, it may actually have the greatest impact. How?

  • Machines can be used to automate routine tasks
  • Humans can spend more time on work that matters


How Can You Prepare?


1. Get cloud ready

Cloud deployment is a critical component of AI – it’s the first step – and is essential for companies to be able to take advantage emerging technologies like AI.

2. Be open to ideas

Develop a healthy degree of curiosity, even while exercising caution. This way you’ll be in a position to evaluate the options, rather than shutting down an idea that could have major benefits for your business.

3. Bet on the right vendor

Customer’s must judge a potential partner’s commitment to innovation, their willingness to collaborate with customers on new ideas, and their overall vision for the future. Working with companies that have both the commitment and backing to bring AI to life is a smart long-term choice.


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