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AI and machine learning seen as key tools in digital transformation

A growing number of organizations are embracing artificial intelligence and machine learning as critical elements in their digital transformation efforts, but the ones that are most successful are also investing in retraining workers to thrive in this new environment.

That is the finding of a new study on “Human Amplification in the Enterprise” from Infosys, which surveyed more than 1,000 business leaders on digital transformation at their organizations and the role of AI and automation.

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Green LED lights and rows of fibre optic cables are seen feeding into a computer server inside a comms room at an office in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014. Vodafone Group Plc will ask telecommunications regulator Ofcom to guarantee that U.K. wireless carriers, which rely on BT's fiber network to transmit voice and data traffic across the country, are treated fairly when BT sets prices and connects their broadcasting towers. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

According to the study, a large majority (86 percent) of organizations say AI-supported activities play some role in their digital transformation. Of those, almost all (98 percent) say the use of artificial intelligence is paying off with additional revenue for their organization.

One area of artificial intelligence that is getting a lot of attention is that of automation, but that topic can instill fear into many workers.

“What the study unveiled is that pervasive automation, targeting efficiency and productivity outcomes, is a big driver of transformation,” according to the study. “With problem-solving being dealt with by intelligent automation, in increasing measure, the people-force in these enterprises focuses more on identifying problems and innovating with ideas around how to provide solutions. However, this is pronounced only in those enterprises that base their automation innovation efforts in a culture that rewards and values education and learning as a continuous process.”

The topic of automation can be a sensitive one in IT, as a number of studies point to the potential loss of jobs as more mundane and routine tasks in IT are automated. But this study stresses the importance of re-training and re-educating the workforce in an organization that embraces automation, to give workers new tools to thrive in this environment.

“If an enterprise’s digital transformation is to indeed become an accelerator of business, it needs to be an amplifier of its people,” the study says. “That’s why, we must work to give everyone access to fundamental knowledge and skills in problem-finding relevant in these times. We must remove the elitism around advanced technology and enable all employees – both senior and junior – to build with digital tools, so they might play a meaningful part in a future that promises to be increasingly digital.”

This learning must continue throughout the lives of workers, the study continues: “well beyond the traditional classroom — furthered at workplaces by enterprises and employers who invest in continuous reskilling and right-skilling to create and nurture the legions of creators, who can work alongside machines, to move the enterprise forward.”

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