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AI and automation aren’t quick wins — Invest anyway

Automation, AI, and robotics have risen to the top of the CIO agenda, but the road to realizing business value with these technologies is long and winding. Organizations that succeed with these technologies make numerous investments in prerequisites, which Forrester encapsulates in a model called RQ, the robotics quotient.

We’ve just released a new report to help CIOs navigate through the challenges. In “Automation, AI, And Robotics Aren’t Quick Wins,” we find several common situations that enterprises find themselves in today:

Over-investing in moonshots, leading to failure

Particularly with AI, some organizations have set their sites on grand ambitions but underestimated the length of time, monetary commitments, and patience required to realize them. If a healthcare organization sets out to “cure cancer,” they would need to plan for a vast time horizon to even gain initial results, for example.

Focusing on narrow, well-specified problems, heightening chances of success

While AI and automation aren’t quick wins, companies that attack focused problems can drive business results today. This means tackling a discrete workflow; for example, applying AI to improve the accuracy of medical imaging rather than trying to “cure cancer.”

Addressing real-time, insights-driven, customer-obsessed actions, with a chance for success

The balance between these two approaches is to attack problems that are solvable but ambitious, providing real-time, insights-driven, and customer-obsessed actions. Real-time insights and actions are well suited to automation: Intelligent machines can aggregate and analyze data at speeds humans could never approach, allowing CIOs and business partners to radically compress time frames in operations and customer engagement alike.

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Humanoid robots named Pepper, developed by SoftBank Group Corp., dance during the Pepper World 2016 event in Tokyo, Japan. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

To prepare their organizations for the long-term challenges and opportunities, CIOs must recalibrate their priorities and invest in fundamentals. For example, only about one in five CIOs say that “increasing top-line revenue” should be a driver of their adoption of automation technologies, but generating true value in this space requires far more than cost-cutting. And investing in RQ fundamentals — from training employees to creating new organizational structures to budgeting — can help any company be more successful driving business results with automation and AI.

We invite you to read the entire report here: “Automation, AI, And Robotics Aren’t Quick Wins

(This post originally appeared on the Forrester Research blog, which can be viewed here).

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