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Where is the Value in AI?
By Mansoor Karatela, CIO, Brisbane Airport Corporation
Having a clear view of the relevant business issues will guide leaders in separating hype from reality, setting realistic goals and proving that AI is able to deliver value for the organization. At a holistic level, the value is typically either greater customer intimacy, increasing competitive advantage, improving efficiency or a combination thereof. At a more granular and practical level, it will likely come down to specific ‘use cases’, where key performance metrics and underlying issues can be easily identified, corrected and then measured to determine success. Exploring and agreeing on a specific use case in itself can also be an issue for many organisations. This is not necessarily because business staff are unaware of these pain points but more because they are so busy and overwhelmed with their day to day workings that they become unable to see systemic opportunities for improvement. A good approach is to run a full day SCRUM session with key participants. The SCRUM sessions, when conducted properly, can help provide a focused and systematic way to not only get a detailed understanding of the gaps and pain points in any given business area or topic but also help prioritise which ones are likely to deliver the best benefit when AI is applied to resolving them. For example, in a typical SCRUM session, the first half day is focused on identifying the top prioritised set of problems and example use cases. The second half of the session then focuses on hypothetically applying various AI technology concepts and agreeing what level of AI depth is required, so as to pick the best combination of a business use case and the best AI approach on that specific use case. This is likely to give better return in terms of value for your AI efforts. In summary, AI can be used in one of six key ways: (1) dealing with complexities, (2) probabilistic predictions, (3) learning, (4) acting autonomously, (5) understand and (6) reflecting on a purpose. Organisations should be prepared to take some risks and be particular about which problem areas they should focus on and then be clear of which type of AI technologies and concepts will help. If you are prepared to challenge your initial assumptions, tackle this with an open mind and take some calculated risks then you may uncover huge benefits from AI leverage.