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Overcoming the AI Silo: Taking a People-First Approach

In this special guest feature, Rohit Adlakha, VP & Global Head – Wipro HOLMESTM and Automation Ecosystem, Wipro Limited, discusses how the biggest roadblock to complete AI transformation is not the technology itself – but how teams work effectively together to implement across work streams. Aligning individuals and departments on AI strategies and goals can be a challenging hurdle, but is a key to ensure that a seamless vision is shared by employees and C-level executives, company wide. Rohit heads Wipro’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation charter. This encompasses three important levers – the Wipro HOLMESTM AI platform offerings across infrastructure, applications and business process services, 3rd party technology capabilities under the Automation Ecosystem approach, and the Automation Advisory practice. Since 1995, Rohit has held a number of prominent and strategic responsibilities across sales, delivery, P&L management and technology domain development that have helped shape and grow Wipro’s global services offerings. He has also incubated and scaled several businesses from their infancy, namely GIS Growth Markets, Wireless Applications and the Application Management Services business.

In the wake of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, artificial intelligence and automation are the new norm for today’s enterprise. What once was a competitive edge is now table stakes for business growth, efficiency and productivity. It is no longer enough to just implement AI; it is about ensuring that AI is effectively integrated across all business platforms.

While businesses often understand what automation can do for them, there is a lack of understanding in how to drive complete (and ultimately successful) implementation. So, what is limiting enterprises from reaching this tipping point – and what can businesses do to get ahead of the AI curve?

All too often, the biggest roadblock to complete AI transformation is not the technology itself – but how teams work effectively together to implement across work streams. Aligning individuals and departments on AI strategies and goals can be a challenging hurdle, but is a key to ensure that a seamless vision is shared by employees and C-level executives, company wide.

Here’s how:

1. Ensure Collaboration and Accountability Across the Board

The key to proper AI implementation is a comprehensive strategy defined by leadership; one that is understood and integrated across all departments. The innate challenge: business and technical leaders often speak different languages; for example, the CEO focuses largely on financial success whereas IT leaders prioritize the impact of new, emerging technologies.

AI accountability cannot fall solely on technology teams, as compartmentalizing responsibility can result in technologies being launched without compelling or cross-departmental use cases. To guarantee focus remains on the most valuable use cases, AI initiatives must transcend business silos and be co-led by leaders across all departments.

The most successful AI adopters cited having strong executive leadership support – coming not only from the CEO and IT executives, but from all c-level and board officers. Engaging the entire executive team from the beginning ensures consistent development and implementation of AI – eliminating potential pushback or confusion later in the process.

 2. Educate from The Bottom Up

The question is no longer whether AI is going to fundamentally change the workplace. According to a recent survey, 85 percent of executives believe that AI will be transformative for their companies, enabling them to enter a new business or competitive advantage. Now, the true question lies in how companies can successfully leverage AI in ways that joins, not replaces, the human workforce.

AI is not just about smart algorithms or machines: it impacts “people” the most – hence why a business-driven AI strategy must be people-focused across the entire organization. Automation will inevitably touch everyone; and some employees will be impacted before others. As such, transparency is essential from the bottom up, and companies must rethink how they manage human capital to ensure that no employee falls to the wayside.

By focusing on AI through the lens of human augmentation, not replacement, companies can begin retraining, upskilling and redeploying talent to create a more holistic workforce – freeing workers to focus on more complex activities and create efficiency gains resulting in significant cost savings across all touch points. The result: a hybrid workforce where humans and robots join to achieve superior results compared to what either group could accomplish alone.

3. Treat AI Implementation as a Journey, not a One-Time Implementation

AI is more than a platform, it is an evolution — and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. As such, it is vital to treat AI as a journey, tailored specifically to a company’s unique needs and digital goals.

Different businesses, based on maturity and readiness, require different starting points and different capabilities. Identification of the right use cases is critical in ensuring for a seamless integration of AI. The focus must move away from what technologies are being offered and instead focus on how these technologies are impacting a company’s specific use-cases and enhancing their outcomes.

Existing strategies tend to be overly prescriptive – and visions that are too broad lack tangible application. Starting from the ground up is key to harnessing a viable strategy that will evolve over time with the needs of each organization.

While AI implementation is occurring at a rapid pace, many organizations are struggling to integrate AI into employee processes and decisions. Reaping a competitive advantage via AI depends on a people-first approach – one that educates and engages employees, executive leaders, and business silos alike.

 

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Comments

  1. Good article Rohit. Please see the link below on a similar thoughts that me and my friend Nagesh had penned.

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/automaton-undone-sreedhar-n-kelly

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