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Digitizing Operations and Automating Processes artwork

Digitizing Operations and Automating Processes

Machines will increasingly operate the majority of business processes, making almost all day-to-day business decisions and executing an increasing share of actions. Humans and machines will collaborate to design the business, working together to set overall business strategy and to enhance the key individual processes.

Machines can do what humans do: sense (with cheap data sensors), remember (with cloud and data lakes), make decisions (with AI and advanced analytics), provide inputs on-site (with mobile), and take action (utilizing robots and autonomous vehicles). Increasingly, all of this can be accomplished at a reasonable cost. Once developed, machine and AI-automated or augmented processes will outperform humans because they will be cheaper and more robust. Most important, the learning from these processes will be captured more systematically and effectively than is possible with human-only operations. The speed of learning will give organizations that adopt these processes a real competitive advantage.

As machine and AI processes take over company’s operations, the role of humans will change. Many new jobs will be created for people to design augmented/automated processes and continuously improve them. Over time, we expect to see a shift from processes operated by humans to processes designed and audited by humans. But for AI or advanced analytics to work well, they need a set of data on which to “train.”

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Centralizing Digital Processes

To fully capture the benefits of AI and learning, and to make the economics of investing in technology work, companies will be pushed to adopt common, end-to-end processes around the world, supported by common technology platforms. The governance structures of these global processes and platforms will necessitate a more central and global structure as well.

It is inefficient (and often not economically possible) to continuously upgrade and improve massive numbers of small-scale systems. On the other hand, centralized processes can be improved, or monitored, or operated from anywhere in the world—offering the benefit of low-cost or superior talent regardless of where an operation is occurring.

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