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Opinion: The power of AI in enhancing current roles, not replacing them

The future of business has arrived, and it is here to stay. AI is taking the corporate sector by storm, with the latest research from FIS Global revealing two-thirds of businesses globally that have already implemented AI plan to increase their spend in such technologies in the next 12 months.

When it comes to AI it is easy to get wrapped up in the hype and buzz words. However, it is important for businesses to understand both the challenges and opportunities of this burgeoning technology and how it can best be leveraged to unlock your business’ full potential. 

There has been significant discussion on the opportunities for AI in business, leading many to question whether robots are coming for our jobs. AI models, like popular large language model (LLM) ChatGPT, have a high proficiency in predicting the next word. However, from this capability in transformer architecture, a variety of generative and automation use cases have emerged. In addition to novel creative tasks in drafting content in the style of literary and contemporary masters, examples include measurement and reporting, administrative functions, and business or client research. It can be transformational, improving business operations, accelerating performance, and delivering strong return on investment. However, AI should be seen as a tool not a replacement for the human touch.

The responsible way to use AI is as an extension of existing abilities, to alleviate resource and capacity pressures, and free leaders and employees to focus on value-add, strategic activities. Strong data analytics capabilities can help businesses identify where AI can maximise benefits, deliver meaningful outcomes, and drive change. For example, one way businesses are enhancing customer experiences and service through AI is implementing tools that notify companies when customers are dissatisfied, enabling them to address and rectify this with an automated system that sends rewards to those customers to maintain their loyalty. While  AI may not  possess the emotional intelligence to understand why a customer may be dissatisfied or the nuances of the existing relationship, it is now able to understand context and sentiment from key word sequences and cues through a process called encoding. A personal touch is still critical to truly unlock the power of AI for business.

To empower businesses and employees to embrace AI with confidence, we need to support them with training, strong corporate governance, and smart, safe, and secure digital tools. The risks and challenges facing AI adoption mirror the governance considerations that the data industry has been addressing for decades. 

Here are three key data governance learnings that we can apply to AI to help businesses unlock its full potential. 

Sharpen literacy skills. Just as data governance emphasises the importance of data literacy, AI governance should prioritise AI literacy. It is essential to educate stakeholders, decision-makers and employees about the fundamental concepts, benefits, limitations, and potential risks associated with AI technologies. At Domo, we foster AI literacy internally through regular training sessions, hackathons, and a newsletter to ensure our employees are equipped with the knowledge and skills to use AI effectively. The Domo platform is also designed to enable data literacy from the start—as it creates a seamless process throughout the data and AI model journey. 

Foster a safety culture. As with data, to maximise the benefits of AI, businesses need to create a safe environment to use these tools. By establishing guidelines, policies, and safeguards, businesses can create an environment where AI tools can be used safely. For Domo, and many of our customers, we use AI tools that don’t contribute to the public LLMs and allow for monitoring of use. Proprietary data can remain within secure partitioned environments and in data warehouses of choice with little to no data movement. 

Embrace the change. Fear often stifles innovation, leading to missed opportunities. Employees are curious about the potential of AI to help them at work, and this should be encouraged. When employees have a need to perform analytics on their data, they will find ways to accomplish it, often leveraging tools like Excel. The same principle applies to AI technologies—if users see the value in using AI to enhance their processes, they will seek out ways to incorporate it into their workflows. Rather than disabling access to ChatGPT on the work network, instead promote monitored tools powered by a trusted provider and educate your users on why they should use these tools instead. At Domo, we employ the Domo ChatGPT Brick to keep our employees safe and secure, yet empowered to explore new ways of working. 

It is essential to strike a balance between using the power of AI for innovation and maintaining control, security, and ethical considerations. As AI continues to shape our world, it is crucial to approach its governance with a forward-thinking mindset, fostering a culture of responsible innovation and empowering employees to harness the benefits of AI while addressing potential risks. 

AI can revolutionise our ways of working, resulting in better outcomes for our business, employees, and clients. Coupling AI adoption with human insight, data-driven decision making, and secure digital tools and frameworks are some of the ways businesses can maximise AI impact. With proper AI governance in place, executed with a personal touch, we can unlock the full potential of AI for business. 

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