PETALING JAYA: The ability of artificial intelligence (AI) to process a huge amount of data makes it an important enabler in ultimately helping humans drive better outcomes.
“We see customers struggling with this,” said US-based software firm ServiceNow’s IT Transformation Solution Lead for Asia, Daniel Ng at the August CxO Virtual Dialogue.
“When customers see AI as a technology instead of an enabler, they will typically ask: ‘Have you incorporated AI into this process and that process?’ when they should be asking what are the problems that AI is being deployed on to solve.”
The CxO Virtual Dialogue, sponsored by The Star and ServiceNow, addressed the subject of “Enhancing IT Services and Operations with the Power of AI”.
It featured insights from Ng and Forrester’s principal analyst Achim Granzen, who said that workers should be given more time to do greater value-added work, something that AI can help drive.
“Once you get the most tedious things out of the way, you will actually have more time for the team to do something that can add value rather than just being process-focused,” Granzen said.
Ng said that a constant challenge among organisations is creating bandwidth that allows teams to scale and meet the business requirements.
An IT team, for example, may be equipped with all the required knowledge but due to the pace of how fast technology is moving today, they can still struggle to scale.
“This is where AI comes in, enabling an IT team to quickly enhance their knowledge and drive greater solutions by having all the complex and ample data analysis ready on tap, so they can start problem solving immediately,” he added.
During the discussion, a telecommunications company executive stated that when looking at big digitisation, automation and AI, one must be underpinned by three things – business strategy, technology literacy of the top management and the need for an open data access.
“The only way to deliver value to the customer is if the business understands how the technology translates to value,” said the executive.
“ServiceNow as a platform has always had an open data access capability. Data can be accessed via open APIs documented within ServiceNow documentation and the Common Services Data Model (CSDM),” Ng said.
“ServiceNow CSDM is a critical framework for customers and partners to leverage the full benefit of ServiceNow products on the Now Platform. Think of CSDM as the blueprint to map and transform your IT services.”
When addressing the challenges of new technology adoption and implementation, a senior executive with a financial institution shared that a lot of failures have been observed.
The executive continued that the infrastructure and people are often not prepared for the outcome when embarking on large-scale change projects.
Granzen responded to this point, saying: “It’s really important to balance investments made in technology with investments in education, cultural shifts and skill-building. This is something that we sometimes overlook. Both sides are equally important.”
“With digital transformation, there’s a need to know your data and a need to understand your processes,” an executive with a tobacco company noted. “Or as the adage goes, it’s okay to outsource technology but you shouldn’t outsource knowledge.”
“That’s what we are there for – to simplify what the business can do, to get the right outcome and value with digital transformation,” he added.
On whether AI would be able to eventually generate predictive outcomes on its own, Ng said there are already a number of instances of this happening in the industry at the moment.
He said a Fortune 500 consumer goods and services company is able to predict issues in the Azure cloud to reduce user interruptions. This is achieved by leveraging AI to ingest the various logs and metrics.
“The AI learns what is normal and abnormal behaviour and is thus able to suppress 99% of alerts and better predict incidents before it became an outage.
“From this standpoint, we are able to provide a predictive outcome capability without the need for the IT personnel to manually monitor and creating manual baselines.
“Usually 80% of potential outages could be detected via this approach. The AI system is effectively able to give a potential outage heads-up to the team,” Ng said.
ServiceNow is a US-based software company that is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.