Just a recap, we learnt in my last update, the different aspects of what constitutes a business model that an organization should follow and how that impacts your overall foray into AI/ML implementation. In this excerpt we are going dwell upon the different ways to harness the new age machine through Automation and Instrumentation
As I have pointed out repeatedly in the previous parts of this blog series on AI/ML, industry is riding on the cusp of a huge new wave of automated work that is going to fundamentally change what millions and millions of people all around the world do, Monday through Friday, 8 hour work day. The attempt at automation of existing parts of your business with the new machine provides an opportunity to change the cost structure of your firm, while at the same time increasing the velocity and quality of your operations. We need to understand what automation actually is, which part of your business are best suited to be automated, which jobs will be most impacted, the benefits you can expect and the problems to avoid.
Automation is the first step in the journey that exhibits the tendency for industrial change to continuously destroy old economic structures and replace them with new ones. This will result in both revenue increase for the industry but more importantly a cost savings overall. Some study on the internet shows the below numbers to back up the generic idea in the different industries where Automation is more prevalent in.
This trend of applying automation technology to lower cost and improve productivity is playing out in nearly every industry. Like it or not, your competitor across the street will soon gain the massive benefit of digital automation of core processes. If you don’t keep pace, your cost structure will soon be unsustainable. Additionally, the saving generated through automation are what will then pay for the coming digital innovations. Fortunately most of us have a running start. We have been consuming automation for a long time, and much as with AI, once used it’s not even noticed. Let us consider some examples for such automations that we come across and still they go unnoticed while we are travelling out of station
- Automated toll collections through EZ Passes on the highway while we pass through the toll booth without stopping
- Parking pass generation while you arrive at the airport parking
- Receipt of the boarding pass and you check-in baggage at one of airport kiosks
- Getting cash from ATM while walking down to your departure gate
From your house to the airport gate, your trip was at least a half hour faster than in pre-automation days if not lesser. In any organization therefore, such automation are targeted best in the core operations areas, not visible to your customers. What if you could run these functions or processes at half the cost and with double the throughput? With continuous improvements and quality control and with all these aspects – every transaction – full instrumented and recorded? With the new machine you can.
Finding your Process/Automation Targets for immediate automation is the low hanging fruit you should embark upon.
- Highly repetitive tasks
- Tasks with low level of human judgement
- Tasks requiring low level of empathy
- Tasks generating and handling high volumes of data
Identification of your automation target will give your teams a clear path to success, but there still remain a significant hurdle in managing change with your organization. You will need to adapt the path depending on the complexity of what you are doing; what follows is a high level walk through, but the seven steps put together below for automating any process or task are basically the same.
I therefore have shown you above that automation is our new loom, our new steam engine. The cost savings generated from these next levels of automation will provide the cash needed to fuel investments in the new markets and new ideas. The data degenerated by automation is at the heart of creating new products, better customer relationships, and more transparency. Leaders who create the ongoing momentum from using automation – every quarter looking for new automation opportunities using the criteria and guidelines I have presented – will ensure they have the fuel needed to win. Also please do realize and remember that automation is not an end in its own right, it is simply a means to an end.
We are slowly moving into the instrumentation zone, where once an automation is instrumented and tracked, an invisible framework of code emerges around the object and this often provides more insight and value than the actual physical item itself. For instance the Amazon and Netflixs know your tastes in literature and movies better than your family and friends do without even coming in touch with you as a consumer. The race is to win through instrumentation, and established companies are changing the rules of competition across many industries.
There are now three key rules of competition when it comes to Instrumentation
Why instrument everything and build solutions around information? Because doing so sets you on the path to being a “Know-It-All” business. With sensors and instrumentation, it’s now possible to collect and analyze information about everything. To know everything about everything
While instrumentation and collection of data from each and every portion of physical thing on your enterprise does pose the vast opportunity to review, analyze and take business decisions, it also exposes the analyzed and sensitive data to hackers. This is where organizations have to be careful so as to keep their internal, important, competition eluding data secured and not misused in the wrong fashion. Some of key hacking horror stories are below and would give you a fair bit of idea why we need to be careful.
Competing with instrumentation is now becoming the default model for our modern economy. Instrumenting everything, accessing data scientists and other big data/analytics talent, and avoiding the dark side of the instrumentation are all tactics you must adopt to get started. Fortunes will be won and lost depending on your organizations ability to leverage the upsides of the instrumentation and mitigate its downsides.
Stay tuned…. Part V of this foray, we will continue to dwell upon the different ways to harness the new age machine through the enhancement to human experience, Market competitiveness and by and large the innovation quotient that we need to invest upon.