- Media: TechTarget
- Spokesperson: Kiran Marri
AI adoption is changing digital transformation as enterprises deploy the technology to improve customer experience, boost developer productivity and look for a competitive edge.
Get ready for the transformation of transformation.
Digital transformation, a centerpiece of business makeovers for more than a decade, is itself transforming amid the rise of AI. AI is poised to dramatically change digital transformation, from the goals enterprises set out to achieve to the tools practitioners use to advance initiatives.
The scope of activity encompasses traditional AI technologies, such as machine learning, and the rapidly growing field of generative AI. The latter technology is quickly becoming prominent across enterprise IT projects and corporate functions, with customer service, software development and life sciences among the leading areas.
There seems to be little doubt among IT managers and consultants that AI will become pivotal to most, if not all, digital transformation initiatives. It’s only a matter of how quickly digital transformation and AI will completely converge.
How AI is changing digital transformation
AvidXchange, a financial technology company in Charlotte, N.C.
Organizations increasingly deploy AI to gain a competitive advantage, she said. That means digital transformation must follow AI’s lead.
“It has become a pivotal force,” Gibson noted.
The arrival of AI also highlights more differences between successful, digitally transformed businesses and those trailing behind.
“AI is increasing the distance between digital transformation leaders and laggards,” said Ricardo Madan, senior vice president of global technology services at TEKsystems, a business and technology solutions provider based in Hanover, Md.
Digital leaders are moving faster with generative AI than they did with previous digital transformation efforts, Madan noted. He compared today’s quick uptake of generative AI with the early days of cloud lift-and-shift projects. In that era, cloud service providers had to offer credits and incentives to entice customers to move workloads, he pointed out.
Some TEKsystems customers, however, remain unsure of how generative AI will affect their employees and internal ways of working, Madan noted.
“Laggards are frightened, skeptical, and opting to play the wait-and-see game,” he said. “Yet given the rate of adoption and the impact AI is expected to have, this will widen the gap even further, putting the laggards at competitive risk.”
But among digital leaders, “AI is certainly top of mind within transformation programs and strategies,” he added.
What is AI’s role in digital transformation?
AI plays multiple roles in digital transformation. For one, organizations use the technology to improve business processes and boost productivity.
AI meets multiple requirements based on its ability to collect and analyze vast amounts of data, Gibson said. This big data capacity “has created a new era of data-driven decision-making, enabling organizations to optimize processes, enhance customer experiences and drive efficiency.”
Customer support ranks among the top business processes experiencing AI transformation. Movate, based in Plano, Texas, is a digital technology and customer experience (CX) services provider. About 60% of the company’s business operations revolve around CX and technical support services. Kiran Marri, chief scientist at Movate, said customers access the company’s support center through digital channels such as web or chat.
In this context, AI has enabled Movate to implement self-service options and guided responses, which enhance CX, according to Kiran Marri, chief scientist at Movate.
“This paradigm shift towards AI-driven solutions not only improves customer satisfaction but also represents a shift-left approach for our clients, resulting in cost optimization,” Marri said.
The shift-left method, which moves customer support activities closer to users, provides faster responses and reduces a customer’s reliance on higher-cost support tiers.
AI’s role in CX is influencing enterprise product and technology strategy. John Cannava, CIO at Ping Identity, said the company had been using the traditional approach for customer care: knowledge-centered support. This approach relies on compiling knowledge base articles that connect to known cases of customer issues.
But with generative AI, “there’s a much better way to do it,” Cannava said. “You’ve got the power of large language models [LLMs] that can sit between your customer and your support agent to build better answers for your customers going forward. If you continue with the old ways of doing things, you are going to miss the boat.”
Boosting developer productivity
Organizations are also adopting generative AI in the form of software coding assistants. “Developer productivity is probably the lowest hanging fruit in terms of adoption of LLMs,” Cannava said.
Ping Identity uses a coding assistant tool from its data management platform vendor, Databricks. “Our data engineers can use natural language to create baseline SQL queries,” Cannava said. “The productivity gains from that are significant.”
The tool also lets employees with lower levels of experience move from report writing and simple query writing to more complex data management tasks.
Addressing industry challenges
AI is also finding industry-specific roles in fields such as life sciences. In one example, Fujitsu Ltd. and the RIKEN Center for Computational Science have collaborated on a drug discovery application that uses generative AI to analyze electron microscopy images. The codeveloped technologies can predict structural changes of proteins, which the companies believe will lead to a next-generation life sciences platform that significantly shrinks the time and cost of drug discovery.