• The organisation of tomorrow will be built around data. This will require smart algorithms to make sense of all that data. AI will enable organisations to leverage data and embed smartness in every process and customer touchpoint. When you put smartness to work, it will empower your employees and customers and make your organisation more humane.

    When building the organisation of tomorrow, the first step is to datafy your organisation by collecting data at every process and customer touch point. The second step in the organisation of tomorrow is to distribute that data, either using centralised databases in the cloud or decentralised databases using distributed ledger technology. The third step is to analyse all that data and find patterns that will help to make sense of it. The final step in building the organisation of tomorrow is to automate it using artificial intelligence and smart contracts.

    The Algorithmic Organisation

    Automating your organisation using AI results in an algorithmic business. Within such organisation, algorithms define company processes, deliver customer services, act autonomously when necessary and as such define the way the world (or your company) works. Algorithms will become the intellect, the interoperability, the connection and the exchange between consumers, things, processes and information that define the value of your business. Thanks to machine learning and deep learning, algorithms will be able to understand user and/or device behaviour, learn from users and/or devices and perform the right action accordingly.

    Algorithms will optimise your supply-chain, they will drive our cars, they will monitor your robots, they will replace your call centre, they will determine the right marketing message, they will keep your company secure, and they will even become your boss. Algorithms will be able to do so because they can consider the entire context resulting in an intelligent enterprise.

    The Importance of Understanding the Context

    Context is vital to truly understand what is going on within a particular process, business, device or changing environment. With sufficient data sources, that each tells its side of the story, algorithms can better determine the right action based on a myriad of data points. This is why the datafication of your business is so important, as you need a large variety of data sources to become context aware.

    To understand the importance of context, let’s take the example of a self-driving car. A self-driving car that can navigate autonomously can be very useful, it can replace a human, and if it is good at detecting its environment, it can do so safely. However, when a self-driving car would be able to interact with its environment and derive meaning from that, it becomes a lot safer. If it knows that the cars in front of it are about to break, it can take pre-emptive actions. Or if it knows that the traffic light will be red when it arrives, it can take action accordingly. Sure, it could ‘see’ this information using its sensors, but if it is connected to the other cars around it, it can communicate with them. They can then collectively define the best action for all users on the road, instead of for just itself.

    What applies to self-driving cars, will not only apply to most connected devices, but also to organisations. If an organisation understands its environment, if it is context-aware and can communicate intelligently with other relevant actors in its environment, it can make better decisions based on all those different variables in that context.

    AI Will Make Organisations More Humane

    Those organisations that have managed to understand their context will be able to benefit the most from AI. They have the pre-requisite to developing intelligent algorithms: data. With that, artificial agents can rapidly become more intelligent, bringing a lot of advantages to organisations.

    In today’s organisations, a lot of employees have to deal with a lot of administrative tasks and bureaucratic processes. However, in the organisation of tomorrow, such tasks and processes will be managed by AI. Within the organisation of tomorrow, humans and AI will work together. Thereby augmenting humans and removing mundane tasks. AI can disrupt and improve many of the existing company processes. As a result, humans can focus more on the people (your employees and customers) within the organisation, making your organisation more humane.

    If done correctly, a data-driven organisation will become a customer-focused organisation, which will have a positive effect on the bottom-line. After all, if you take care of your customers, your customers will take care of your shareholders.

    Image: Metamorworks/Shutterstock

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    Mark van Rijmenam

    Mark van Rijmenam is Founder of Datafloq. He is a highly sought-after international public speaker, a Big Data and Blockchain strategist and author of the best-selling book Think Bigger - Developing a Successful Big Data Strategy for Your Business. He is the co-author of the book Blockchain: Transforming Your Business and Our World, which details how blockchain can be used for social good. His third book, The Organisation of Tomorrow, will be published in Q1 2019. He is named a global top 10 Big Data influencer and one of the most influential Blockchain people. He has just completed a PhD at the University of Technology Sydney on how organizations should deal with Big Data, Blockchain and (Responsible) AI and he is a faculty member of the Blockchain Research Institute in Canada. He is a strategic advisor to several blockchain startups and publisher of the ‘f(x) = ex‘ newsletter read by thousands of executives.
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