If you have been in sales or consulting or any permutation in between you may well have been exposed to the hype stage of a new technology, product or service – effectively where Artificial Intelligence is at the moment. In this phase any self-respecting IT Exec and even CEO has it on their scorecard and this is appropriate since Artificial Intelligence and its cornucopia of sub-disciplines do indeed hold a profound promise for business and humanity as a whole.

However, as often occurs in this life stage of the technology is that there are those that think AI is the holy grail, the ultimate turn-key solution – just waiting to be switched on.

In truth, while it is an extremely powerful technology it is still in its infancy. It also must be integrated into existing IT infrastructure which includes legacy systems in order to provide the business with true digital transformation and the realisation of business benefit.

If AI vendors fail to do this, AI solutions end up as mere “point” remedies which unfortunately tend to do little for the existing value chain. What this means is that businesses should be wary of vendors advocating turn-key AI solutions – which just need to be ‘turned-on” for business benefits to flow – as this is rarely the case.

AI can be viewed like a new employee – straight from school or university. In order for it to be inculcated with the basics of any business domain or more specifically excel at automation of a business process, it requires a significant amount of training, and thereafter hand holding is still required until it is able to perform at a level sufficient for the specific application.

In truth, for those of us who have been around the block for some time, there are some basic disciplines and rules for those who are looking at utilising Artificial intelligence in their businesses.

These rules are as relevant as they’ve ever been and they involve action, strategy and a partnership with both parties prepared to go on a learning journey, namely:

  • Develop a sound business roadmap by unlocking the lowest hanging fruits for your industry or domain and prioritising those that will bring the most benefit and are achievable with the current maturity of the requisite AI sub-disciplines;
  • Partner with a specialist team that has both the business-savvy, the AI experience and the rigour and discipline to ensure a successful outcome and sticks around post implementation to ensure same;
  • Understand you are in new territory and success is incremental and that those that prioritise continued learning and optimisation are those that will win the game. Your organisation will have to be part of this continuing learning journey and can be the largest barriers to success; and
  • Open up to new techniques and practices, as maturing an AI solution from conception to minimum viable product to production in this new paradigm demands a fresh mindset which embraces change alongside the discipline required to make it come to fruition.

So, if you are interested in incorporating AI as part of your overall IT ecosystem, you might need to shift your thinking in terms of this being a shiny new toy for your business. Be prepared to do the work required to reap the benefits of this game changing technology – it will only perform like a silver bullet once it has been appropriately honed. As ever, a pragmatic approach to any of your selected business challenges is still the best way to embark on any new roadmap.

About Lightblue Cognitive Solutions 

Lightblue Cognitive Solutions is a specialised consultancy & software development house focussed on intelligent automation. We provide businesses with a clear path on how to use artificial intelligence and robotic process automation to reduce and ultimately eliminate repetitive tasks as well as enabling new business models & processes through innovation.

We have built solutions spanning Cognitive Analytics, Chatbots, Email Automation and Contact Centre Agent Assistant solutions and we have exciting engagements on the go in the speech recognition domain for South African accents, LiveChat, Legal Discovery as well as leveraging machine learning to train predictive analytical models.

We are official IBM Watson and LivePerson business partners and also leverage services from Google, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft in our solutions.  Our current clients include: Santam, Sanlam, Visa, Truworths & Deloitte.

About CEO Alessandro Vignazia 

Alessandro has over twenty-two years Information Technology consulting experience in leading organisations across the Middle East & Africa.  He began his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting and subsequently held senior positions at IBM Consulting, where he held several positions namely the IBM Consulting Artificial Intelligence lead for Middle East & Africa and the IBM Consulting Analytics, Optimisation & Information Management Lead for Southern Africa.

He is currently the Founding Director of Lightblue Cognitive Solutions an Artificial Intelligence boutique consultancy and software solutions IT Start-up. Alessandro is passionate about new technologies such as intelligent automation and its real-world application to achieve economic and social benefit.

About AI Expo Africa 2019

Curated by AI Media Africa, AI Expo Africa 2019 is focusing on real world applications & trends driving the Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Data Science Economy in Africa.  AI Expo Africa is the largest Business focused AI Community conference and expo on the continent.  With 700+ delegates, 60+ speaker programme, 40+ exhibitor Expo Hall, allied to the unique Innovation Cafe showcasing the latest AI start-ups in the region, we deliver a truly integrated event experience.  Our speaking programme and workshops are aimed at CxOs, analysts and investors with the primary goal of educating business leaders about AI & Data Science applications solving Enterprise challenges TODAY as well as generating real business and learning opportunities for sponsors, speakers, buyers, suppliers & innovators alike.  We also have FREE student / young engineer workshops to foster grass roots job creation & skills development opportunities.  If you would like to join the event as a delegate or would like take up one of the exhibition, Innovation Cafe or speaking opportunities simply visit click on the links below. Learn more at www.aimediagroup.co.za

  • Register – Buy your ticket today via our secure ticket platform Quicket
  • Sponsor – Secure pride of place in the Expo Hall / Innovation Cafe

For event information, please contact Sonja Arendse (Events Support Manager) at enquiries@aiexpoafrica.com.

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