Athazagoraphobia (n.) – the fear of being forgotten, ignored or replaced. Common symptoms include anxiety, dread, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea and shaking.
A recent Forbes article points out that our thinking when it comes to AI gets confused between hype (self-heating toilet seats!) and what is in fact a “digital transformation” taking place among forward-thinking organizations.
The money quote from this piece, designed to strike fear in the operating systems of late-adopting IT departments, follows:
“For chief information officers, it’s a no-brainer. In a brave new world informed by data, using AI to provide insights and streamline operations is becoming almost mandatory. In other words, not using AI puts companies at a competitive disadvantage.”
Let’s unpack this argument.
Say you’re CIO of a large, complex B2B shop who’s spent the last decade establishing standards and making well-researched technology investments designed to keep your company competitive in a world of shrinking margins and nonstop change.
Somewhere around mid-decade, you’re inundated with buzz about artificial intelligence, the ultimate disruptor, the game-changer, the Future™.
You deliberate the pie-in-the-sky claims, wondering who could possibly want a $20,000 dresser that folds your clothes while for some reason tracking your heart rate and streaming laundry-themed Spotify playlists.
All the tantalizing possibilities of business application seem out of reach to you when dealing with daily fires and yearly budget pressures. The grumblings about machines taking the place of workers gives you pause, both for fear of relying on non-sentient bits and bytes and concern for employee morale.
You ultimately decide to wait it out. But suddenly it’s 2019 and it seems every one of your peers has adopted some form of AI. You click on the latest Forbes edition touting the massive AI investments other companies are planning and the telltale signs of Athazagoraphobia start kicking in. The shaking, the sweating, the dread; none conducive to an office setting.
We’re being left behind. What’s next…replaced?
Breathe. Fear not. AI, or more pointedly machine learning, demands to be undertaken opportunistically and with specific pain points in mind. Your competitors are not dropping a smart chip in their data center and magically solving all their company’s problems while hitting the back nine.
If you’re dealing with high-volume customers, disparate sales teams, large product catalogs and an endless list of suppliers, chances are your business could stand to benefit from machine learning, coupled with a trusted advisor. Declining margins, customer churn and slow organic growth are common pain points that can turn around quickly with AI-powered tools like the Zilliant IQ platform.
One of Zilliant’s clients, a building products manufacturer, found it wasn’t earning a fair margin on its products due to inconsistent pricing. They realized they needed an innovative approach to pricing to replace the manual tasks that had left them behind the curve. The company worked with Zilliant to turn this problem into an opportunity for growth.
With Zilliant Price IQ, in-house customer, product and order data is streamlined to continually deliver prices that account for customer price sensitivity and deliver a fair margin. By showing their customers how prices were now derived based on machine learning, the manufacturer was able to quote higher (fair) prices with minimal pushback. The results have been stunning: a sustained 2.3 percent margin increase on sales at the same historical volumes.
AI need not be a source of fear in IT departments. With the right partner as a guide, its adoption is an opportunity to solve a wide range of problems while unburdening employees of manual tasks so they can make better use of their time.
Now in your brave new world, the only things getting left behind are spreadsheets.