Orange Business Services discuss the merging of AI and business at the Gartner ITxpo

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AI is a topic that stirs emotions and even fear. A world under the dominion of our robot overlords beckons. While the sci-fi view of the future may be sensationalized, there is no doubt that AI can and will revolutionize the way we do business. However, warnings that it threatens to wipe out jobs seem to be misguided.

"Many significant innovations in the past have been associated with a transition period of temporary job loss, followed by recovery, then business transformation and AI will likely follow this route," said Svetlana Sicular, Research Vice President at Gartner. "Unfortunately, most calamitous warnings of job losses confuse AI with automation — that overshadows the greatest AI benefit — AI augmentation — a combination of human and artificial intelligence, where both complement each other."

In her presentation to the Gartner ITxpo, Anne-Sophie Lotgering, CMDO at Orange Business Services, tells delegates "the companies that will be most successful will balance and blend the use of AI and human engagement to personalize and simplify the customer journey, reduce friction at every point of interaction and encourage the most appropriate purchases."

The key to reacting properly to new technology is open-minded research. Understanding cutting-edge developments makes you better equipped to react to or with them. In the mid-1990s, the retail giants of the world dismissed the Internet as a fad. They made this assumption in ignorance; they spent little or no time investigating the technology and the business opportunities it could give them. This approach of willful ignorance handed the market dominance to upstart Internet companies like Amazon, who ruled despite their initial lack of supplier contacts, customer trust, brand awareness and market or operational experience. These newcomers were able to dominate because they successfully leveraged new technology to wipe out all those disadvantages.

For Anne-Sophie, leveraging new technology is vital to business success. However, for her the key is not to focus only on the digital technology, but to ensure you blend this technology properly with a human approach to both your customers and partners, and the people within your organization.

"Businesses not only have to make interactions with customers faster and more convenient," says Anne-Sophie, "but also more human-centric, personalized and empathetic. They need to delight their customers with the imagination, creativity and care that they show."

Anne-Sophie warns businesses not to surrender everything into the hands of AI. Customers will still want human interaction at key points on their journey.

"Consumers want AI to be human-like in terms of interaction," explains Anne-Sophie, "they also want to know when they are talking to an AI-enabled system rather than a human. The level of human engagement desired by consumers is directly correlated to the importance of the decision. The more important the decision, the more consumers want humans to be involved."

Anne-Sophie's keynote presentation to the Gartner ITxpo audience looked much deeper into the topic of intelligence, artificial and human, and the digital business of the future and ended with a stark warning: Get going with this next digital revolution now, or you’ll lose out.

Orange Business Services had a booth in the Exhibitor Hall at the Gartner ITXpo. Go to the Gartner Symposium website to find out more about the event.

Glenn Le Santo

International Social and Media Manager at Orange Business Services. I'm in charge of our International social media and the English language blogs at Orange Business Services. In my spare time I'm literally captain of my own ship, spending my time on the wonderful rivers and canals of England.