The buzz term was ‘Big Data’ but more recently ‘Machine Learning’ and ‘Artificial Intelligence’ are terms which have become synonymous with Digital Transformation.
What does this mean in practical terms? What skills do staff involved in digital transformation need to have? Do they need to have a background in IT to work in this area or be highly proficient in maths to be able to learn and adopt methodologies to keep up to date, or risk themselves and their organisations getting left behind in an increasingly digital economy?
CCT College Dublin provides flexible part-time blended learning options for programmes in these specialist and emerging areas of IT. Many of these courses are 90% funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and the Government annually via Springboard+ and the Human Capital Initiative (HCI) meaning that an accredited postgraduate qualification can be obtained for less than €800.
The programmes, varying from level 7 to level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) have been designed in partnership with Microsoft Ireland, with consultation from Microsoft’s Partner Network of over 1000 companies across Ireland, and are aligned to the current and future needs of industry.
Many prospective students/employers want to know to what level do those managing and working in functional areas of business actually need to have in these emerging technologies? Do CEOs need to upsklll in this area too?
Perhaps in the future a baseline technological literacy will be required for these leaders in the same way that currently financial literacy is. There can be no doubt that the success of digital transformation will be the successful cultural alignment of functional areas and stakeholders to the overall technology driven strategy and business goals.
In 2020, a Fortune/Deloitte survey of CEOs showed that 77% of chief executives believed the COVID crisis would speed up their Digital Transformations, but only 13% of leaders believed their organisations are ready for the digital age.
Whether or not your organisation has accelerated its digital operations in recent years, we are all familiar with Alexa, Siri, a chatbot or a basic search engine query. All AI/Machine Learning driven tools which have already been ingrained into most of our daily activities and which have changed how we make daily decisions.
Utilising AI in IT, Marketing, Finance and HR
The most popular use of AI in business lies in IT and systems security. However, marketing analysis and automation also benefits greatly from insights which were previously laborious and time consuming, resulting in more target driven reporting and accelerated decision making.
IBM estimates that by 2025, data-based business decision making tools market will be $2 trillion. Financial services are also majorly enhanced by the use of AI in automating and streamlining processes. Accenture predicts that 80% of finance and accounting tasks will be automated in the coming years.
As well as implementing organisational change initiatives to support digital transformation, HR departments are implementing new AI-driven processes to increase employee retention and reduce churn.
Machine Learning for Competitive Advantage
Facilitated by advancements in Cloud, the amount of data we produce is expected to double every two years for the next decade, according to InsideBigData. Data is the essential component which helps AI systems learn and make decisions.
Modern machine learning algorithms complete complex analysis of data with many variables, almost instantaneously, that could never be realistically or efficiently completed by humans. This provides those organisations with advanced digital transformation practices to gain a massive competitive advantage.
Forrester’s latest research on digital business maturity shows that business leaders now consider accelerating the shift to digital business to be the most critical priority in 2021. Companies initially may use digital transformation to reduce costs, but more advanced firms focus their digital efforts on driving revenue growth.
This is an important shift, as leading companies focus more on effectiveness and outcomes instead of efficiency and outputs. To thrive (and survive) in the digital economy companies must break free from a ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’ non-digital mindset.
HR Consultancy Heidrick and Struggles advocate for ‘Digital Leaders to help to shift the leadership team to think about the business opportunities from a technology perspective and explore how they can use technology to create new sources of customer value.’
Artificial Intelligence is here to stay and is leading an industrial revolution to make organisations more competitive and efficient.
CCT College Dublin offers a range of programmes (many of which are government funded via Springboard+ or the Human Capital Initiative) in Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics and Systems Security from level 7 Diploma to level 9 Masters Degree. All are offered via blended learning on an evening and weekend basis to allow those working full-time to upskill and bring their learning from the classroom directly into their organisation.
AI Ireland Guest post by Marie McTigue, Head of Marketing at CCT College Dublin