Apps, Automation, AI: Accelerating Business Value by Making Data Work Smarter
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Setting the Stage for AI
Recently, Hitachi Solutions COO Jerry Hawk sat down for a fireside chat (now available on-demand) with Microsoft’s Corporate VP of Business Apps & Platform, Charles Lamanna. They talk about emerging technologies, specifically around artificial intelligence (AI), low-code innovation leading to “no-code” developments like the introduction of Copilot, and how Microsoft’s recent advancements are making waves the world over. It’s a great listen.
Hitachi Solutions and Microsoft have been leveraging AI for years. But recently, Microsoft has accelerated its capabilities, investing in OpenAI and incorporating the GPT4.0 engine into a wide array of its products — including Copilot. The accessibility, trials, and wide reach continue to make headlines and are at the forefront of everyone’s minds as we work to digest and move forward — because these revolutionary tools are now readily available and currently free to anyone with access to a laptop or a mobile phone.
The concern AI causes seems to be anchored at a very personal level: whether it’s privacy, security, job replacement, or even the advent of and the role that robotics play in our society. With AI, the conversation can lead anywhere the imagination takes it. But I’d like to spend some time looking at it through a specific lens. Whatever the technology — people, and process for your enterprise must be the first consideration.
When thinking about AI, most people realize that while it has the potential to be wildly beneficial, there are potential downsides if not handled responsibly. Hawk and Lamanna speak about AI in the context of history, human productivity, and the next revolution. While this isn’t a new conversation, the advent of the technologies around AI and the way they’ve hit the marketplace suddenly make it all very real to everyone at the same time. Technology is impacting the corporate world at the same time it’s affecting our personal lives.
Historical disruptions in human advancement include the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, the post-industrial revolution, and now the technological revolution. The first began in the 17th century and took hundreds of years to arrive, settle in, and move forward, before the advent of the second two. With the technological revolution, the pace of advancement for everyone is fierce. And perhaps that is what is so unsettling to so many.
Finding Meaning Between the Headlines
While many people continue to fear AI and automation will replace their jobs, it hasn’t come to fruition. In a recent Forrester report, The Future of US Jobs, 2032: The Rise of Human/Machine Teams, the authors speak to how the fears of technology replacing jobs just haven’t surfaced in a way many forecasted — even them. Really for the past five, 10, and even 20 years — let alone the last 100 — innovation has permanently altered the way we engage with the world at a pace few can absorb without a purposeful pause. It’s almost as if the faster technology pushes us, the more time we need to ponder to fully absorb the impact. MIT Technology Review spoke to this in 2021 when they predicted the effects of the pandemic on productivity could only be realized with more time under our belts.
As the pace of change for AI power technology and concepts continues to accelerate — making informed and effective business decisions is a daunting task. There’s a certain decision paralysis for some business leaders due to the overwhelming speed of innovation. That’s where Hitachi Solutions has really been digging in with our customers through our Business Advisory practice. We help our customers not only with their digital transformation journey, but also to step back and take a moment to plan, prioritize, and proof their solutions. Our experts help map the way forward for lasting impact through people and process. That’s what really defines success — people adopting.
AI and This Era of Human Productivity
At Hitachi Solutions, we’ve noticed a significant shift in demand for low-code innovation and hyper-automation initiatives. More and more, enterprise leaders are focusing on the benefits through the lens of data. According to Forrester, benefits from low code that garners the most attention from business leaders include gaining deeper insights, as well as contributing to increased growth and higher quality output for customers.
At first, low-code platforms like Microsoft Power Platform were utilized as a workflow solution. But more and more, what’s interesting and deserves emphasis, is the amount of data the Power Platform can generate for an enterprise and how it ultimately connects people. In a very real way, the Power Platform is an enabler and opportunity for virtually all employees in an organization to leverage data for what they need in their daily work lives. It truly is a democratization cornerstone for today’s modern enterprise.
The demand for low code we’re experiencing today is indicative of how technology often starts out slow and then takes off after certain breakthroughs. AI has been around for years, and we’ve been leveraging it for our customers when it’s the right solution and solves their unique business needs. Moving forward with governance and guidance is key to every low-code initiative and is part of how we work with our customers to guide them along their journey.
For Machine Learning, the Age of Productivity is About Collaboration
In business technology, we’re well into the era of natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML). While both have been incorporated into business solutions for years, their availability to everyone is what’s really disrupting the way we do business today. While adapting to these technologies and how they help us work can be challenging, it’s also an opportunity for collaboration and engagement.
In today’s digital era, change occurs at a much faster pace compared to the industrial era. The rapid advancement of technology and the abundance of data have created a dynamic environment where businesses must be adaptable to thrive. It’s important to understand the impact of digital transformation and the need for companies to embrace change to stay ahead.
According to a report by McKinsey, digital transformation can increase a company’s revenue by up to 20 percent and reduce costs by 30 percent. However, this requires a cultural shift. Companies that are slow to adapt fall behind and lose market share to more innovative competitors. Therefore, it’s crucial to have a clear digital strategy and the right technology infrastructure to support it. The pace of change in the digital era can be challenging, but it also provides significant opportunities for growth and success.
Accelerate Value Leveraging Low-code Innovation
Learning how to thrive and do more with less, or as some would say, “more with what you have,” is realized through low-code innovation. Even if your enterprise is slower to migrate its resources to the cloud due to legacy systems or compliance concerns, with over 1,000 connectors and more added all the time, chances are you can leverage cloud capabilities and accelerate your connectivity by introducing the Power Platform alongside (really it overlays it) your existing system’s functionality.
Depending on where you are on your digital innovation journey, low code is probably more or less present and functional in some capacity somewhere or everywhere. There are stages to adoption and maker capabilities, governance, business processes, and hyper-automation capabilities are all ways to move forward. Check out our recent Power Platform E-book — A Year of Insights — from our tech hub of rapid solution delivery to learn more about how to gauge your organizational maturity for low code.
With the recent introduction of Copilot (currently in preview) as a natural language guide for your enterprise solution capabilities, Microsoft is working to make it even easier for your people to solve business problems through Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform. During the fireside chat, Lamanna referred to Copilot as “no code” because the AI tools built in make it even more accessible for people to solve business with ML and NLP.
We will continue to expand our use of AI in a secure and responsible way to increase efficiency for our customers. Our approach is focused on meeting specific business needs, rather than innovation for its own sake.
Helping Customers Accelerate Through Technology — Responsibly.
One conversation that continues to evolve internally, as well as with our customers, centers around governance and how secure guidance plays a critical role in successful innovation. Governance, security, and compliance have always been crucial. With emerging technologies, this concern only grows. Our approach to technology at Hitachi Solutions is people-centric. We work to ensure whatever tech we’re developing is purpose-built for our customers, and security is part of the solution.
As a dedicated Microsoft partner, Hitachi Solutions embraces, supports, and adheres to the standards put forth in Responsible AI. Through the tenants of accountability, transparency, fairness, reliability, inclusivity, privacy, and security, we navigate the business of leveraging AI for our customers with adherence to these foundational organizing principles.
About Hitachi Solutions
Hitachi Solutions is a global cloud-services systems integrator. We are a 100 percent Microsoft platform-focused organization, where our people and our customers are always top priorities.
Our mission — “To contribute to society through the development of superior, original technology and products” — works in tandem with that of Microsoft, which is “to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”
Contact us today to learn more about how Hitachi Solutions is partnering with our customers to realize more for their people and processes through app innovation, automation, and AI.