How Industries can Unlock Data and AI Innovation for Greater Value


Data Science Use Case Development

Discover and build your data science use case

Download the Offer

Data and AI Innovation. While each industry has its unique use cases, one thing is pervasive: the potential for transformative change. AI has been proven to save time and money by increasing efficiency and productivity. As AI becomes smarter and more scalable, it will become even more widely adopted by every industry and business application.

Hitachi Solutions’ Industry Strategy Directors recently shared their AI wisdom and industry-specific outlook for the future in an insightful virtual panel discussion, leaning in on how data and AI innovations across industries are driving new ways to enhance efficiency, engage customers, and set organizations on a path to become market leaders.

Directions in Manufacturing

Manufacturing in today’s digital world is all about staying one step ahead. From predictive process control and supply chain forecasting to predictive maintenance, leveraging data is the best way for modern manufacturers to keep up with industry competition.

At its core, manufacturing is about innovation, as it builds economic capacity, bolsters workforces, and generates opportunity and growth. The production function of any manufacturing company currently has the highest AI adoption rate of all functions within a company, said Jeff Winter, Hitachi Solutions’ Industry Strategy Leader for manufacturing.

“Now, if you look specifically within that production category, the top specific use case is actually plant for IOT, analytics, and followed by preventative maintenance and  process improvement,” Winter said.

Integrating AI into manufacturing operations can provide significant advantages in predictive maintenance, Winter said. By learning from historical data, AI can predict when a machine is likely to fail or need maintenance. This preemptive approach allows companies to avoid costly downtime and extend the life of their equipment.

Directions in Healthcare

The U.S. healthcare system is facing many challenges:

  • An aging population with the baby boomers
  • One in five in the US have some form of mental illness
  • Life expectancy has dropped
  • 54 percent of healthcare workers are burned out

“With statistics like this, most in the US feel like the healthcare system is failing them,” said James Galvin, Senior Director for Healthcare and Insurance Strategy. “And AI is going to play a pivotal role in transforming the health care industry over the next decade.”

Popular applications of AI include diagnosing patients, improving communications between doctors, physicians and patients, transcribing medical documents, and remote patient treatments.

AI can automate many of the administrative tasks that healthcare workers are required to do, Galvin said. “Physicians are spending 16 minutes of a 20-minute patient visit just typing information into an electronic medical record. AI frees up all of that time, which can be spent with the patient. That’s a win for the clinician, and it’s a win for the patient.”

Directions in Retail

For retailers in the digital age, data is everything and everywhere— shoppers and customers generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day. From an AI and data perspective, that’s a lot of data that can be used by retail and CPG firms to establish themselves as market leaders.

Deb Marotta, Vice President of Industry Strategy said, “AI from a prediction and machine learning perspective has been around for some time, and that’s been leveraged for supply chain to optimize inventory. But AI can be used to predict and direct how to minimize disruptions in inventory throughout your supply chain.”

For example, retailers can use intelligent warehouse management systems that collect data from mobile scanners and smart conveyers to track the movement of goods within the warehouse. Some companies are using order management solutions with AI to improve order fulfillment to reduce costs and achieve the endless aisle.

For brands with multiple dependencies across an enterprise of internal and external parties, implementing AI-driven solutions can speed the product development process, enable connectivity and productivity needed to improve overall supply chain and inventory visibility.

Directions in Financial Services

From financial modeling to detecting risk and fraud, to performing customer and credit analytics, leveraging data to innovate is a mainstay of the financial services market. The most prominent usage of AI thus far has been related to fraud detection, according to Peter Garadis, Senior Director of Strategy for Financial Services.

According to IDC, the banking sector will be one of the top industries that invest in AI solutions by 2024. And rightly so, with artificial solutions expected to add more than U.S. $1 billion in value to the banking industry by 2035. And new use cases are emerging every day.

One exciting use case for AI is in the private equity space, Garadis said. “Customers who are assessing the merits of a potential company to invest in are dealing with a lot of unstructured information that isn’t in a standard format. How do you do all of your research quickly so that you can act in a timely way and you can make good judgements around valuations?”

AI is helping with that, he said. Vector databases are being used to analyze earnings reports and other unstructured financial data, allowing financial institutions to extract valuable insights from large, unstructured datasets in seconds. “We’re currently working with a client where we’re standing up a vector database, and it makes it very easy for team members to do their due diligence on potential acquisition or investment.”

Directions in Construction

From planning to building, construction and engineering professionals are using AI to add that extra element of accuracy and efficiency to their projects. It can also help with monitoring and keeping track of equipment, maintenance, construction errors and potential safety issues, said Jon Loring, Senior Director of Industry Strategy for Industrial Services.

“Believe it or not, AI has been at the forefront of requests that we’re seeing, especially coming in from all the different types of customers, whether it’s contractors or engineering companies. They want to know what’s happening with AI in the industry, what people are using it for, and what the success is in different areas,” Loring said, noting that the construction industry is commonly considered a technology laggard.

We’re seeing a lot of AI being used around generating sales proposals, speeding up the process to sell. Then, as, as companies are getting better and more familiar with it, we’re starting to just see it happening on the job sites, looking at anything from requests for information from different types of players involved in the construction process, Loring said.

Security is Paramount Regardless of Industry

A discussion around AI must include the data that’s required for AI, and the security behind that data, Marotta said. “This must be built on a foundation of trust. Organizations need to include data security, governance, and privacy in their AI strategy.”

The panel agreed that security risks around AI come in the form of both internal and external threats. Internally, unaware or improperly-trained users can expose sensitive corporate information, or protected customer information, by feeding it into cloud-based generative platforms such as ChatGPT. Externally, generative AI (without proper security) can enable cyber-criminals to engage in new and sophisticated forms of social engineering and phishing attacks.

In the healthcare and finance sectors, trust and data security are critically important. Organizations must consider not only their own estate, but the security posture of the partners that that they work with, Galvin and Garadis agreed.

“Interoperability, or standardizing how data moves safely from one partner to another, is a critical issue. Moving records from one provider to another is driving a lot of that modernization because a health care organization must protect patient privacy and prevent unauthorized access to their health data,” Garadis said.

Security systems that provide end-to-end security are non-negotiable. Protection from AI threats come built-in with the Microsoft Azure security platform, which spans identity security, compliance, device management, and now generative AI. Hitachi Solutions’ security offerings are built on the Microsoft security platform and based on Zero Trust architecture— an approach that the security perimeter to every network, system, user, and device within and outside the organization.

Transforming the Customer Experience

Across industries, Hitachi Solutions leaders agreed that data and AI innovations are allowing organizations to personalize interactions at a heightened level that wasn’t previously available. A recent report on the state of customer experience said 31 percent of customers have higher expectations now from the companies that they are dealing with than they did just 12 months ago, Winter said.

And personalization efforts are becoming more dynamic. Retailers are quickly building web pages based on customer search history, for example. And the responses, via chatbots or emails, are dynamically fed back, based on how customers are interacting. “Not only are you improving customer satisfaction from an interaction with the customer, but you’re also saving time on the back end. And you’re not having to have a support person try to figure out how somebody’s going to navigate through their journey. So that’s super productive for the retailer, or brand, as well as productive for the customer,” Marotta said.

Switching to the finance industry, Garadis said a personalized experience is one that uses AI and data analytics to proactively reach out to clients, especially those that have been targeted as an attrition risk with offers so that the customer isn’t lost to the company.

“It’s helping firms mine information on the behaviors and patterns of clients to offer them better solutions that meet their needs, and demonstrate to clients that the company cares about their situations and is looking out for them. It’s not just purely a reactive service model.”

                                                                        Peter Garadis, Finance and Insurance Industry Director

In the healthcare industry, the best customer experience is one that allows providers to be able to proactively provide care, keep you healthy, and keep you out of the hospital, Galvin said. “It’s about predictive care management, using AI and data to determine whether or not patients are more likely to have an illness. Then, an automatic care plan can be created off of that, to really deliver the best possible customer experience ever— which is keeping you out of the hospital, and keeping you free of injury.”

Where to Start?

Almost all organizations are sitting on a wealth of established data. Rather than looking for new means of information gathering, the better question is: What can be done to make the most of the data you already possess? Winter said. “ This can be your starting point to experiment.”

Loring added: “Define your business problems and what the successful outcome of solving that problem would look like. If you have the big picture of your goals and you’ve defined the value proposition, you can tackle the journey in many different ways.”

Then develop a data modernization strategy and roadmap, Garadis said. Come up with some use cases, go after some things in conjunction with developing your roadmap, because that can take time. So, try pluck off some high impact use cases while doing a lot of the roadmap and mobilization work in tandem.”

Hitachi Solutions Can Help

The emergence of AI, fueled by proprietary data and other external data sources, promises to raise performance and increase productivity in dramatic ways. Whether you’re super-excited about the possibilities, or tentative about dipping your toe in the AI water, give our virtual discussion a listen. Once you’ve done that, we can help you use that knowledge to prepare for a business world infused with AI. It takes a special technology partner to be able to deliver not only the technology, but the support required for adoption and compliance. That’s us.

Let’s start your journey today.