AI and the Enterprise

By John Van Decker, Tammy Pinter, and Ron Exler
May 31, 2023
Season 4, Episode 21

In this episode of the Business Excelleration® Podcast, what’s the role for artificial intelligence in today’s enterprise? Where should IT leaders focus their efforts? A discussion with Global IT Advisory Practice Leader Tammy Pinter, Chief of Research John Van Decker and Senior Research Director, Enterprise IT Ron Exler.

Welcome to The Hackett Group’s “Business Excelleration Podcast,” where week after week we hear from experts on how to avoid obstacles, manage detours and celebrate milestones on the journey to world-class performance. This episode is hosted by Gary Baker, Global Communications director at The Hackett Group. Today’s episode will discuss the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in today’s enterprise and where information technology (IT) leaders can focus their efforts. His guests are Global IT Advisory Practice Leader Tammy Pinter, Chief of Research John Van Decker and Senior Research Director Enterprise IT Ron Exler.

Kicking things off, Tammy shares that The Hackett Group defines AI as the development of computer systems that perform tasks typically requiring human intelligence or action. Fields of AI include machine learning, language process, generative AI, voice assistance and more. AI can be found in business applications, autonomous vehicles, fraud detection, medical diagnoses and more. Enterprise AI is a category of enterprise software that harnesses AI techniques to drive digital transformation.

As chief of Research at The Hackett Group, John manages the enterprise research agenda. There are various services looking at various disciplines, including finance, IT and human resources. He wanted to better understand the levels of expectations and implementations people have about using AI across the enterprise. The purpose of his poll was to determine the expectations for using AI in the enterprise, understand how organizations are pursuing strategies for AI deployment and understand what tools are being used so far, and determine the current implementation department within the enterprise. His approach was to conduct a short survey of four questions over a six-week period for people within and outside of The Hackett Group. The respondents – one-half North American and one-half European – generated some very interesting results.

Ron and his team went into the survey with a few key things in mind that they expected to find. They thought that they would find that there is a high expectation for AI, but that it is still in its infancy. They also expected to see many organizations not taking advantage of AI, and examples of early evolution of the use of data scientists and IT. The true finding confirmed their initial hypothesis. In terms of current implication, we are seeing that generative AI and tools like ChatGBT have already affirmed holes in the market and will continue to develop. Over the next several years, we will see AI improve its initial business value. We will learn through this early planning and implementation stage about analytics solutions and adoption. Overall, organizations are in agreement of AI’s positive effects across the board.

Tammy explains that service companies and senior management have higher concerns about AI security, while security and budget are average concerns around AI. European companies typically have larger AI budgets and less security concerns. Sixty-one percent of respondent organizations have deployed an early AI pilot project. We also see that AI has become a hot item for 30% of organizations who are including it in requests for proposals for analytics and business applications. Twenty-two percent of enterprises see no need for an AI strategy, and that number is expected to decrease. Compared to North America, European companies are excelling in their strategies in the AI department. Ron also touches on the important differences in AI strategies reflected in the research.

Chatbots and machine learning are the top two AI technologies being considered today. Many people are regularly using AI technologies in their personal and professional lives without even realizing it. Some of this software include generative text, speech recognition, Siri and image recognition. Tammy is seeing that it is a business function thinking about how they want to incorporate AI into their day-to-day activities. AI will evolve alongside business needs and function capabilities. It is more about finding applications for AI inside of things enterprises are already using and upgrading to the latest versions of a technology rather than searching for an AI capability by itself. Finally, Ron and Tammy share their recommendations for companies looking to kickstart their own AI strategy discussions.

Time stamps:

  • 0:48 – Welcome to this episode hosted by Gary Baker.
  • 1:19 – How The Hackett Group defines AI.
  • 2:55 – Ron explains his most recent poll.
  • 4:35 – What did Ron expect to find in the study?
  • 6:00 – How the findings matched those expectations.
  • 7:40 – The biggest takeaway from the research.
  • 8:49 – How organizations view AI.
  • 10:46 – Issues around security and cost.
  • 16:26 – The recent resurgence in the enterprise for AI.
  • 20:10 – The regional differences in AI strategy.
  • 22:02 – Differences in AI strategies.
  • 24:17 – Which AI technologies are being most broadly considered?
  • 27:43 – How enterprises can prioritize their AI ecosystem.
  • 31:33 – What branches are using AI most?
  • 34:17 – Recommendations for organizations to kickstart their AI strategy.