With Digital India and Make In India campaigns creating a regulatory environment for increased use of artificial intelligence, Indian companies have also embraced the change. This trend may push businesses to spend eight to 11 percent of their annual budgets on AI itself, says a new report.
Now, companies have realised the advantage which AI brings to a hyper-competitive business scenario. “Recent years have seen a blurring of lines between consumer technology and enterprise IT, and chatbots are speeding up the trend. Advances in machine learning and AI will help enhance the technology further in the coming years. This will increase the usage by businesses to ensure they remain customer obsessed,” Ramesh Sivasubramanian, who heads the Innovation Lab at Ramco Systems told AIM.
The survey also indicates the rise in importance of the cognitive systems in India and reaching mainstream in the next 13 months.
Organisations Have Already Started Their Journey
Many Indian enterprises have started their AI journeys only recently and have made selective investments to automate their adoption. According to the report, nearly one in five organisations have already inched ahead with similar implementations. This number is anticipated to soar considerably over the next 13 months with nearly seven in 10 firms (68.6 percent) set to leverage cognitive systems, indicating that the technology will reach mainstream adoption.
- IT And Telecom: Telecommunications, media, and technology companies have been at the forefront of AI adoption. Indian IT companies have automated many of the routine tasks which were earlier performed by human capital. For instance, Wipro is using its own cognitive platform called HOLMES, to automate multiple processes of its IT projects. HOLMES delivers perfectly, and in the near term, saves costs up to $46.5 million. The media and telecom industry are also early adopters of AI with a current adoption rate of 37.5 percent.
- BFSI: Banking, financial services and insurance verticals have implemented AI as a part of their business process automation drive as well as for customer engagement. Indian banks have been investing heavily in AI to boost their offerings and stay ahead in the tech adoption curve. AI has allowed banks to develop a genuine relationship with customers over time, as they have ventured into avenues like virtual assistants to understand customer queries. “In the future, banks would place a very high thrust on Fraud Analysis, Investigation, Program Advisors and Recommendation Systems. Automated claims processing would emerge as the top AI application for Insurance companies,” said the report.
- Retail: Now, Indian retailers, like Shoppers Stop, Reliance Retail and Aditya Birla retail are also experimenting AI, robotics and cognitive technologies to build a seamless interface for customers.
- Agriculture, Petroleum: Companies in traditional sectors such as agriculture, petroleum, pharmaceuticals, transportation and legal are also aggressively hiring AI talent to stay ahead of the digital disruption.
- Automobile: With the advent of new technologies in areas such as electrified and driverless vehicles, several automobile manufacturers are actively looking at hiring talent with technology expertise in AI and digital.
- Mining: The trend is visible in mining sector too. A few months ago Vedanta hired four chief digital officers to check efficiency, enhancements, do benchmark research and then design for it.
- Healthcare: On the healthcare front, a section of service providers in India have been the early adopters of AI in diagnosis and treatment. This application is in its nascent stages and will mature in the next 13 months, as hospitals build and are able to leverage effective data management strategies.
- Manufacturing: However, manufacturing organisations have been slow to adopt AI compared to their peers in other verticals as they feel that technology is still in nascent stages. So far, AI has only been applied primarily for asset and fleet management by manufacturing companies.
- Logistics: There’s a fast-growing appetite in the logistics industry to take advantage of modern technologies for better customer service and improved process efficiencies. They are leveraging IoT and analytics to speed up delivery operations. “Modern technologies such as cloud, AI and ML, enable logistics businesses to fast-track innovation and enhance business efficiencies. With increased automation, logistics companies can further optimise service levels, while also reducing costs,” Safexpress CIO Kapil Mahajan told AIM.
Challenges In AI Journey
One of the active roadblocks in AI is the talent shortage. There is a shortage of skilled professionals with required AI consulting, implementation and support expertise. In fact, even within the pool of data scientists, it is only the younger generation who have been trained in the advanced deep learning technologies, narrowing the available pool of talent even further.
As most of the AI projects are at the nascent stage there may be a fear of the unknown within the organisations. As an IDC survey suggests, 80.4 percent of the organisations deem cost of cognitive or AI solutions to be very high, while 66.1 percent feel that return on investment is still not clear and justifiable to higher management.
For organisations which have already implemented AI solutions or considering to implement, cybersecurity is another avenue that concerns the higher management of the firms.
On A Concluding Note
AI and cognitive solutions would not change the business process, but also will change the entire business models that companies currently follow. India is leading this revolution from the front and is going to be one of the fastest adopters of artificial intelligence-based services. Through a series of events and speeches from earlier this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seen to have been deliberately showcasing India as well as his government as technologically forward. PM Modi wants NITI Aayog to adopt a comprehensive strategy for the commercialisation of AI so that the nation collectively benefits from the technology.
Living in such era of disruption, companies can no longer afford to rely on just traditional models. Organisations are now expanding their boundaries to transform business models, improve operational efficiencies, revamping customer engagements and most importantly, to improve profitability to stay ahead in the curve. The Intel report states, “Organisations which are in ‘wait and watch’ mode with AI will be left behind, while early adopters reap the benefits.”
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I have over three-years of experience in editing, reporting. My career in journalism began with The Economic Times. When I am not busy, I read, I binge-watch web series.