Stay relevant with AI

Nowadays, it is hard to miss the daily barrage of reports advocating the use of artificial intelligence (AI) related to practically everything that makes us human. The pace with which new technology is evolving requires organizations to stay on top of change or risk obsolescence.

I have witnessed the power of innovation to drive sustainable, defensible growth firsthand and have actively invested in AI, especially within health care and SaaS sectors, for many years. As business leaders, we must activate plans inclusive of AI and other technologies. I encourage you to embrace your inner Magellan and explore the opportunity around us.

The startling speed with which AI and other advanced technologies are transforming work is astonishing. AI-driven technology changes how we think, connect and view the world. It is an elemental force to support sustainable growth.

When evaluating the role of AI within your organization, think about its potential through two critical lenses — how it impacts functions in your company (the WHAT) and the people involved (the WHO).

It is natural to first gravitate to the WHAT when deploying technology. We look to streamline processes, improve decision-making and better connect with stakeholders. This is old hat.

We must equally consider the WHO. AI will change personnel needs and skills within your company. Some jobs will be made obsolete and new positions will be created. This consideration is fundamental to deploying reskilling, minimizing gaps and preserving morale and staffing. Your team needs to be a part of decisions, understand where they fit (or not) and be empowered to be successful in this new normal.

As with anything new, AI adoption comes with risk. A phased approach is appropriate and encouraged. AI can be unwieldy, like a toddler with a shiny object within arm’s reach but without the wherewithal to understand what happens when you pull it off a shelf or curiously stick it up your nose. It is well-founded that AI makes mistakes. In its exuberance to provide information, it can make up facts and introduce unwelcome bias.

These flaws are not a reason to fear it. The opportunity is real. A recent IBM report, Global AI Adoption Index 2022, found that 66 percent of companies polled are investing in AI to achieve sustainability goals. Embrace and put up guardrails, just as you would in your home to prevent that rascally toddler from toddling off the top of the stairs.

When planning, consider how AI can impact your business, especially where you currently collect data. Often, companies start by looking at opportunities to support business process automation, security enhancement and customer service improvements. Within my businesses, we review and implement AI solutions in a variety of ways. At SupplySide USA, AI supports research activities. We also integrate more advanced uses and have assembled a dedicated AI team to apply AI across our portfolio to deploy diverse solutions across business verticals. Evidence of the success of this approach includes the recent acquisition of Warehouse Anywhere, which will grow our business into new sectors and expand automation within existing channels.

In short, we are all living in an AI-powered future. Pushing forward with care and an eye on the opportunity will enable us to make thoughtful progress that ensures our relevance and capability to do well. ●

Ansir Junaid is Chairman and CEO of SupplySide Group

Ansir Junaid

Chairman and CEO