Modern organizations operate in a challenging business environment that’s characterized by enormous competition, demanding customers, evolving regulations, and an unpredictable risk landscape. The best way to overcome these challenges is through digital transformation. Digital transformation with AI involves adopting the right technologies and embedding them intelligently into the business. When done right, digital transformation empowers organizations to increase process efficiency and workforce productivity, save time and money, spur greater innovation, and deliver more value to stakeholders.
AI-powered IT solutions can streamline many crucial elements of IT, including IT service management (ITSM), IT helpdesks, procurement, predictive maintenance, and data management. IT teams can also harness AI innovations for infrastructure optimization, performance monitoring, IT asset management, and much more.
This blog will highlight the crucial role of IT departments in eliminating challenges and realizing AI-driven digital transformation.
5 Common AI Adoption Challenges in Organizations
A recent IBM report found that in 2022, 77% of organizations were either already using AI or exploring the possibility of leveraging AI for digital transformation. However, five foundational barriers prevent many more organizations from adopting AI technologies.
1. Lack of a clear AI strategy
Many organizations are unable to realize the potential of AI to optimize their operations, streamline processes, and even foster greater business growth. One reason is that they lack a clear strategy to integrate AI into the organization, ensure that it aligns with their broader goals, and set up a scalable AI program that can grow with the business.
2. Lack of skilled resources
In a 2018 survey, McKinsey found that “lack of talent with appropriate skillsets for AI work” was the second biggest barrier to enterprise AI adoption. The lack of knowledgeable and skilled AI resources remains a big challenge in 2023, making it harder for companies to adopt the AI technologies they need and deploy them as part of a digital transformation effort. For instance, many businesses are unable to leverage the power of AIOps – the concept of utilizing AI tools and capabilities to optimize IT operational workflows, improve IT responsiveness, and enhance application performance and availability in the context of AI digital transformation.
3. Resistance to change
One question that often emerges in watercooler AI discussions is: “will AI take my job?” Worries that AI will replace humans continue to persist even though research shows that AI-adopting companies will actually increase their (human) headcount in the coming years. The same report also revealed that when companies adopt AI, they can create an effective human-machine hybrid workforce in which machines collaborate with people, rather than replacing them.
In the case of MSSPs, AI-based RMM and PSA solutions can also facilitate greater IT automation, which can help these organizations to support more customers and grow the business. Despite these findings, resistance to AI – and possible AI-driven change – is one of the biggest barriers to AI adoption in many organizations and MSSPs.
4. Implementation costs
The potential cost of AI implementation is another hindrance to adoption. Hardware is needed to train and run AI algorithms, software is needed for data collection and analysis, and skilled people are needed to create machine learning models, write code, and generate insights from data. Then there are the miscellaneous costs, such as the costs of data annotation, legal fees, model training and maintenance, and hardware/software upgrades. All these expenses can add up to a substantial amount and reduce organizations’ willingness to adopt AI, say, to improve customer service by automating IT service desks.
5. Legal, ethical, security, and compliance concerns
In recent years, numerous legal, ethical, security, and compliance concerns have emerged around AI. Organizations worry that built-in biases in AI models, non-transparent operations, and risks to data privacy and security may harm individuals (for example, customers), hinder the company from making ethical decisions, and increase the risk of regulatory fines, legal problems, and reputational damage. All these concerns increase their hesitance to adopt AI for AI-led digital transformation.
How IT departments can eliminate AI adoption challenges and enable an AI-driven digital transformation
In any AI-ready organization, IT teams can play a valuable role, not only in an AI implementation, but also in AI-powered digital transformation. Here’s how:
Help senior leadership to set clear AI strategy and goals
IT teams can help senior leadership implement a robust, holistic, and actionable AI strategy. This strategy is essential to determine which processes or activities are best suited for AI and to highlight the use cases where AI can generate the highest value for the business.
With the involvement of the IT team, organizations can also identify AI-driven digital transformation goals and develop a phased implementation plan to meet these goals. Equally important, IT personnel can put their AI knowledge to work to select the best technologies and tools for the company’s unique use cases, avoid implementation missteps, and achieve measurable results from AI investments.
Provide the required talent and skills
The IT team can set up the technological stack needed to support AI and AI-driven digital transformation in the organization. With their AI knowledge and capabilities, they can develop a sophisticated data infrastructure, and powerful machine learning models and neural networks. They can write complex algorithms, perform statistical computations and numerical analyses, and organize data sets. These skills empower organizations to make the most of cutting-edge AI technologies like computer vision, natural language processing (NLP), robotics, and more to streamline processes, augment their human workforce, and even address their sustainability goals.
Create a positive AI-driven culture
In 2021, a joint MIT/BCG survey found that a majority of companies that implemented AI saw improvements in team behaviors, morale, and collaboration. More recently, a 2023 survey by Microsoft also revealed that AI enables employees to do more meaningful work and can even increase their overall well-being. But to garner these benefits, employees must first understand that “AI is not the enemy”.
Here’s where IT teams come in. They can function as AI evangelists and champions to help workers understand how AI works and how it can help them keep pace with the new demands of work. Senior IT personnel can show other employees how AI tools can meet their workplace needs and free them from mundane, morale-killing tasks. Additionally, IT team members can help create an environment where workers can experiment with AI solutions and discover how AI can improve their day-to-day workflows. In all these ways, IT can create a positive AI culture where people are enthusiastic about AI and its potential to transform the way they work.
Eliminate resistance through change management
Since resistance to change is one of the biggest barriers to AI adoption, it’s important to overcome this resistance before substantial investments are made. Members of the IT team can act as change leaders who encourage AI adoption at every level of the organization. Through training and awareness programs, they can mitigate fear, worries, and concerns about AI. They can also address common objections, answer queries, and smooth the process of AI implementation and integration into business workflows.
Develop an AI growth plan
IT managers can develop an AI growth plan to update the organization’s AI goals and determine if further investments are required to meet these goals. They can also promote the adoption and use of “responsible AI” throughout the company – solutions that are reliable, transparent, fair, and accountable from the outset and empower the firm to benefit from AI in a safe, secure, legal, compliant, and ethical manner.
Improve the organization’s data environment
All AI systems need training data to build better models and to generate superior AI insights for business decision-making. Simply put, data is one of the most important enablers of AI. However, many organizations struggle to implement AI solutions due to a lack of data availability or due to the limited usefulness of available data.
IT teams can develop a sophisticated data strategy and a strong data infrastructure for AI and AI-driven digital transformation. They can source the required data and then apply appropriate AI solutions to the organization’s use cases. Additionally, they can implement processes and controls to manage the organization’s growing dataset and ensure that it remains useful for all kinds of complex and transformational AI projects.
Let Atera supercharge your AI-powered transformation
By 2030, AI could potentially contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy. A majority of these gains will come from labor productivity improvements, product enhancements, and higher consumer demand. But to reach this milestone, organizations must first address the common challenges to AI adoption explored above. Fortunately, they can overcome these barriers with the support of their IT teams. IT professionals with the right mix of AI skills, knowledge, and experience can facilitate effective AI implementation. But more importantly, IT human assets can accelerate AI adoption and empower organizations to realize successful AI-driven digital transformation.
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