The AI-Forward Blueprint: Charting a Course from Tactical to Transformative

By Suzanne Taylor, PhD, and Christina Mongan

In the 1970s, two wildly popular TV series, “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “The Bionic Woman,” depicted a world where bionics—integrations of the organic and the mechanical—transformed ordinary humans into beings of extraordinary abilities. Fast-forward to today, and the bionic fantasies of yesteryear have morphed into artificial intelligence (AI)-infused realities of the modern age.

But while many focus on AI’s immediate benefits, visionaries aim for deeper industry-transforming applications. Thanks to AI’s capabilities—from analyzing vast data sets at incredible speeds to understanding human language—innovation has never been more accessible.

What’s the blueprint for tapping AI’s full potential? Four key strategies may help you and your organization cultivate an AI-forward approach.

1.  Elevate your vision beyond tier-one thinking.

The first brush with AI in many businesses is often limited to tier-one functionalities such as AI assistants that automate repetitive tasks: ghostwriting emails, scheduling projects, and fielding customer queries. AI, however, is capable of far more: complex problem-solving, hyper-personalization, and even the generation of new multimedia content.

Visionaries are already looking beyond these surface-level applications. Instead of merely using AI to streamline tasks, they’re using it to analyze complex data for market trends, optimize supply chains in real time or even introduce robots to improve workflows.

This shift from seeing AI as a utility to embracing it as a strategic partner can help propel businesses into uncharted territories of growth and innovation.

2.    Empower and augment human-AI collaboration.

Imagine a hospital where AI aids surgeons by suggesting optimal procedures in real time based on patient data. Or consider a marketing team paired with AI tools that optimize campaign strategies while the human team focuses on the creative narrative.

In each scenario, AI doesn’t replace human skills; it amplifies them, fostering an enriched, symbiotic workflow.

While AI can perform complex and intelligent tasks that may seem beyond human capability, remember that humans are the architects of this technology. AI excels in mimicking human behavior and executing human-like activities, yet it lacks the intuition, self-awareness, reasoning ability, and abstract thinking humans bring.

These aren’t limitations but opportunities. Merging human intuition and reasoning with AI’s computational prowess creates a powerful alliance. By using the unique strengths of each, businesses can unlock unprecedented levels of innovation and productivity, ensuring that AI always complements and elevates the human touch.

3.    Cultivate a business-first approach.

Before diving into AI, it’s vital to pinpoint the primary business challenges at hand.

Take a consumer products company struggling to understand rapidly changing consumer preferences. Implementing an AI-driven consumer-insights platform could help it identify emerging trends in real time, allowing for more-agile product development and timely marketing campaigns. An AI-powered demand-forecasting system can optimize stock levels for a retailer facing inventory-management challenges, helping it reduce waste and boost sales.

AI is not a panacea. It’s important to match the right technology to the business problem. Starting with the problem—not the technology—is essential to a business-first approach.

By ensuring every AI initiative addresses a clear business need, organizations can do more to maximize impact, minimize waste of resources, and more directly align AI investments with overarching business goals and visions.

4.    Reimagine and pioneer new frontiers with strategic AI integration.

AI-forward organizations are not content to simply incorporate intelligent systems. They weave AI into the very fabric of their business strategies.

By shedding the weight of outdated processes and deeply integrating AI at the core, they transition from merely using AI to embodying an AI-centric ethos. This shift can unlock unparalleled opportunities and innovations, from streamlining mundane tasks, like expense reporting, to using AI’s predictive powers to personalize shopping experiences or expedite drug discovery.

It’s not just about improving current processes. AI’s capabilities enable new methods, products, and business models.

Within this mindset lies the potential for game-changing innovations that transcend traditional limitations. Media companies can use AI to shift from basic recognition to predictive personalization, offering highly curated content based on user behavior. Health care providers can move from data analysis to proactive health interventions. Such strategic AI integration can help your organization redefine its current practices and pave the way for future breakthroughs.

Closing the loop for AI-forward leaders

Echoing the 1970s bionic visionaries, today’s organizations stand at the cusp of an AI-driven revolution. Armed with AI’s various strengths, progressive organizations that sync their AI initiatives with their core objectives aren’t merely adopting AI but evolving alongside it—pioneering the business of tomorrow.

Discover how Unisys and AI are rewriting the playbook of application modernization and boldly unlocking the limitless potential of AI. Make swift data-driven decisions, automate complex tasks, streamline processes and free up valuable employee time for strategic initiatives.

Suzanne Taylor, PhD, is Vice President, AI Portfolio, at Unisys.

Christina Mongan is Global Director, AI Portfolio, at Unisys.

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