3 technologies that boost organizational resilience

Here’s why explainable AI, process automation, and decision automation are key to success in 2023 and beyond
1 reader likes this.
Phone, TV, Microchip, bullseye, rocket ship, and light bulb

When planning for 2023, many business leaders based their decisions on one core goal: building a resilient business model. And amidst an economic downturn and continuing recovery from the pandemic, today’s CIOs have plenty of challenges to contend with.

Customer retention, employee engagement, and IT bandwidth are three issues holding back many teams. But these roadblocks can be overcome with the right technology mix to enable a flexible and easily adaptable path forward.

Looking ahead, CIOs should lean on the following dynamic, user-accessible suite of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered tools to remain resilient.

1. Explainable AI for customer retention

As a CIO, you must make critical business decisions every day, many of which require quick turnaround times. Many leaders lean on machine learning (ML) to reach conclusions faster via must-know patterns and insights. But in 2023, CIOs should take their technology mix one step further by leveraging explainable AI.

Unlike traditional ML, which merely delivers a prediction and confidence score, explainable AI takes decision-making one step further by unlocking the “why” behind the given prediction. Explainable AI offers companies the opportunity to look inside the “black box” of decision-making, upping the level of trust behind ML algorithms and gaining confidence in its suggested path forward. This additional insight enables CIOs to more easily trace negative and positive outcomes to their sources, helping companies weather the recession via customer retention.

[ Also read Digital transformation: 3 guiding principles for 2023. ]

In the insurance industry, for example, explainable AI can help insurers stay ahead in the competitive marketplace by keeping up with customers’ ever-changing preferences. Consider an AI model that indicates a customer might move to a competitor. With only black-box ML, it’s easy to accept defeat. But with explainable AI, it may reveal that the customer is particularly price-conscious, suggesting that offering a lower rate could significantly reduce the chance of losing their business.

The sophistication of explainable AI technology allows teams to be proactive and strategic about adhering to customer needs, thereby maintaining loyalty and helping keep revenue up during economic volatility.

2. Process automation for employee engagement

From spreadsheets to emails to paper forms, it’s easy to get caught up in the manual, day-to-day tasks required to keep a business running. But organizations thrive only when employees can focus on what actually matters: deepening customer relationships and delivering tangible business outcomes.

With process automation, leaders can streamline workflows, simplifying notoriously error-prone and time-consuming tasks such as employee/customer onboarding and inventory management.

In the retail industry, process automation can be leveraged to streamline the claims resolution process and increase employee efficiency. Getting reimbursement for returned merchandise has historically been a challenge for retailers nationwide because it typically requires complex, detailed documentation. Instead of using manual spreadsheet files to cover gaps in disconnected legacy systems, retailers can adopt end-to-end machine management. This eliminates human effort and the associated time and errors while also improving the customer experience. It also eases employees’ daily responsibilities and allows them to focus on more meaningful work, a core component of fostering an engaged, productive, and successful workforce.

3. Decision automation for developer bandwidth

Business decisions are never black and white, but automation can help leaders reach conclusions more efficiently. To get automation right, a set of rules must be codified and continually refined by skilled programmers, which historically bogs down development teams.

Decision automation allows rules and calculations to be updated easily and without complex code modifications, empowering non-technical users to author, test, deploy, and manage complex rules logic. This gives much-needed bandwidth back to IT departments, which is especially important as resources are stretched amidst the recession.

In the healthcare industry, leveraging decision logic can help organizations gather and send data in seconds rather than hours while ensuring they remain compliant with the ever-evolving regulatory changes.

For example, the ability to instantly validate and enrich patient data and send/receive electronic health records (EHRs) to multiple databases, such as pharmacies, healthcare partners, and other parties, would typically require extensive IT maintenance and time-consuming processes. But with decision-making, non-technical users can author and edit business rules with little or no involvement by developers, to process hundreds of thousands of data transactions in a day.

Building a resilient enterprise

Strategy pivots often take a great deal of time and thought, but the outcome is generally worth the effort. In times of uncertainty, it is critical to replace business practices that no longer deliver value with purpose-driven processes. Now is the time to make smart investments to stay ahead of the competition. CIOs should prioritize technologies with significant ROI in terms of finances and team bandwidth.

[ Learn the non-negotiable skills, technologies, and processes CIOs are leaning on to build resilience and agility in this HBR Analytic Services report: Pillars of resilient digital transformation: How CIOs are driving organizational agility. ] 

Rik Chomko is co-founder and CEO of InRule Technology, an intelligence automation company providing integrated decisioning, machine learning, and process automation software to the enterprise. Rik started the company in 2002 with CTO, Loren Goodman. He became Chief Executive Officer in 2015 after serving as Chief Operating Officer since 2012.