We are entering an era of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the enterprise: AI-enabled user experiences, AI-driven business processes and AI-optimized infrastructure. The number of connected devices is multiplying, and the amount of data being created is exploding. As we modernize our technology, applications and capabilities, forward-looking organizations are seizing the opportunity to apply AI, Machine Learning (ML) and automation to realize the promise of the digital future.
AI Has the Power to Deliver a Decisive Competitive Advantage
91% of the 700 global C-suite executives surveyed by Forbes Insights agree that AI adoption will help them outpace their industry rivals in the years ahead, and organizational investments are on the rise. In a survey of 4,600 business leaders conducted by Dell Technologies in collaboration with Intel, AI was cited fourth among new technology investments planned for the next three years in 2018 — up from eighth place in 2016.
Dell Technologies is uniquely positioned for the era of AI-enabled enterprise. As the world’s essential infrastructure company, we provide customers the products and solutions to unlock the power of their data. Furthermore, we are applying AI, ML and automation within our own global enterprise organization to simplify our business processes as well as make it easier for our customers to buy, sell and receive support for Dell technologies products and solutions.
The Dell Technologies Story: AI Within Corporate Strategy
As Dell Technologies nears $100 billion in revenue, our IT and eCommerce organizations, which we call Dell Digital, are transforming themselves to support a company of this scale. Called the Dell Digital Way, this transformational initiative is creating a tremendous shift in our organizational culture along with integrating a combination of new processes and technology.
Through our own digital transformation, we have identified three key areas to leverage AI to deliver on our corporate strategy:
Integration with Products
We are all witnessing the increasing pace AI is being integrated into the products we use day-to-day — from the apps on our phone to voice recognition in our home. Our latest Precision workstations, for example, feature the Dell Precision Optimizer 5.0, which uses machine learning and cognitive technologies to automatically set up the desktop experience for optimal performance based on the usage of that workstation. For organizations, it’s about products and solutions that simplify the deployment and management of AI workloads like our Dell EMC Ready Solutions. These bundles provide organizations with a Dell EMC-designed and validated set of best-of-breed technologies — including AI frameworks and libraries — as well as compute, networking and storage so they can rapidly drive adoption and optimization of their AI environments.
Automation of Manual Processes
To further competitive advantage, AI is being used to identify and automate manual processes. Reducing repetitive tasks within work can drive cost savings and improve productivity. And, automation can also increase customer loyalty and satisfaction through streamlined user-centered experiences. We found this to be the case when we automated our internal RSA token provisioning process. Now when a user requests a token their request is filled in less than 10 minutes versus three days when we were responding manually.
Rapid Delivery of Predictive Insights
An even more mature application of AI is the improvement of the ability of computing infrastructure and software to reason across larger datasets, think through more scenarios, and analyze data in more interesting ways — to quickly make sense of data and patterns to predict what you need and want, when you need and want it. AI is delivering insights to the business at a rapid pace, which in turn drives efficiency and better customer experiences. For example, on Dell.com we use AI and ML to filter multiple data streams — including hundreds of product offerings from the edge to the core to the cloud — and then to identify and recommend the best products to meet our customers’ needs.
Preparing Your Enterprise for AI-enablement
As AI begins to deliver results and draw interest from all areas of the business, it introduces a host of net-new requirements and challenges. AI is changing the way we develop products, the pace we develop products, and the way our products go to market. Like our customers, Dell has seen a surge in AI activity across our business — multiple teams experimenting with AI across hundreds of AI-driven projects. As with most digital transformation endeavors, we’ve learned successful AI-enablement requires more than just a technology strategy; it requires the transformation of an organization’s people, processes and technology.
Here are the changes we’ve made to extract real business value from AI:
The consumerism of IT is raising user experience expectations. Today’s business users want an experience as good as they encounter as a consumer. To deliver this, we’ve organized our teams to increase collaboration with our business partners. We have introduced small balanced product teams that include team members from the business as well as data scientists. These teams thrive on data and use it to make decisions, which allows them to continuously delivery capabilities that they know their users want.
The function of IT is changing to leverage the speed of AI-driven capabilities. Previously, when a business partner had a problem or idea, they’d create a Business Requirement Document outlining their capability goals to share with IT. That document would then get translated into technical requirements and then those requirements would be put in a plan. That plan would then be placed in a program to be executed by a team. Then, months or even years later, depending on complexity, the capability would be delivered to the business, only to hear, “that’s not really what we are looking for,” or that business priorities had changed. Today, we can respond swiftly to what the customer is experiencing. AI-driven processes and machine learning help to analyze multiple data streams and provide real-time insight into what needs to be changed as well as changes that will have the most impact — enabling rapid response to the business’s needs.
The software and infrastructure to process, manage and optimize large data sets are costly. Duplicative, siloed experimentation across an organization is inefficient and expensive. At Dell, we’ve created an AI Center of Excellence — a coalition of data scientists from every facet of the business — to keep a pulse on the landscape of AI in the organization and establish data science standards. In parallel, we’re creating an AI platform that drives efficiency through shared infrastructure, tooling, models and data sets. This AI platform allows data scientists to innovate independently while accelerating the advancement of the AI practice across all of Dell.
Our Transformation Is Helping Us Help you
We’ve made a real transformation in the last year — and I’m proud to say we are exemplifying what can be accomplished by our customers — by transforming our people, processes and technology to produce better experiences and products for our team members and customers, and better outcomes for the businesses we support.