What I’m about to say may sound counterintuitive given the title of the article you’re reading, but there’s no such thing as AI. 

Now that I’ve got your attention, let me clarify: There’s no such feature called AI. If you think that AI is a feature you can add to your product or service and just keep chugging along with whatever your current business is, you can stop reading right now.

AI is evolving rapidly, and the world, humans, and businesses will have to evolve to keep up with and truly benefit from the advances in AI we’re going to see. The synthesis of AI and analytics will have profound effects on every company that uses data in its mission. (And because every company is becoming a data company, that means every company.) 

The upshot is that AI will seamlessly infuse actionable intelligence from analyzed data into human workflows, products, services, and experiences. It will become the water we all swim in, helping reduce decision fatigue and giving humans the benefits of immense data stores without hours spent in front of dashboards. Technology is useless unless it directly benefits humans — let’s dive into how the synthesis of analytics and AI will make this happen.

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AI infusion: Democratizing access to intelligence; evolving companies

Futurist Peter Diamandis says this regarding technology and scarcity: “When seen through the lens of technology, few resources are truly scarce; they’re mainly inaccessible.”

Think about your own company and the data you’ve collected, acquired, or bargained for access to — odds are it’s anything but scarce. In the time you’ve been reading this article, your data stores have increased, maybe by quite a large amount. The data that holds the key to your company’s next evolution could have just been ingested and may be waiting, even now, to change your company and the world.

The problem is access. In a recent survey conducted by Harvard Business Review (commissioned by Sisense), 77% of respondents said access to data was vital to the success of their business. However, of that same audience, a paltry 16% reported that data access was widespread throughout their organization. 

AI for all graph

To make matters worse, 61% of respondents said that the lack of sufficiently skilled workers stands in the way of their analytics goals. The promise of data democratization, putting the power of analytics and data into the hands of every worker, has stalled out. The next phase, analytics infusion (and eventually AI-augmented analytics infusion) neatly solves both these problems and has officially become business critical. 

Delivering next-level results, seamlessly

Users care about end results, not companies or software. (This is a scary thought for a software company.) That’s why at Sisense, we’re focused on the infusion of AI-augmented intelligence: analytics systems that are so well-trained that they give users what they need, when they need it, without them having to ask (or maybe even realizing what they needed in the first place). 

As our personal technology and lifestyles continue to evolve, so too will the ways in which we access intelligence at the individual, team, and corporate levels. Every piece of workflow-critical software on the market has analytics and data features of some kind, which can even be enhanced by building custom analytics widgets into them. This type of in-workflow enhancement allows the user to get the critical, actionable intelligence they need where, when, and how they need it.

What we’ve just described only gives users something they know they need. What about revealing hidden insights? AI elements within analytics systems already help users combine datasets or make analytics connections to surface enhanced insights. Future AI systems will be even more proactive, scrubbing immense datasets that humans couldn’t possibly grapple with and serving up actionable intel. 

Imagine you’re working in sales and doing call after call, recorded in a system like Gong. Your manager might listen to a few calls, but they don’t have time to listen to every call every team member makes. An AI system can, though! An intelligence analytics system will be able to understand, at scale, when reps are on or off message and how their word choices or examples correlate with their overall success rate, when combined with a variety of other factors.

Future sales reps will have AI assistants who prompt them in real time with data points or examples that have proven successful in the past with similar clients. This will help reduce decision fatigue and let the human focus on what only the human can: making connections, empathizing, and trying to build mutually beneficial relationships. 

And this chain of benefits goes up the ranks within a company: The manager is presented with insights from across the whole team, which the AI system has learned make the most sense and are positively associated with past success (and maybe even present successes at similar companies, depending on the data the system has access to).

Eventually, intelligent systems in the smartphones and workflow-critical software of the C-suite members surface actionable intelligence to them. This small cluster of high-level leaders, whose decisions have an outsized influence on the direction of their companies, will choose from a range of options narrowed down by their virtuous, well-trained virtual assistants. Decision fatigue affects humans at all levels and in every walk of life, and AI systems will help reduce that fatigue and present the best options for the humans involved. 

Augmenting reality with augmented analytics: Toward a better future

Artificial intelligence is the future. Frankly, it’s the present, only it hasn’t been implemented everywhere just yet. The day is rapidly approaching when AI systems will become persistent, always-on, and involved in many (maybe every?) aspect of daily life and work tasks. The companies that realize this ahead of time and start implementing actionable intelligence, augmented by AI systems, into their workflows now will have a decisive advantage over their competitors in the years to come. 

When augmented analytics systems, powered by properly programmed AI systems, are connected with the right data stores, the results are nothing short of world changing. Embrace the change, empower your colleagues and users, and become part of the force that will change the world for the better. 

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Scott Castle is the VP of Strategy at Sisense. He brings over 25 years of experience in software development and product management at leading technology companies including Adobe, Electric Cloud, and FileNet. Scott is a prolific writer and speaker on all things data, appearing at events like the Gartner Enterprise Data Conference, Data Champions, and Strata Data NYC.

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