Artificial Intelligence (AI) has no limits. Its continuous evolution suggests there will always emerge disruptive use cases to reshape the future of business, gain competitive advantages, learn exactly what customers need, and make informed decisions in real time.
Latin American companies are not exempt from this trend. A recent study conducted by NTT DATA and MIT TR en español reported that 80% of the companies in the region are already using this technology. Although we are still behind the United States and China in maturity levels, their adoption rate is growing faster than the global average.
What are the keys to accelerating the adoption of this technology? Not to fear mistakes, to be eager to do, to try and learn, and, fundamentally, to decide to invest in AI. Investments should focus on two aspects. The first is the search, development, and implementation of the best use cases to drive the business in accordance with the strategy, purpose, and priorities of each company. The focus must be on the long term, with a structured action plan that provides an organizational-level perspective.
Organizational maturity and scalability
The figures are encouraging and give us reason to be optimistic. The growing interest in Machine Learning Operations (MLOps) is one of the major findings of this study. MLOps is a framework that accelerates the implementation of AI initiatives and increases efficiency throughout the development process. Companies in the region are no longer "testing" AI but have advanced to the stage where they seek the industrialization stage of its use at the organizational level.
Hopefully, in the following study, there will be an improvement in maturity levels: the study revealed that only 50% of the companies have defined the appropriate business criteria and indicators to measure the benefits of AI initiatives. However, this is a crucial aspect for new AI projects; organizations must understand the benefits of previous investments.
Another issue highlighted is the concern about the ethical and responsible use of AI. This has two main reasons: pressure from the companies' end clients, who are concerned about privacy and the use of their data, and the emergence of increasingly specific and comprehensive regulations.
The tip of the iceberg
In the region, there are two outstanding use cases: advanced data analytics to gain valuable insights from existing data and generate predictive or prescriptive scenarios for decision-making and conversational AI with assistants using human language. There is still a lot to explore, for example, robotics.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. As companies gain maturity, they can exploit the benefits of this technology in their businesses. In this journey, it is crucial to have the support of an expert partner who can help the company think strategically about the future - how the organization prepares to adopt and gain value through AI, how roles are assigned, how use cases are defined, prioritized and implemented - as well as how to create and implement the solutions.
The second plan is training and coaching people to scale the skilled talent available.
The study is connected to the world of talent, thus dismissing one of the major concerns about AI: the impact on job losses is practically zero, and strategies have been implemented to help people whose roles have been automated to capitalize their work on higher value-added activities or to rethink their position within the company. In the mid-term, the challenge lies in being capable of developing new capabilities and new jobs as AI automates traditional functions. The historical capacity of adaptation of human beings gives us an indication that this goal is achievable.
An unstoppable trend
AI is a critical success factor for Latin American companies to lead in the future of the market. It is not a question of how to use it but what to do with it to maximize business value.
It is an unstoppable trend, and more than that, it tends to accelerate and grow. There will always be more AI in our lives to increase productivity and efficiency, and we, as a society, will have the mission to transform ourselves to coexist with this technology. This will be seen in all its splendor in the business environment. There will be practically no processes not optimized by AI technologies. Indeed, the future will be smarter.