How Artificial Intelligence Will Play a Role in Corporate Performance Management

The internet, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, single cup coffee machines – all examples of disruptive technology. In the last few decades we, as users of such technology, have seen fiction become reality.

What’s next?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) certainly makes the list.

AI, as defined by Schatsky, Muraskin and Gurumurthy (2015), are the “cognitive technologies (that) extend the power of information technology to tasks traditionally performed by humans.” AI falls into three categories: Product, Process and Insight.

From a Corporate Performance Management (CPM) perspective, the ability to cognitively utilize mass amounts of data in the execution of cause and effect analysis, in a timely manner, could be a CEO’s most valuable tool. Early adopters could enjoy competitive advantage. Shareholders could invest with greater confidence, knowing that leadership decisions are reinforced by AI. Without question, industry insight, supported by AI, would truly have a global impact.

There are however, a list of challenges currently faced by this technology (Chui et al, 2018). Access to data and consumer privacy being the most prominent. Deep learning requires mass amounts of data, much of which is currently deemed private. Significant policy change and the fostering of consumer acceptance is required.  Furthermore, the skill set required to customize AI to align with an objective is very scarce (Ng, 2016).  

Considering the above constraints, Marketing, Sales, Supply Chain Management and Manufacturing segments may face the least resistance to AI change. Primary reason being, much of the related data or processes are internal to an organization.

Although making the leap to AI seems rather daunting, small steps lead to big changes.

As suggested by Schatsky et al (2015), “If a typical person can do a mental task with less than one second of thought, we can probably automate it using AI.” Our constant efforts to create or maintain competitive advantage will no doubt see AI enhanced CPM in the near future!