Summary of Using AI to Enhance Business Operations

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Using AI to Enhance Business Operations summary

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How can AI revolutionize operations at your company? For this report by Monideepa Tarafdar, Cynthia M. Beath and Jeanne W. Ross, MIT Sloan Management Review surveyed or interviewed senior IT executives and tech and innovation leaders from 106 companies in North America, Asia, Europe and Australia. Results revealed 51 cases where enterprise cognitive computing (ECC) was either in development, currently deployed or abandoned in the early stages. The analysis reveals the competencies and practices that your company should employ to get the most out of AI, ECC and the human employees who have to contend with a changing world.

About the Authors

Monideepa Tarafdar is a professor of information systems and codirector of the Centre for Technological Futures at Lancaster University Management School in the United Kingdom. Cynthia M. Beath is professor emerita at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business in Austin. Jeanne W. Ross is a principal research scientist at MIT Sloan’s Center for Information Systems Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Enterprise cognitive computing (ECC) is AI applied to business operations. It allows for faster analysis with more accurate and reliable results.

Every business deals with pesky, repetitive tasks that don’t necessarily require a human touch. Take customer calls, for example. Complicated or unique client requests still require the finesse of a human employee, but having the client talk with a machine can resolve 90% of customer calls on the first try. Fewer than 50% of callers who resolved their problems via machine never even realized the “person” on the other end wasn’t human. ECC can also successfully process loan applications, spot fraud in banking, find precedents pertinent to current legal cases, make predictions and recommendations for investors, create maintenance schedules for manufacturing equipment, and speed up pharmaceutical trials. Though ECC has immense potential, only about half of the senior executives surveyed said that their company was currently applying ECC, and only about half of those said that ECC had created a measurable difference in their businesses. Is ECC over hyped, or are these companies...

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