Monday, September 18, 2017

Artificial Intelligence, Combined Actions and Digital Strategies

Fingerspitzengefühl: A German word used to describe the ability to maintain attention to detail in an ever-changing operational and tactical environment by maintaining real-time situational awareness. The term is synonymous with the English expression of "keeping one's finger on the pulse".  The problem with fingerspitzengefühl traditionally, in addition to pronouncing it, has been it is hard for an individual to scale up. Today that is changing.  In a world of sensors, AI and mobile devices, having real-time situational awareness is far easier than ever before.  In fact, today the challenge is not how to do it, but what to do with the massive volume of data that can be provided.

Data comes from many different sources, especially considering field services where work is often mobile, remote and dynamic.  If more data can be captured and added to a typical GPS coordinate (i.e. longitude, latitude and altitude) which is 3D and identifies location, then why stop at a 3D view of our situation when we can add so much more:
  1. Arrival Time
  2. Start and stop tasks times
  3. Travel times
  4. Traffic conditions
  5. Available workforces and associated costs
  6. Available equipment
  7. Activities
  8. Events
  9. Business process steps
  10. Expenses
  11. Health, safety and security steps
  12. Transactions
  13. Compliance tasks
  14. Performances against KPIs (key performance indicators)
  15. Actors (customers, partners, suppliers, contractors, employees, etc.)
  16. Relationships
  17. Contract/Agreements
  18. Supplies, materials and equipment tracking
  19. Projected profits now for this service
  20. Projected profits over the lifetime of the customer for this service
  21. Etc.
All of these data points can be added together into an algorithm as Performance Impact Variables (PIVs).  PIVs is the information that can be used as inputs to algorithms that can be used by real-time artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to optimize and manage the performance of the business in real-time.

Each of these layers of information exponentially increase the complexity, decision-making options and possible combinations.  This enormous volume of real-time data would quickly overwhelm the average human.  That is why non-humans, AI and software robots, can be used to such great effect to maintain productive situational awareness and strategic advantages in complex environments demanding real-time, fast and logical decision-making and action.  This is the future of field services.

Now let's continue to build on our strategies.  During the period between WWI and WWII, all Western countries developed or acquired tanks and military aircraft to support their infantry.  The Germans, however, went three steps further by adding:
  1. New Communications: Radios and frequencies for communicating between forces (tanks, infantry and aircraft) in real-time
  2. New Strategies: Strategies for coordinated actions between the three groups
  3. New Organizational Command Structures: Mission oriented command structures – Commanders define the mission “intent”, but the details of how to accomplish them were left to frontline officers.
In today’s world, companies seeking strategic advantages in field services operations can learn from these three historical innovations. The digital transformation equivalent of “New Communications” is OILS (optimized information logistics systems) that sense, collect, securely and wirelessly transmit data, analyze and report on it, and support artificial intelligence (AI) and automation.

The digital transformation equivalent of “New Strategies” is the ability to think differently to exploit the values provided by digital technologies.  Sensors and mobile technologies enable us to collect vast quantities of real-time data, analytics, AI and algorithms can be used to automatically and dynamically manage, monitor and adjust a whole series of activities and events such as: schedules, resources, tasks, jobs, orders, transactions, etc., instantly.  Are we using them?

The digital transformation equivalent of “New Organizational Command Structures” is changing roles and responsibilities based on what humans do best, and what automation and the power of AI can bring to the table.

When massive amounts of real-time data are systematically collected and analyzed, they can feed algorithms and AI systems to optimize real-time activities and events and change the way the business operates.  The speed at which data can be processed through OILS and AI systems today far exceeds human decision-making capabilities – so automation that works in digital-time is required. That is where AI excels.  AI can analyze all the inbound data in nanoseconds and instantly adjust and optimize operations.
Digital technologies without digital strategies are wasted, just like having tanks without the appropriate communications, strategies and command structures to accompany them.  Or like having tanks, mobile infantry and aircraft, but no coherent plan for using them together in combined actions. In my recent report, 40 Months of Hyper-Digital Transformation, digital laggards were found lacking in their return on investments (ROIs) when compared to digital leaders.  The differences, I believe, were in their lack of strategies, and combinatorial building blocks.

In the book, Stray Voltage, War in the Information Age, published in 2003, author Wayne Michael Hall defines two more PIVs - cyberspace and cerebral that we need to pay attention to. Here is an excerpt, "Information superiority is firmly connected to making decisions that are superior to an adversary's and combines information technology and intellectual power to create conditions with which to make better decisions…human beings will need to improve their thinking capabilities to cope with the increasing complexities of the world." Improvements in our thinking capabilities today can be found in the computing power and speed of artificial intelligence, big data analytics and machine learning.

Read more from Kevin Benedict at the Center for Digital Intelligence:™
  1. Competition, Artificial Intelligence and Balloons
  2. 7 Imperatives for Thriving During Digital Transformation
  3. What Artificial Intelligence Can Teach Us
  4. Speed as a Competitive Advantage in Digital Transformation
  5. Culture as a Competitive Advantage in Digital Transformation
  6. Digital Technologies and the Compression of both Time and Distance
  7. Patterns, Platforms and Automation
  8. Making the Hard Decisions in Digital Transformation
  9. Center for Digital Intelligence Interviews: Hitachi's Rob Tiffany on Industrial IoT 
  10. Digital Transformation and the New Rules for Start-Ups
  11. Digital Transformation and Leadership Development
  12. Digital Transformation and Competitive Decision-Making
  13. Combinatorial Nature of Digital Technologies and Legos
  14. Digital Transformation from 40,000 feet
  15. Winning in Chaos - Digital Leaders
  16. 13 Recommended Actions for Digital Transformation in Retail
  17. Mistakes in Retail Digital Transformation
  18. Winning Strategies for the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  19. Digital Transformation - Mindset Differences
  20. Analyzing Retail Through Digital Lenses
  21. Digital Thinking and Beyond!
  22. Measuring the Pace of Change in the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  23. How Digital Thinking Separates Retail Leaders from Laggards
  24. To Bot, or Not to Bot
  25. Oils, Bots, AI and Clogged Arteries
  26. Artificial Intelligence Out of Doors in the Kingdom of Robots
  27. How Digital Leaders are Different
  28. The Three Tsunamis of Digital Transformation - Be Prepared!
  29. Bots, AI and the Next 40 Months
  30. You Only Have 40 Months to Digitally Transform
  31. Digital Technologies and the Greater Good
  32. Video Report: 40 Months of Hyper-Digital Transformation
  33. Report: 40 Months of Hyper-Digital Transformation
  34. Virtual Moves to Real in with Sensors and Digital Transformation
  35. Technology Must Disappear in 2017
  36. Merging Humans with AI and Machine Learning Systems
  37. In Defense of the Human Experience in a Digital World
  38. Profits that Kill in the Age of Digital Transformation
  39. Competing in Future Time and Digital Transformation
  40. Digital Hope and Redemption in the Digital Age
  41. Digital Transformation and the Role of Faster
  42. Digital Transformation and the Law of Thermodynamics
  43. Jettison the Heavy Baggage and Digitally Transform
  44. Digital Transformation - The Dark Side
  45. Business is Not as Usual in Digital Transformation
  46. 15 Rules for Winning in Digital Transformation
  47. The End Goal of Digital Transformation
  48. Digital Transformation and the Ignorance Penalty
  49. Surviving the Three Ages of Digital Transformation
  50. The Advantages of an Advantage in Digital Transformation
  51. From Digital to Hyper-Transformation
  52. Believers, Non-Believers and Digital Transformation
  53. Forces Driving the Digital Transformation Era
  54. Digital Transformation Requires Agility and Energy Measurement
  55. A Doctrine for Digital Transformation is Required
  56. Digital Transformation and Its Role in Mobility and Competition
  57. A Revolution in Precision Through IoT, Analytics and Mobility
  58. Competing in Digital Transformation and Mobility
  59. Ambiguity and Digital Transformation
  60. Digital Transformation and Mobility - Macro-Forces and Timing
  61. Mobile and IoT Technologies are Inside the Curve of Human Time
Kevin Benedict
Principal Analyst, Futurist, the Center for Digital Intelligence™
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.