What is enterprise architecture? Enterprise architecture involves designing, improving, and maintenance of the information technology portfolio of an organization.

Enterprises face challenges in the era of digital transformation and using the enterprise architecture to reorganize operations brings more benefits including a coherent organizational control system.

Artificial intelligence is reshaping learning with the recent launch of AI-focused platforms by IBM an example of enabling better experiences for students and teachers. According to IBM surveys around the globe, students find AI important for their learning with others less interested or not prepared. Emerging technologies such as cloud and cybersecurity mean that the learning process should adapt to the new digital environment. Is generation Z ready to learn about the future of artificial intelligence?

IT investments in health care have shown to improve quality standards including good patient care and collaboration between care providers and patients. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the health care sector should learn from this experience and move towards a data driven model to harness the benefits of technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. The success of health care depends on operational efficiencies and investing in technology will create value across the board.

These and more insights on our AI Weekly Update

Enterprise Architecture

All businesses feature enterprise architecture, whether they are aware of it or not. Of course, possessing awareness is much better than lacking it. A planned and organized approach allows you to assume full control of your assets and tackle escalating complexities in the business environment.

Enterprise architecture¹ involves designing, improving, and maintaining IT infrastructure. It usually takes the form of a compound of multiple frameworks. And it is no longer limited to “keeping the lights on”. It represents a total methodology, one that can be visualized, described, and adopted. You can equip your organization with a coherent set of concepts and practices for success. And this is associated with a slew of proven benefits you cannot afford to miss out on.

A business organization is a composite of a host of different moving parts. Juggling them can be a daunting task, unless you have the right approach. The good news is you can use #enterprisearchitecture as the glue that holds your company together. No, it is not a silver bullet, but the benefits speak volumes about it’s utility. Adoption is a chance to bring order and structure to your business.

AI-enhanced Robotic Harvester

The agricultural robotics and artificial intelligence company Root AI announced new capabilities to its AI-enhanced robotic harvester as well as investments totaling more than $7 million. Now that the AI-enhanced robotic harvester has demonstrated enhanced dexterity to tackle crops of various shapes and sizes, the technology could help shore up these vulnerabilities.

In the past, Root AI has provided glimpses of its robo-harvester, known as Virgo, picking ripe tomatoes off the vine. In the latest video titled “Going Cross-Crop,” Virgo is shown picking cucumbers and strawberries in the field. In the accompanying press release, the company asserted that Virgo was the “world’s first robot ever to replicate a person’s ability to harvest multiple crops.”

In an indoor agriculture environment, Virgo can be situated on a track in between rows of various crops. As it navigates a greenhouse, the robot leverages a host of sensors as well as #artificialintelligence to analyze crop positions and ripeness and then uses a specialized gripper to pick produce once it is ready. The machine sees its environment in 3D using intelligent motion sensing². This data allows Virgo to determine an optimal route, through vines, leaves, other unripe crops, to pluck its target

AI-Focused Online Learning Platforms

IBM has launched three free AI-focused online learning platforms for young people and their teachers. The digital resources were created as a response to a survey that found Gen Z is interested in emerging tech, but feels unprepared to use it.

A survey of youths 14–18 years, finds that they are interested in working with emerging technology, but feel unprepared to do so. As a response, IBM has launched three new AI-focused online tools to teach young people about the future of artificial intelligence

IBM’s study of the cohort in 13 countries found that 68% of them think that AI will have a major impact on their lives, but half of that number (34%) said they do not feel properly equipped to use the technology that will make a large difference in their futures.

More than half, 56%, of young people surveyed said they were interested in tech careers, and 60% of those were interested in emerging tech³ areas like cybersecurity and the cloud. When it comes to any one area of interest, AI dominates with 59% wanting to learn more about it.

Cybersecurity and Pentesters

Despite #cybersecurity efforts, bad actors continue to find ways to hack businesses. Consequently, security efforts are focused on how to prevent these destructive breaches. Penetration testers (pentesters) were successful in breaching the network perimeter and accessing the local networks of 93% of companies, according to a recent report from the security information company Positive Technologies.

Pentesters are ethical hackers, hired by a company, who mimic the actions of criminal hackers⁴, and look for and find the areas of vulnerability within the company’s security. Given the assignment, it is best served when the client has a security system already in place.

Testing an external network, such as the internet, is called an external pentest. Pentesters try to find as many ways as they can to penetrate the local network, and the combination of external-and-internal network breaches represent 58% of hacks, and external alone, 19%.

Comparatively, in an internal pentest, attacks (23%) originate from inside the company, by testing, for example, typical employee privileges or with the physical access available to a random visitor. An internal pentest can determine the highest level of privileges an attacker can obtain.

Leveraging AI and ML for Sales Process

Customer attrition and churn are not new problems. Anyone who has spent time in the sales world has heard statistics around the cost of acquiring a new customer. It can be five to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.

More importantly, improving your customer retention by just 5 percent can increase profits by 25–95 percent, depending on your industry and company size. Needless to say, companies cannot afford to neglect their customer churn.

Today, many companies are intrigued by the idea of turning to artificial intelligence⁵ for help in the sales process. However, most do not know where or how to get started. The best way to tap into the power of AI and #machinelearning is by building an intelligent experience.

The intelligent experience is all about leveraging AI and ML to derive predictive insights that can be embedded into the workflow of a #CRM. Companies seeking a competitive advantage must find ways to make their business operations more intelligent. How can the intelligent experience help improve customer retention? It starts with a shift in focus.

Product Information Management

The e-commerce customer experience is made up entirely of data. The quality of the underlying data determines the quality of the experience. While this sounds obvious, in practice, many organizations have immature product information processes.

When they onboard new products, they do not manage product information in an adaptable, sustainable way. The result is dirty, incomplete and inconsistent data that undermines the ability of AI to deliver the optimal experience.

Product Information Management⁶ systems hold the information about products, including their relationships. They know which products are accessories to other products and which ones usually are used together. Yet this data is effective only if the onboarding process for new products is sufficiently rigorous to always include such relationships.

The more fine-tuned the taxonomy to unique customer needs, the more the site can offer AI-powered suggestions that lift yields. However, customized taxonomies often run afoul of rigid industry standards. The design of the taxonomy and the product onboarding process is therefore a delicate balance between standardized and site-specific elements.

The Digital Customer Experience

Optimized digital customer experiences can tip the balance toward gaining a purchase instead of losing a customer. Excellent CX⁷ has transitioned firmly from something nice to have to a business requirement.

No matter how good a product or service is, the #ecommerce Web and mobile design surrounding it will play a key role in maintaining engagement and ensuring consumers complete their shopping journey. Even the slightest friction, such as poor load speeds, can drive users away from a site, resulting in an immediate lost sale.

In fact, research shows that “53 percent of mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.” E-commerce businesses can optimize their CX by implementing effective design and technology tips and tricks.

E-commerce design best practices alter over time due to shifts in consumer behavior, such as the population increasingly choosing mobile devices over desktop to shop. It often does not matter how good your product or service offering is. If your site looks outdated, or if it is confusing to use from a consumer’s perspective, you will lose a sale.

Customer Relationship Management Systems

CRM systems have made progress but many organizations still end up with data that is no more useful than a contact management system, because they use it as a reporting structure. Because the data is garbage, most sales managers use it solely to check on the amount of activity, call volume, or other measures of efficiency, which can easily be interpreted as micromanaging. In an attempt to address that need, an entire industry of CRM consultants and product add-ons developed.

But they simply made the tool more cumbersome, more complex and more expensive, while simultaneously creating more points of failure. Do not get me wrong: The money in CRM consulting is good. Really good. The ecosystem is designed that way. So you, the customer, have to keep spending more and more money.

But working in CRM consulting is like running a traditional BBQ food truck at a vegan festival — people fiercely hated you and the product you served. Sales leaders need their reps to keep their data up-to-date so that they can have a clear view of the pipeline and be able to forecast accordingly.

Digitization of Healthcare

Technological innovations have transformed healthcare and public safety. Telehealth services, digitization of healthcare⁹ processes, and smart technologies and solutions have improved operational efficiencies, public awareness, and quality of patient care in many parts of the world. In the next few years, strategic investments in IT solutions and services in the healthcare and public safety sectors will pave the way for high-quality health and safety standards globally.

Today, the world is reeling from a wide range of challenges that need to be managed quickly and effectively. While the current pandemic has turned the world upside down, global unrest and limited access to healthcare in several parts of the world also need immediate attention from health and welfare agencies. Combating these challenges requires health and public safety agencies to develop robust road maps with digital technologies at their foundation.

Digital technologies can help shift health and public safety agencies from a “detect and respond” approach to a “predict and prevent” stratagem. They can also set the stage for a more connected and data-led approach through robust cybersecurity architectures, efficient remote workforces, and secure connectivity services.

Virtual Learning Strategies and Reskilling Programs

Reskilling is emerging as a critical initiative for IT leaders looking to strengthen their staffs for the other side of the coronavirus pandemic. And in accordance with social distancing practices, the training is happening 100 percent remotely.

Companies are beefing up their virtual learning strategies¹⁰ to augment skills in data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud and other technologies for which talent is in short supply. That gap, combined with the rapid evolution of technologies that can provide a digital edge, has companies investing in training current employees. The idea is to better prepare workers to accommodate changing business requirements, thus enabling the companies to better compete.

Fear and uncertainty triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak has heightened urgency around reskilling. Forty-three percent of employers added more courses, training material or users to their #reskilling programs during the coronavirus outbreak, according to a poll of 282 hiring managers and other executives at various companies conducted by researcher Talent LMS

Works Cited

¹Enterprise Architecture, ²Intelligent Motion Sensing, ³Emerging Tech, ⁴Criminal Hackers, ⁵Artificial Intelligence, ⁶Product Information Management, ⁷Excellent CX, ⁸Customer Relationship Management, ⁹Digitization of Healthcare, ¹⁰Virtual Learning Strategies