AI – the next Big Data?

There is no doubt about it; everyone is talking about AI.  There has even been a BBC Panorama programme, and everyone wants to either know about it or be part of it. But is the current AI ‘revolution’ going to be the next Big Data drop off?

We have been here before; massive hype cycles that lead to disillusionment from customers and problems from customers. I’m firmly pointing a finger a ‘Big Data’ here, the biggest white elephant in the room, which has so deftly proved to be a massive failure for both customers and vendors alike (the dearth of happy & useful case studies and the shrinking vendor landscape is apt proof of this) and I worry that we are at risk of doing this again.

I regularly talk to customers who have massive expectations of AI, and rightly so.  When we see what is truly possible using real AI, the opportunities are huge. But we are a long, long way from this at the moment.  Customers who invest in AI at this juncture, especially in the hope that it will solve the challenges presented by the big data failure; will be disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong; I think AI will be great. But once again, the IT industry will shoot itself in the foot by over promising and under delivering, as we have done so many times before.  What we are currently talking about is the automation of small, menial tasks by programmes and code; not a solution that will learn and adapt without human intervention.

One of our key tenets here are at Zizo is that ‘the work has to be done somewhere’ – from either a data perspective or even a digital transformation one.  Can we really expect an organisation that struggles with basic data analysis to suddenly ‘trust’ an AI and its decisions? Do we really understand what data we have, where it resides and how good it is? And if we don’t, should we be putting that data anywhere near anything that automates a process?

So what can we do? Think about what we want to achieve using the data that we have, and then understand where that data is and what state it is in.  Develop a key understanding of the data, and then put it into the heart of your business. Then, once you understand and have proven the power of the data, automate and utilise to improve. That’s the true road to being Data Driven and eventually, using AI.


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