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When Datapoints the Way- AI and The Future of Strategic Decision Making

Jul 23, 2019

If you understood the wordplay in the title, you're well aware of the massive impact that artificial intelligence is going to have on future business decisions across the world. This is just the tip of the iceberg as industry experts point out. According to the McKinsey survey of nearly 3000 business leaders spanning 160 case studies across 10 countries, in 2016 alone, AI initiatives reached investment between $26bn and $39bn, with external investments growing by a factor of 3x within three years prior. 41% of companies in the survey are piloting AI projects while developing their decision-making capabilities and reducing transaction processing times drastically.

So, the big, lingering question is, where does the business strategist fit into the grand scheme of AI implementation?

At the very top of the food chain, actually. Business Strategy managers and consultants are the spearheads that CxOs are looking at to advise and eventually implement data driven business strategies that not only focus on the top and bottom lines of the organization, but also provide a much needed data driven decision making approach. Volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity have made their all-pervasive impact in the current corporate landscape. CxOs who are yet to catch up are increasingly looking at tech-savvy business strategists to guide them in the story of their sustainable economic growth.

THE GREAT MINDSET SHIFT

THE 2010s witnessed the demise of the Mr. know-it-all CEO. Reliance on technology and data driven business strategy are at the forefront of decision making today right at the leadership levels. Across boards and sectors, the increasing importance of business strategists and consultants is being noticed by all and sundry and the day isn’t far when they will come to rely entirely on data driven business strategists to make the right decisions for them. This marks a major shift in mindset, and the consulting and strategy world knows it. It’s not a matter of time in the future, it’s the present. Borne testimony to this fact is that AI driven decision making is faster, more accurate, has foresight beyond human capabilities and is the weapon of choice for strategy professionals worldwide today.

WHAT THE BUSINESS STRATEGISTS NEED TO DO ABOVE ALL THINGS

TLDR: Forget the technical mind-set. Technology and data are mere tools from which they need to derive actionable insights and intelligence for rapid and sustainability of growth, regardless of the sector that they operate in the business perspective is the be-all and end-all of this game. Superlative business strategy skills that synchronize with AI complemented decision making will thrive, while the rest will fall by the wayside.

WHAT INDUSTRY EXPERTS ARE SAYING

Chatbots and automated, hyper personalized communications with customers and other stakeholders are already an era gone by. The next step is in building customer responsive products that cater to their immediate needs. AI leads the way in providing actionable data from millions of data points that help the business strategy professionals in placing their organizations or clients on a high growth trajectory, which is, again, sustainable. AI systems now sense communication patterns on social media, customer behavior, supplier and employee behavior and even employee productivity levels to accurately predict every possible outcome for a business decision. Business leaders are increasingly looking at tech savvy business consultants and strategists to interpret these decisions and advise them on the right course of action in real time. Artificial Intelligence in business strategy has gotten real, as an MIT Sloan 2018 research report proudly proclaims – major trends include the pioneers pushing through new boundaries while simultaneously bringing numerous business functions in the AI fold. 88% of respondents surveyed reported using AI in business strategies and functions over the past year, and driven by the results, are on a mission to scale even greater heights in their implementation initiatives.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE CAREER ASPIRANT

So where does this leave the aspiring business strategy professional? They can leverage the insights, take action on recommendations, scale their operations research and even program their execution at an unprecedented scale, something the business world has never seen. In fact, the biggest employers across the planet are cherry picking certified business strategy professionals with a sound business acumen for AI driven decision making, at some of the highest salary packages ever seen since the dot com boom of the 90s. If you’re not upping your game even as you read this, prepare to lose out on one of the biggest career opportunities of this decade, or perhaps even, this century.

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