target audience: TECH BUYER  Publication date: Jan 2023 - Document type: IDC Perspective - Doc  Document number: # US50001522

How to Create a Three-Year AI/Automation Technology Road Map


  • Alizabeth Calder Loading
  • Serge Findling


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This IDC Perspective provides practical insight and actionable methods for creating a high-value, three-year AI/automation road map. AI-powered services are improving workforce productivity, reducing operating costs, improving operational compliance, and improving management insight, including providing insights into consumer behavior and trends. There is, however, a gap in organizational preparedness to be successful. Savvy IT leaders can orchestrate the highest value AI/automation road map by proactively driving a well-aligned portfolio of IT and business investments. Short-term, targeted initiatives should drain the list for known opportunities where high volumes of data, rules-based processes, and repetitive actions make AI and automation an easy business case. Business partnerships, particularly those crossing organizational boundaries, should leverage new strategies and operational technology (OT) investments to build sustainable capabilities for the entire organization.

By building on a clear AI-centric data and architecture view and leveraging COE disciplines for thought leadership and continuous talent development, the CIO can serve a critical strategy and conscience role for the organization to take advantage of every dollar spent and every environment touched over time. A high-value AI/automation road map helps all parts of the organization progressively make faster and more impactful AI and data investments for leverage at all process and technology touches, including through periods of maintenance and support. The test of the three-year AI/automation road map is whether there are measurable outcomes that demonstrate alignment of the right business questions with the myriad of technologies, automation methods, and data sources available.

"AI is not a product that can be bought and installed. It is the highly integrated build over time of progressively intelligent data sources that can be machine-analyzed to improve decision making, adapt operational processes, and automate both internal activities and customer-facing interactions," says Alizabeth Calder, adjunct research advisor with IDC's IT Executive Programs (IEP). "IT leaders provide critical thought leadership for the organization by building the organization and governance necessary to proactively bring together high-value business opportunities with the progressive development of mature capabilities across the business. To be successful over the next three years, organizations must oversee every new and steady-state investment through the lens of how the investment is leveraging AI and data."


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