Traditional IT has to make way for the intelligence-based business model. In 2003 Nick Carr declared that IT had become a ubiquitous commodity with no competitive advantage. Since then cloud computing has eliminated any remaining strategic value in traditional IT organizations.

SwissCognitiveBarriers to access are all but gone. Today the essential functions of business are serviced by free or inexpensive and easy-to-use tools. Competitors have equal access to all the same IT and share the same pool of IT talent, which is increasingly outsourced.

In the cloud era the cost of switching to new tools is primarily cultural, not financial. Today, choosing between Slack and Microsoft Teams is like toiling over the choice to splurge on 3M brand Post-It notes or getting a deal on the generics. Can you imagine conducting a TCO analysis to help you decide on Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks coffee for the break room?

You are not going to outrun your competitors because you purchased better office supplies. Speed is now the commodity we’re all bidding for. To win you need to produce radical efficiency gains, the likes of which haven’t been seen since businesses went digital in the first place. Those gains will be brought to you by artificial intelligence.

The way forward: Intelligence technology

At the same time, adopting AI is going to take time and money. These don’t have to be net-new expenditures. If you still have line items in your budget for IT, now is the time to direct most of that to AI. IT isn’t going to disappear as we know it now, but it is going to have to become part of a larger strategy, integrated into an intelligent system. Intelligence technologies may just be the saving grace for making information technologies strategically relevant again.

There’s massive opportunity right now for companies that can bridge the ambition-execution gap in AI. In a recent report the Boston Consulting Group and MIT Sloan found that “only about one in five companies has incorporated AI into some offerings or processes.” The majority of executives surveyed (60%) say “a strategy for AI is urgent for their organizations.” So why do only 50% actually have one in place? […]