Even comparatively non-technical users know that computers run operating systems. Known in the trade as an OS, the operating system (Windows, Apple OS X, Android on mobile and various distributions of open source Linux such as Ubuntu and Fedora) acts as the intermediary layer between a computing device’s hardware and its software applications.
Companies, on the other hand, run on management boards staffed by C-suite executives.
Still essentially dedicated to functioning as the intermediary layer between both hard (premises, plant & product etc.) and soft (people, Intellectual Property, brand reputation & goodwill etc.) enterprise assets, the C-suite is responsible for the day-to-day Input/Output of the company in much the same way as the OS that is central to your computer.
But, as we know, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is on the rise and that onus for the board to take all the decisions inside any given organization is shifting. The problem is, we need to know which decisions we give to AI first, what enterprise systems we expose to AI… and what order we do it all in.
Automating operational decisions
Mountain View-headquartered Aera Technology thinks it has some of the answers. The company says that organizations can start to become what it calls ‘self-driving’ enterprises by using a suite of cognitive digital decision skills called the Aera Cognitive Operating System.
Not an OS in sense of Windows, Android or any human exec in a suit, this is a technology platform that has recently been augmented with what Aera has called its Cognitive Decision Board product. This is software that allows companies to automate how operational decisions are made, augment their impact and ensure they are acted on quickly.
Aera claims to solve a fundamental legacy business problem you can find in many companies: there are too many enterprise technology systems yielding too much disparate data that can’t be analyzed and synthesized to make real-time decisions. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tools exist alongside Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technologies, warehouse management systems, advanced planning systems plus there is also data from external sources such as supply chain shipping info, weather, social media sentiment and so on — all of which, combined, have created an integration nightmare for firms that experience this situation.
Aera explains that its cognitive operating system for the self-driving enterprise provides a solution with an outside-in approach, connecting silos of data within complex enterprise systems, using AI, machine learning and proprietary data-crawling technology. The firm claims that slower-moving legacy companies are transformed to perform as quickly as digital native companies.
“Executives understand the urgency for organizations to become digital at their core,” said Frederic ‘Fred’ Laluyaux, CEO, Aera Technology. “Aera’s Cognitive Skills not only allow them to do so but also transform the very nature of how they operate.”
Explaining how this technology works in more technical terms, Aera applies a type of ‘crawler’ monitoring system capable crawling (hence the term) through an organization’s transactional data records. It is capable of looking at different types of data from different company systems (ERP, CRM, HR and so on) and then ‘normalizing and indexing’ that data via Aera’s Cognitive Data Layer so that it can be exposed to an AI and machine learning engine which will provide the basis of the intelligence that leads it to create a business decision. Depending on the mission-critical nature of the business decision itself, the action to take execute that decision can be fully automated or passed onward to a human being for final approval or rejection.
According to a product update statement from the company itself, “With Aera’s Cognitive Workbench, announced Fall 2018, organizations had a new way to digitize their decisions, providing personalized, time-sensitive, contextual recommendations to drive capital efficiency, productivity, growth and customer satisfaction. Aera maintains full memory of the sequence of actions resulting from them and their economic impact and learns over time. The release of Cognitive Decision Board allows managers to understand and improve the effectiveness of decisions augmented by Aera.”
Aera says that executives can now monitor high-priority and time-sensitive opportunities, drill down on how decisions are made, understand their impact and ensure they are acted on in a timely manner.
We still need humans, for now
In what is perhaps one final parallel, your computer operating system won’t fully surf the web independently without you being there, write word documents for you while you are asleep and decide what fields to use when creating a new spreadsheet. We do still need human beings for now, just about. In the same way, Aera is not seeking to replace the C-suite or indeed any workers, it is seeking to improve decision making in the workplace and to drive productivity.
Your computer still runs an operating system — with the rise of AI, your employer might be running one too.