AI Without the Hype: Realizing High-Value Business Transformations

Many companies feel that it’s time to take advantage of AI or face being left behind by industry competition and innovation. Sikich has grown its AI practice and developed AI solutions to help clients address their concerns since it became clear that the technology offered huge potential to help organizations transform and improve. Here’s a high-level summary of how AI figures into our client practice today.

All eyes on AI

When it comes to AI, remarkable statistics with ballooning numbers are an expression of the transformative potential companies and industries see in AI. According to McKinsey research, AI adoption across industries has more than doubled since 2017, and so has the number of AI capabilities companies use. Thirty-nine percent of the respondents rely on AI-enabled robotic process automation, and 24 percent use AI to power digital twins. Both of these applications for AI are of great interest to Sikich clients, especially the many manufacturers we work with. Also, 24 percent of the companies surveyed make use of AI to optimize service operations, a priority for our clients that focus on professional services as well as those who have added services to their manufacturing or distribution lines of business.

In manufacturing, the market for AI solutions, currently worth $2.3 billion, is expected to grow to $16.3 billion by 2027. Ninety-three percent of industrial manufacturing businesses report that they already use AI. Much like Sikich manufacturing clients, they look to AI to help them improve product quality, accelerate decision-making, reduce operational costs, and enable preventive maintenance services.

Delivering AI to the early adopters

At Sikich, we began exploring AI years ago, when the most innovative industry leaders explored it in pilot projects. Then, about five years ago, we made substantial investments in AI development and education when it became clear that Sikich partners like Microsoft and Oracle were going to build AI into their ERP systems and other technologies. By then, some of our clients were already intrigued by the promise of AI and what it might practically mean for them. For us, this was an opportunity to elevate our game and help clients create value from innovation.

Client organizations saw that we were ready to help them benefit from AI and put our expertise to work to do so at minimal risk and in a nondisruptive, affordable manner. They immediately began making requests for their top-priority AI use cases. Many of these focused on gaining complete visibility of operational, financial, and industry conditions to make the right decisions faster, improve business planning and forecasting, and bring data-fueled insight to business roles. Other companies were excited to see how AI could help them deliver top-quality customer services or make inventory control more accurate and less cumbersome. Capabilities like automation, data analytics, and predictive modeling played a large role in these initial AI forays—and still do today.

From ambitious goals to measurable results

As we worked with these clients, we learned how to identify meaningful opportunities for AI and find efficient ways to capitalize on them. Many companies own massive sets of data and produce more every day as they continue processing transactions and new applications and workloads generate additional data streams. They know that data is a business-critical asset and want to accomplish more with it, but until recently they might not have seen a path to doing so. Now, with AI, we can help them translate their ambitions and goals into intuitive, highly usable technology and transform how their business runs. Practically every business role and department, from HR, to finance and leadership, to the shop floor and distribution, can benefit from the visibility and decision enablement that become possible with AI.

Today, we often serve clients who initially may have been cautious to embrace AI. Like we do with other solutions, we assist them in building a solid business case for it, based on realistic returns and improvements. We help them define and track metrics to project and assess the ROI and other benefits from AI and other technologies we may deliver and implement for them.

AI as a matter of course

The current AI hype can easily obscure the fact that AI has been building momentum for a long time. As a discipline, AI continues to mature and grow, but many industrial and business applications for the technology have already proven their value and make people’s lives easier in many organizations. Sikich continues to invest in AI research and development as our technology partners integrate more AI functionality into their solutions and expand the horizon of what’s possible with AI.

No longer an exceptional capability, AI will be a core component of everyday solution and service delivery at Sikich. We’re taking a blended approach where AI is part of every technology conversation. Expect to hear about AI when you talk to Sikich consultants or work with us on ERP, CRM, data analytics, cloud, or other technology projects, when you modernize workforce technology, and when you plan on using our IT and security managed services. Soon, AI functionality will also be part of the best practice-based Sikich HEADSTART solution delivery methodology.

The pace of AI innovation can be breathtaking. As we use AI in our internal processes and deliver it to clients, we’ll want to keep an open mind for new developments and use cases that aren’t even on the horizon right now. If you have any predictions, hopes, or requests for what you would like AI to help you achieve—please tell us about them!

Ready to go?

If you want to explore transformative AI and technology opportunities in your organization, get in touch with us.

This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. In addition, this publication may contain certain content generated by an artificial intelligence (AI) language model. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

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