Digital Transformation and Artificial Intelligence – What is It? (Part 1)

Simply described, digital transformation is the integration of digital solutions to the very core of our business, changing how it operates by creating new business processes, client or donor experience, or organizational culture. Digital transformation makes it possible to reimagine how to use technology, people, and processes to move your organization forward in new ways. A good example of digital transformation is cloud computing – for example, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system (such as Salesforce), is integrated with an automated email marketing solution (such as Marketo or Hubspot), which is then further linked to a third-party donation tool (such as Fundly or PayPal) that tracks who donated, when, how much, and finally integrated to an accounting system (such as Sage Intacct or QBO) – all linked and automated in the cloud.

A part of digital transformation that has advanced rapidly in the last few years is Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines and computer programs capable of learning and problem solving in the ways that require human intelligence.

There are different areas of AI:

  • Machine and Deep Learning – In machine learning, a program can make decisions based on a provided data set. Deep learning is the next level of machine learning, where a program can analyze data acting very much like a human brain.

  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA) - RPA refers to software that can be easily programmed to do basic, repetitive tasks, collaborating with different applications.

  • Predictive Analytics - The use of data and machine learning techniques to identify the likelihood of future outcomes based on historical data.

  • Blockchain – This technology allows organizations and individuals to make instantaneous transactions without any intermediaries (such as funds transfers). These transactions are completely secure, and the record cannot be altered.

Whether we recognize it or not, the digital age has already arrived and is here to stay. Vendors such as banks, accounting systems, consultants, and auditors are already applying AI in their practices. The AI age is making our processes more efficient already and we can look forward seeing this technology progress.

With change comes uncertainty, and although employees’ roles will alter, this is an opportunity to grow by embracing new technology and acquiring additional skills. Stay tuned for our next newsletter where we will expand on digital transformation!

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