How augmented intelligence will affect digital transformation

15 Dec 2020

Jon Payne, InterSystems. Image: James Pike/

InterSystems’ Jon Payne spoke to about where digital transformation trends are going and how augmented intelligence will play a key role.

Most will be familiar with the concept of digital transformation and how it has accelerated across virtually every sector this year, but healthcare in particular has stood out as one of the most affected areas.

Looking ahead, Jon Payne, manager of sales engineering at healthcare data management firm InterSystems, said the growth of augmented intelligence will allow for faster decision-making in the future.

“Augmented intelligence is the application of predictive modelling and machine learning to supplement and assist people in decision-making by making actionable, analytical information available,” he explained.

This differs from artificial intelligence, which works autonomously, because it gives humans the information they require in order to make the decisions themselves.

“This is increasingly common in healthcare to assist clinicians and perhaps more familiar in vehicles, giving the driver a more supervisory role,” Payne added. “We see it too in voice assistants, where responses have gone from answering general queries to addressing more specific questions.

“In business, the speed at which decision-making needs to occur is accelerating and so augmented intelligence can assist here, automating the provision of relevant insights and suggested actions.”

‘The data-driven approach has to be embedded at the most senior level’

As tech continues to develop at a rapid pace, Payne said that if senior business leaders are not involved in digital transformation efforts, they could be out a job in a relatively short period of time. “Now is the time for them to examine whether the organisation is digitally agile and using analytics to inform decision-making and delivery of services to customers,” he said.

“If not, then their organisation must change. The data-driven approach has to be embedded at the most senior level. Business leaders must realise that if, for example, they have a website that does not enable completely seamless ordering, customers will migrate to a competitor within minutes – it’s not a difficult concept to grasp.”

He added that this acceleration is why augmented intelligence may be so important for senior management as we look ahead to 2021 and beyond. “Data-driven organisations are the outstanding successes of our time, such as Ant Group and AWS.

“Deals can be done much more rapidly when senior leaders have confidence in the data and the analytics. This is a profound change, leading to an immense gap between companies that have embraced the digital world and those without access to analytics.

“The speed of decision-making necessitated by world-wide digital adoption has accelerated and you need information to support that rate of change and remain competitive, especially at the senior level. For those embedding digital transformation in their organisations, the benefits are enormous.”

Covid-19’s effect on future trends

As we look ahead to future trends, it would be remiss not to acknowledge the events of the past year. Overall, Payne said Covid-19 has triggered long-term structural changes that will affect the next several years. He expects everything, from transport to the way governments interact with the public, will undergo some degree of digital transformation.

“The ‘fail fast’ approach has also been more accepted, the most high-profile example being the NHS Covid phone app. Although this had to be withdrawn, there is nothing wrong with that – you have to take risks and sometimes they do not pay off,” said Payne.

“What is not acceptable is not being able to make quick judgments quickly because you lack the data and the analytics. If you are in that position, you will lose out hugely.

“Major business people have already discovered they can complete deals worth billions of dollars far more quickly than ever because they have the data and the analytics at their fingertips and can use video-conferencing tools. The analytic enterprise is becoming much more common as its success is transparent.”

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic