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The Sentient Enterprise by Thomas H. Davenport, Mohanbir Sawhney, Oliver Ratzesberger

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CHAPTER 7The Autonomous Decisioning Platform

Within the past couple of years, each of your coauthors happened to buy a new car from Tesla, the forward-thinking company mentioned in Chapter 1’s discussion on disruptive innovation. In comparing notes, it turns out we both were sold on the Tesla Autopilot feature that enables the car to steer itself within a lane, change lanes with the simple tap of a turn signal, and manage speed variations via traffic-aware cruise control.

The capabilities are such that we, as drivers, still ultimately need to handle most of the vehicle’s operation. But the days are numbered before cars can truly drive themselves—sensing their environment, anticipating changes in circumstances, and making their own decisions about what to do next. The days are also numbered before an entire company can use analytics to do pretty much the same thing.

This chapter brings us to the Autonomous Decisioning Platform, the fifth and final stage of our Sentient Enterprise capability maturity model journey. Here, our objective is to position the enterprise in such a way that analytic algorithms are navigating circumstances and making the bulk of operational decisions without human help.

In light of this goal, we believe self-driving cars merit closer scrutiny. That’s because the end state of having a fully autonomous vehicle involves a level of sentience not unlike what happens on the macro level for an entire organization as we approach the end state in our Sentient ...

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