Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan touted the company’s continued investment in digitalization and technology initiatives during the bank’s fourth quarter earnings call earlier this month.

“Our digital capabilities continue to grow,” he said during the call, as he outlined plans to continue investment. “There’s always more to go.”

He highlighted potential applications for generative AI (GenAI) to help enhance productivity within the company. The bank has already rolled out GenAI features including Erica, an AI-powered virtual assistant, which is now used by nearly 20 million people.

“We have it in our coding shop. There are coders using it to continue to improve their effectiveness and learning it,” he said. “But there’s still care that must be taken on data and usage and models and accountability.”

During the company’s Q3 earnings call in October, Moynihan laid out plans to invest $3.8 billion on innovation in 2024.

“We’ve had algorithm machine learning type models all over our company for years,” Moynihan said.

He pointed to the billions the company has spent over the last 10 years on data cleanliness, data order and getting the data in the right place.

“[We’re] making sure it’s dependable [and] we’ve seen great promise,” he says. “We have high hopes for it.”

He pointed to the company’s continued investment in digitalization and reiterated the importance of focusing on the result for the bank’s customers.

Bank of America has also enhanced its business client experience by integrating the proprietary AI and machine learning capabilities from Erica into CashPro Chat.

The upgrade allows more than 40,000 corporate and commercial clients globally to leverage virtual assistance within the CashPro banking platform for transaction viewing, account information retrieval, and navigation of CashPro functionalities.

“We’re seeing the use of that grow,” Moynihan said. “And you can see the customers can interface and be comfortable with it. We are still trying to see if it really works [and] how much benefit it generates.”

A recent industry analysis by Evident revealed that North American banks, particularly Bank of America and Capital One, lead in global AI innovation, collectively holding over 70% of AI patents filed by banking companies since 2010.

While Bank of America’s digital transformation appears to be showing signs of success, a December 2023 survey from KPMG uncovered a significant majority of U.S. businesses have not experienced enhanced performance or increased profitability from their investments in digital transformation over the past two years.

The survey identified AI as the top technology for short-term goals, with 52% of U.S. businesses considering it the most crucial.

Despite this, survey respondents expressed less certainty about AI implementation compared to the previous year, attributed to the emergence of generative AI.

Scott Wheeler, cloud practice lead at Asperitas, explains there are multiple areas of misunderstanding that technology leaders experience when planning for digital transformation—among them a lack of clear vision and strategy and insufficient stakeholder engagement.

” A well-defined vision and strategy which aligns with overall business goals, is required for a digital transformation plan otherwise efforts can become disjointed and ineffective,” he says. “Digital transformation is not just about technology; it’s also about changing the organization’s culture way the organization manages software.”

Wheeler notes the most important thing to keep in mind for digital transformation planning in enterprises is the alignment of digital initiatives with the overall business strategy and objectives.

“This alignment ensures that the transformation process is not just about adopting new technologies, but about creating real value for the business,” he says.

“Focusing too much on the latest technologies without considering if they align with business needs will lead to wasted resources and initiatives that do not add value,” he adds.

When it comes to the integration of AI into digital transformation, it’s is not just a technological shift but also a strategic and cultural one.

“It requires careful planning, skilled resources, and a commitment to continuous learning and adaptation,” he explains. “Ensure that the use of AI is aligned with the broader business goals and objectives.”

AI should not be adopted for its own sake but should serve to enhance business processes, improve efficiency, or create new value for customers.

“Begin with small-scale pilot projects to test AI solutions in a controlled environment,” Wheeler says. “This allows you to assess the impact, understand the challenges, and gauge the readiness of your organization for wider AI integration.”