Most AI initiatives never reach their full potential. They don’t deliver results in time, have their budgets slashed, or are written off as project failures. But the main culprit isn’t that the tech isn’t advanced enough (it is), or that it's too expensive (it doesn’t have to be). It’s all about culture.
While the pandemic-driven technology transformation is accelerating faster than ever, corporate cultures are lagging. For AI initiatives to succeed, business leaders need to understand how AI differs from other types of software. And then foster a culture where technical teams and the rest of the organisation can collaborate to get the most out of AI.
Companies need to reimagine their organisational structures and foster new cultures that enable the deployment of AI across departments and geographical barriers. This is made more challenging by the fact that there is no one blueprint for AI deployment at the enterprise scale.
How the implementation is carried out is highly dependent on company size, familiarity with AI tech, and the talent pool. But executives who possess a solid understanding of the basics can ensure they’re making the right investments in their tech stacks and teams to build reliable solutions at scale.
In order to make sure capital is allocated to the right kind of AI investments, it’s important to understand what makes AI technologies special. Developing artificial intelligence and analytics applications typically involves different processes, technology, and talent than those needed for traditional software solutions.
It’s also worthwhile having a dedicated AI implementation strategy to ensure you’ve looked into factors such as AI awareness and how you need to change the way data is shared within the enterprise.
The following are five key factors to look at when developing an AI strategy to ensure you’re making the right AI decisions:
Plan the AI deployment at scale - AI can provide benefits at any scale. But is far more effective when deployed as a suite of solutions that, for example, evolves the entire customer journey from onboarding through to long term relationship management instead of just identifying customers for up-selling.
Build support for AI across all levels - AI awareness is important for both executives and individuals. Everyone company-wide needs to be aware of how AI can be used to increase productivity and solve problems. For people who will be using AI tools, then internal or external AI training programs and workshops should be set up.
Create an in-house AI team - all successful technology implementations need dedicated people responsible for the project’s success. For smaller or early AI implementations, you can also choose to partner with an AI vendor, who can provide their expertise and share knowledge. But as the company’s AI maturity increases then internally built AI tools can be more effective at integrating with existing workflows and meeting specific business needs.
Break down data silos - to work effectively AI needs large amounts of data from many parts of the organisation. Many companies are guilty of isolating data to separate departments, meaning the data needed can only be accessed by small teams or individuals and there’s no seamless interface between systems. That needs to change for AI to reach its full potential.
Promote data-driven decision making - once the systems are in place, you need to trust in them. AI can improve day to day operations by providing people with valuable insights. Therefore the culture needs to reflect the ability for data-driven decisions to be made everywhere from the C-Suite down. When properly adopted, all staff can improve their judgement and utilise algorithmic recommendations that are superior to those that can be reached either by humans or software alone.
AI implementations aren’t easy. They should be done at scale to maximise their benefits and the learning curve can be steep. The journey will be different for every business, and training and cultural changes are a necessity.
But business leaders who properly plan and promote a complete AI transformation will reap the benefits of a re-energised and more effective workforce with a greater number of tools at their disposal. Leaders will also have the confidence and ability to make business decisions backed by hard data.
If you’d like to find out more about how to effectively implement a complete AI transformation of your organisation, talk to the experts at FinXL.