Adopting Artificial Intelligence: How to Ensure Smooth Implementation

by August 8, 2019 0 comments

The C-suite is confronted daily with the speed of technology evolution, under pressure to transform their organizations to stay competitive, relevant and prepared for the next wave of change. Artificial intelligence (AI) is one area where management is certainly encouraged to have a strategy. Much has been made of AI’s business capabilities in recent years, however for organizations of all sizes, knowing where to start with AI adoption can be bewildering.

Artificial Intelligence is exciting technology, and executives understand that becoming digital is no longer optional. True transformation is a journey however, and for businesses that want to move into the future and be ready for inevitable adaptation and evolution, it’s much more than a case of sticking on a few technology patches. Business transformation takes discipline, vision and fortitude.

For companies starting out in Artificial Intelligence adoption, the most important thing is for management to be on board, because adopting AI into any part of the business will require change. Without the buy-in from the top, there will be too many hurdles to overcome when it comes to financial investment and inevitable cultural shifts. Business leaders might worry that not being fully ‘tech literate’ is a hindrance to making decisions about AI adoption, but all executives truly need is an appetite for change, an open mind and a willingness to communicate with staff.

At its core, AI is using data analysis, models and algorithms to make better business decisions. For AI to be effective and for business leaders to see the improved efficiency, productivity and insights they are looking for, it needs access to good data. Management needs to define the metrics it cares about (for example, more accurate customer outreach? More timely purchasing to reduce overstock and waste?) and commit to making decisions from the data as much as possible. Knowing what you want to achieve will make implementation more effective- and you can start with just one process or area of your business. A commitment to data-driven decision making will ensure you’re collecting the right data; that engineering systems are in place to handle, manipulate and store data; that you value technical and analytical talent; and that you’re shifting the company towards a data-driven and innovative culture.

Company culture has a huge role to play when it comes to bringing Artificial Intelligence into the organization. People will naturally be hesitant about shifting from making decisions based on experience and human judgment to data-driven decision making. AI has become somewhat sensationalized, making people nervous that they’ll lose their jobs to machines. For this to happen soon is unlikely, and instead, AI should be introduced more like a wonderful new team member with the capability to make things more efficient and effective for everyone.

The specific resources that each organization needs to effectively adopt AI technology will depend on what is already in place. Larger organizations might have access to a team of data scientists because these companies will already have platforms in place for them to work from. Data science talent is in high demand and is expensive, which means that small and medium-sized businesses are most likely to bring AI into the company through the help of a vendor.

Charles Ng, VP of Enterprise AI, Appier

Charles Ng, VP of Enterprise AI, Appier

Proper research is critical to identify the best AI solutions. It’s vital for management to have full visibility into what’s happening at the organization every day and to not make any assumptions. Aversion to AI adoption happens when executives who are eager to see results implement AI too quickly and do not fully understand what a solution can and cannot do, and are then disappointed with the outcome, making them less likely to return to it- to the detriment of the business.

To ensure the selection of the best solutions, the leadership team must go out into the company and have open conversations about the challenges staff are facing. With this insight, management can work with teams and individuals to evaluate the best products and platforms. Some solutions might require customization to best perform, so CEOs must be patient while systems are adapted to best serve the organization.

The capabilities of AI are vast, and it can support business operations in many ways. Most organizations want to do things more efficiently, and AI can make tasks scalable. For example, it can take on work that would typically require a team of several people, allowing the organization to stay lean. It can also relieve people of grunt work- such as repetitive administrative tasks- and give them more time to focus on projects that requires human intelligence and creative problem solving.

It’s an exciting time for AI adoption in India and beyond. The organizations who lead the way will lay the foundation for adoption of new technology that will benefit both business and society. There will be many more advancements in AI, but business leaders cannot wait for the ‘latest thing’ to make decisions. Rather, they need to work with technology and talent that have the flexibility to adapt and upgrade as AI advances, leading us into a world where products and services are better customized to suit our needs and mundane tasks are automated so we can spend more time on the things important to us as human beings.

By Charles Ng, VP of Enterprise AI, Appier

AI

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