May 21, 2018

Is Your Business Ready for AI?

A recent survey of Fortune 500 CEOs found that 81% of them believe that AI is an important technology. However, how close are companies to implementing an AI strategy?

Gartner’s 2018 CIO Agenda Survey found that just 4% percent of CIOs have already implemented AI in the corporate realm. However, 46% plan to do so in the near future.

So what’s preventing mainstream business adoption of AI?

In most cases, what’s actually missing from the conversation is what implementing AI for business actually involves. AI is a very powerful technology which has the potential to transform a business in unexpected ways.

While the potential benefits are enormous, to get the best results, you must investigate and prepare thoroughly. Here are a few important considerations to help you determine if your business is ready for AI.

The Data

Deciding what information to feed AI algorithms isn’t an easy task. According to a survey released in January by Infosys, 49% of IT decision makers say that they can’t deploy AI projects because their data isn’t ready.

One misconception about AI is that algorithms are capable of delivering valuable insights even if there isn’t adequate data available. The truth is that AI needs examples to learn from and there is no degree of algorithmic sophistication that can make up for a lack of high quality, clean data.

Another important thing to note is that most AI algorithms only excel at determining correlations. However, they are not capable of understanding the information surrounding the data that determines irrelevancy or relevancy. In other words, AI algorithms are not capable of determining context.

To ensure that AI algorithms can draw meaningful conclusions, prepare your business data for AI. First, make sure the data is properly labeled. Then, develop a system that automatically labels incoming data. Finally, AI projects often involve linking data and activities from multiple areas of your business, perhaps even in ways that you haven’t considered previously. 

Your Workforce

The business value you gain from AI is directly correlated to how well you train your AI algorithms. AI applications utilize algorithms that become intelligent through the use of your company’s historical data. Not only do you need relevant training data, you need highly skilled experts who can train your AI systems.

However, like people, machines still have limits, which means that there are parts of business processes that won’t fit well with the algorithms. While implementing AI may resolve mundane and repetitive work, you’ll still need people to handle complex tasks. To complete these jobs, you’ll need a highly skilled workforce.

In the case of AI, obtaining a skilled workforce doesn’t mean hiring new people. In fact, companies that view AI as a way to simply cut costs when it comes to human resources are more likely to make poor decisions.

Instead, AI should be considered as a strategy to augment your workforce’s skills, not replace them. You’ll need to imagine new tasks that upgrade the roles of your team.

Legal Concerns

One overlooked aspect of implementing AI is the potential legal ramifications of using it for mission-critical activities. According to the “Is Your Business AI Ready” report from Genpact, a full 63% of AI leaders say that they can’t use AI for mission-critical activities due to potential legal liabilities. An additional 64% believe that AI’s use will be significantly slowed by regulation.

As an example, with the passage of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, companies are now required adhere to strict data-protection compliance regimes. As a result, AI systems will not comply with GDPR unless the systems are explicitly programmed as a part of a data management framework.

There are several specific GDPR provisions that companies are now required to adhere to. First, organizations that use AI must provide a process that allows consumers to appeal automated decisions, such as the denial of a loan, and request human review. Second, organizations must also incorporate clear and easy ways for people to revoke consent with regards to the usage of their personal data.

Ongoing Educational Opportunities

As you develop your AI plan, you also want to ensure that the are ample opportunities available for your employees to educate themselves about AI. This is a guaranteed way to ensure a competitive advantage in the long-term.

According to the Genpact report, just 38% of companies reported that they currently provide their employees with reskilling opportunities. It’s also important that you don’t underestimate your team’s willingness to learn new skills. In fact, the same study found that 57% of senior executives who work for AI leaders report that their employees are willing to learn the skills required to take advantage of AI.

As you develop training programs, make sure that you consult with an educational expert to develop programs that are appropriate for your industry, the size of your company, and your data needs.

Next Steps

AI has the potential to fundamentally change how your business operates. However, if it is just a goal for your business rather than a strategy for achieving your business objectives, it really won’t help you to achieve much.

Consider this: AI is not a magic wand that can instantly erase your recurring business problems. Instead, you’ll need to be realistic about what it will take to solve these challenges.

Now that you have a better idea of how to effectively implement AI, the next step is to identify a clear use case for AI within your organization. Achievion can help you formulate a clear plan to get your leadership onboard and support your AI strategy from the beginning.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and let’s discuss your business.

 


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