3 out of 4 C-suite executives believe that if they don’t scale artificial intelligence in the next five years, they risk going out of business entirely.
Time for Action!
This statistic is alarming and serves as a signal flare for organizations still on the sidelines of the AI revolution. It's evident that AI isn't a fleeting trend; it's a transformative force that's reshaping the way we conduct business and ignite innovation. If you're not on this path already, the question isn't why, but when and how to start.
Embracing Change: Are You Prepared?
At the heart of AI adoption is your organization's readiness for change. More than just integrating new technology, AI demands a complete overhaul in how you approach processes, align strategies, and adopt a novel way of working. It's a transformation that requires foresight, flexibility, and a commitment to innovation.
Time to Assemble Your Team
If you haven't started pulling together an AI working group to build your AI usage principles and first AI use case, do it. Now.
Your working group should consist of a blend of business experts from across the organization, stakeholders, and technology experts, each bringing unique perspectives and insights. Together, they will map out the best and most ethical way to integrate AI into your operations.
Practitioner Insights Plus Research Rigor
What I learned from my long tenured technology career, combined with my recent AI doctoral research, serves as a critical guide for anyone in the executive realm considering AI implementation. Specifically, my recently published research that examined 46 enterprise AI use cases from late 2021 through 2022 identified 5 clear themes that are needed to drive success with AI:
Value creation: You must pursue real business problem solutions - no "toy" AI.
Focus on customer needs: This aids decision-making and prioritization.
Collaborative teams with modern skills: Successful with AI - silos are deadly.
Shifting culture to embrace failure and iterative learning: This is vital.
The critical role of data: There is no avoiding this enduring fact.
10 Key Steps to Consider
Embarking on an AI journey is no small feat; it requires meticulous planning, alignment, and execution. Whether you're just starting or looking to refine your existing strategy, these steps will help you navigate the complex landscape of AI implementation.
Identify Real Business Opportunities: Align AI with value creation by solving genuine business problems. Avoid "toy" AI.
Center on Customer Needs: Make decisions and prioritize efforts based on what your customers need and want.
Build Collaborative Teams: Create teams with modern skills. Foster collaboration and avoid deadly silos.
Encourage Failure and Iterative Learning: Shift your organizational culture to embrace learning through failure.
Acknowledge the Critical Role of Data: Invest in data preparation and management. There's no success in AI without quality data.
Evaluate Technology Needs: Assess your current infrastructure and invest in the needed technology foundation. Remember to also evaluate your vendor provided solutions. Note: High impact opportunities exist in the combination of other technologies with AI.
Develop a Comprehensive Strategy: Include timelines, goals, KPIs, and alignment with overall business objectives. Actively seek out both revenue generation and productivity/profitability.
Monitor and Assess Risks: Regularly evaluate potential risks and have mitigation strategies in place.
Measure Success and Adapt: Continuously track success and be ready to make adjustments as needed. Remember that learning is ROI, particularly in your early AI pursuits.
Engage Stakeholders: Maintain transparency with all stakeholders, keeping them informed and engaged.
The insights drawn from my research are not just theoretical musings but are grounded in modern, practitioner-focused experience. Using this knowledge, we know that prioritizing value creation, customer needs, collaboration, a learning culture, and embracing the vital role of data, are underpinnings of a resilient AI strategy that aligns with today's dynamic landscape.
Don't hesitate; the clock is ticking! The decisions you make about AI today will determine your company’s ability to innovate, drive profits, and thrive in the future.