Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making headlines for its contribution to elevating business processes. AI has many uses cases and is full of possibilities, with the potential to transform and automate any business process. However, adopting any new technology can be challenging and it's critical to understand whether your organization is truly prepared to implement and take full advantage of AI. There are many questions to answer before deciding whether your organization is ready for AI.
Do you have enough data?
AI requires data to develop and automate your business. For AI algorithms to learn about your business and how it works, from routine to complicated tasks, having enough data is vital.
AI is starting to be widely adopted, but there is still no template for just how much data is required by AI algorithms for proper training. The data requirement depends on the complexity of the problem and the learning algorithm. For AI algorithms to do better with data, it is vital to use good-quality, plagiarism-free, original data. If you have enough data available, you can consider AI for your organization.
Do you have the right data?
One of the biggest challenges with AI is ensuring the use of quality data. Scraping the internet for data is not ideal, as this information is publicly available for anyone to use. Data that is specific to your business and processes is more valuable.
For instance, humans can read a few different spelling variations of a name and conclude that it’s the same person. On the other hand, AI algorithms cannot do this and consider a different person for every different spelling. That's why it's important that the AI algorithm has all the data necessary to make the right conclusions.
Ways to make sure you have the right data:
- Keep data up-to-date
- Tag modified data with comments
- Remove any old or irrelevant data
- Backup important data
- Make sure there are no missing values (due to human error, system failure, network malfunction or flawed data collection)
- Track any modifications to data
- Ensure consistent data formats are being used: PDF, text files, etc.
It's important to understand weaknesses in your system that would create flawed data and fix these issues before implementing AI.
What challenges do you want to solve?
You can consider adopting AI if you have a clear plan on what specific processes you want to automate or improve for your business. After collecting the right data, it is crucial to identify the purpose of AI - what processes are best suited for AI and how will improving those processes solve your challenges?
Here are some popular uses cases for AI implementation:
- Automating business processes
- Bringing innovative products to market
- Enhancing the customer experience
- Improving the employee experience
What processes do you want to automate?
The processes that are best suited for AI automation typically require many employees, are redundant, and take too much time to complete manually. All types of businesses have a set of routine tasks, and automating these tasks using can save both time and money. AI uses techniques like machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL) to automate your business.
Automation allows those same employees to focus on more high-priority tasks. Identify the tasks in your business that are performed manually and how frequently those tasks take place. Then, perform market research on the available automation tools. To identify the processes and routines which can be automated in an organization, consider these questions:
- What processes require more data?
- Is adequate data available?
- What are the most common requests people search for?
- Which tasks are time-consuming?
- What manual process are the most costly?
- Which manual processes are the most time-intensive?
- Can you shift employees towards other high-priority tasks?
Depending on the industry and department, organizations can identify the tasks which require automation. For example, in HR departments, AI algorithms can automate tasks like sending and receiving emails, processing invoices and more.
What decisions do you need help making?
There are many business decisions we make using the data we have on hand, but humans are no match for the analyzation power of AI. Using AI for analytics and intelligent decision-making is what many leading organizations have adopted.
Let's use marketing as an example. When it comes to decision making, it's necessary to include customer data. AI provides valuable and reliable insights of buyer personas, which helps understand and predict customer behavior. AI can gather real-time data, create forecasting and predict trends to make insightful marketing decisions, such as product placement, marketing strategy and so on.
Before you adopt AI, make sure you understand the decision-making power of AI. What kind of business decisions could be enhanced when your data is intelligently analyzed? Here are some examples:
- Increase, decrease and restructure budget
- Add more IT storage and reroute IT tickets
- Estimate manufacturing efficiency and suggest improvements
- Predict customer trends and suggest marketing actions
- Decide hiring needs and suggest required skill-sets
- Understand what products and supplies should be reordered
Do you have capable employees?
Undoubtedly, employees are the backbone of every organization and play a critical role in growth. Before you decide to adopt AI, though, it's important to make sure that you have skilled, trained and experienced employees that can manage this new technology. Without the right employees, AI adoption may fail.
If you don't have employees with AI skills, you can provide online classes to help existing employees get up to speed. Also, create a plan to hire professionals who can help your organization adopt and train AI for long-term success.
Remember, AI learns from humans and data to function properly. Before adopting AI, you should be confident that you have a team in place that can handle AI and other automation tasks.
Will AI be worth the investment?
To know if your organization is ready for AI, performing a cost-benefit analysis is vital. It is a go-to tactic to evaluate the feasibility of Al and other new trends. Once you have identified how you want to use AI, a cost-benefit analysis can be calculated.
When calculating the cost-benefit analysis, consider the following points that will render a clear vision of whether AI will be worth your investment:
- Create a checklist of your goals
- Research industry data about the success of AI in your industry
- Understand the cost of the specific AI technology or platform you intend to use
- Consider secondary factors of AI adoption, such as licensing, salaries and risk
- Calculate the cost of the current manual process. Include manufacturing cost, labor cost, equipment and time
This exercise should paint a clear picture of the opportunity cost of AI. Overtime, when implemented successfully, AI pays for itself and can ultimately save your business money.
AI is a fascinating technology that has been adopted by many innovative businesses around the world. With the power of AI, businesses prosper, productivity increases, and excessive staff work-load is minimized. Answer the above questions carefully, and you'll know if your organization is ready to adopt AI.