“Humans and machines have different relative strengths and weaknesses, and it’s about the combination of these two that will allow human intents and business process to scale 10x, 100x, and beyond that in the coming years.”
Robin Bordoli, Authentic Ventures
Making the most of artificial intelligence (AI) begins with a human action. AI can help propel your business if you choose to include AI in your business strategy – and then act on that choice.
Everybody must get involved in implementing an AI strategy, but it all begins with the business leader. If that’s you, read on or jump ahead to any topic below:
- The Benefits of AI for Business
- What You Must Know About AI
- How To Integrate AI Into Your Business Strategy
The Benefits of AI for Business
AI can impact your business in many ways, boosting efficiency and productivity, maximising innovation, and saving on costs.
Beyond ChatGPT, Siri, or Bard, businesses are harnessing AI in these ways:
- Chatbots have automated customer service, making answers to common queries available 24/7.
- Transportation and logistics companies are able to optimise trip routes, saving time and fuel.
- Retailers and service providers are personalising product recommendations and creating digital marketing campaigns targeted to specific audiences.
- AI is now being used to find vulnerabilities in global food supply networks, intending to protect against supply disruptions.
- Law enforcement and security firms now use AI for biometric authentication (using fingerprint, iris, and voice), threat detection, facial recognition, and surveillance.
Other industries that are already benefit from AI are: entertainment, legal services, space exploration, healthcare, finance, manufacturing, agriculture, education, energy, human resources, environment, nonprofits – and the list is growing.
Business Leaders and AI in Decision-making
AI can now help you make better decisions, faster. Make AI your co-pilot so you can:
- Make data-driven decisions
- Avoid biases in decisions
- Get insights and data analysis
- Make faster choices when needed
By now you are familiar with the power of AI. You have probably played out in your head scenarios of its untapped potential. But the challenge is in integrating AI into your business strategy – and doing so early. To paraphrase a proverb: The best time to create an AI strategy was yesterday – the next best time is now.
What You Must Know About AI
Before you fully incorporate AI into your business, let’s set a few things straight:
AI is not a cure-all.
Sure, artificial intelligence solutions can automate or streamline some tasks. But AI cannot magically solve all your problems. AI can be awesome, but don’t forget what humans have:
- Intuition and common-sense reasoning
- Originality, creativity, and imagination
- Emotional understanding and empathy
- Morality and ethical judgment
- The ability to adjust to novel or unanticipated situations
- Gut feeling and subconscious processing
AI is not perfect either. Responses from some AI tools can occasionally be off the mark. Researchers even say that ChatGPT’s quality of responses has gone down.
AI is just one tool.
You have an array of technology tools at your disposal and AI is just one of them. You have computers and all sorts of devices, plus software and apps that came before ChatGPT.
Just as a mechanic uses different tools for different purposes, you should use AI together other tools in your toolbox: hardware, software, networks, and the cloud.
To top it all, you have your human resources – the ones who make the tools work in the first place.
AI requires data.
AI doesn’t work in a vacuum. We are amazed at machine learning, or how Siri can answer our questions, or how Alexa can make us coffee or serve us weather reports – but hey, algorithms work only because they were trained on volumes of data.
AI without data is like a car without fuel or a map without text labels. Why is this important to note? Because the next generation of AI tools for business have started to land. Tools like Microsoft Copilot can be tailored to your business – but they will be highly dependent on your data. So, your data management system is crucial and should be key to your AI planning.
How To Integrate AI Into Your Business Strategy
Your staff have been using AI for a while now. Your business is already being helped by some AI tools here and there. Now you want to take it to the next level: Strategic AI adoption in your entire organisation. Where do you begin?
1. Understand your business goals
What would you like to achieve with AI? Do you want to enhance customer experiences, increase sales, or reduce costs? Identify specific objectives and challenges that AI can address. These should align with your overall business goals.
2. Assess your data
Update your policies for data quality, collection, privacy, and management. Aim for high-quality, structured data, which is crucial for training AI models effectively. Ideally, move your business data to the cloud.
3. Identify AI use cases
Explore potential AI applications in your industry. Consider areas where AI can make the most impact in your business, such as customer service, marketing, operations, or product development. Which ones are aligned with your business goals?
4. Allocate resources
Figure out the budget, talent, and technology resources needed for your AI initiatives. A team of experts to help you would be great – people with expertise in AI, data science, and business. Would an in-house AI team work better for you? Or do external experts sound more suitable?
5. Select technologies
Choose the AI technologies, tools, and platforms that match your needs – your use cases, goals, data, and budget. This might include machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, or other AI subsets.
6. Pilot projects
Don’t try to do too much too soon. Start with a small project and learn from them. Build your knowledge and experience from a couple of AI projects. Take note of what goes well and what didn’t work. Gather feedback. Look at your key performance indicators (KPIs) and adjust your strategy as you see fit.
7. Measure your results
Track the results of your AI pilot projects. Do needed adjustments to ensure you’re getting the most out of your AI investments. Measure your return on investment (ROI). Evaluate the impact on revenue, cost savings, customer satisfaction, and other relevant metrics.
8. Gradually scale up
Once successful pilots are done, start scaling up your AI initiatives. Expand AI implementations across relevant departments or processes. Do it in small doses but constantly and continuously, tweaking here and there if needed.
9. Communicate the strategy
You need full participation from your entire organisation to make your AI strategy work. Clearly communicate it to your stakeholders, employees, and customers. Transparency and open communication can build trust and support for your AI initiatives.
10. Keep learning
Encourage a culture of continuous learning and improvement. Stay updated on AI trends and best practices. Monitor AI performance and iterate as needed. AI is rapidly evolving, and you’d want to stay ahead of the curve.
AI + Human Collaboration
AI was built by humans to enhance the work of humans, not to replace humans. It is now part of our lives but, to integrate it into your business, you must create a strategy.
When building an AI strategy for your business, make sure to:
- Be open to change
- Involve your whole organisation
- Prepare for challenges
- Consult with experts
- Consider the ethical implications
Be the first to do this in your industry, location, or niche and you might just edge out the competition. Act now!