5 things your enterprise must do to prepare for AI

human-workers-interacting-with-AI

Integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into your enterprise takes a lot more than registering a bunch of shared devices with Alexa for Business. AI initiatives require a purpose and strategy if they’re going to succeed in the long run.

Here are five steps that are essential when preparing an organization to implement and leverage smart machines and algorithms.

Identify a business problem that can be solved by AI

Since AI truly is a transformational technology, choosing how to utilize it can be hard. But you can’t start with everything at once, so enterprises should focus their initial AI efforts on a specific and identifiable business problem. Cutting manufacturing costs, reducing customer churn, increasing lead conversions … whatever you choose, make sure to define metrics by which you can measure progress.

Get buy-in across the organization

An AI program won’t get anywhere without 1) support from the top, and 2) support from the ranks. Initial buy-in from CXO types might be grudging because some may be skeptical of ROI, while employees may drag their feet because they feel threatened or simply resist change.

Start small with an AI pilot

Before going live with your AI rollout, you need to test out the technology in a pilot program. This gives you an opportunity to assess what infrastructure, data, and AI skills are necessary to launch and maintain a successful AI initiative. Starting small with AI allows you to make mistakes, experiment, and learn without jeopardizing enterprise operations. It also allows you to demonstrate the ROI of an AI initiative, which can further bolster support and buy-in from tentative executives — who then will be eager to take credit for championing AI!

Prepare your workforce

Enterprises have several challenges when it comes to AI and their workforces. The first is ensuring they have employees with the right skills to get their AI initiatives off the ground (and eventually scale them). The second challenge is to educate employees about how AI works and how it will help the organization. Some workers will embrace the idea of a smart machine taking over some of the more mundane functions of their jobs, freeing them up to focus on more strategic, higher-value tasks.

Other may not be as open-minded, however, so it is critical to allay the fears of those employees who view AI as a potential threat to their jobs. (Or, conversely, to be honest with them about the prospect of a machine eventually replacing them.) Offer opportunities for employees to learn new skills that align what they can bring to the job with the enterprise’s needs. These can take the form of in-house training and classes or online courses.

Get your data in shape

The effectiveness of AI is dependent on the quality and breadth of data it can collect and analyze. This may require an assessment of your infrastructure and business processes.

 

For AI to deliver on the promise of digital transformation, enterprises must set the groundwork by preparing their technologies and workforces for changes in operations, proceses, and how people do their jobs. It won’t happen overnight, but those organizations that develop and commit to a thorough AI integration strategy should see their efforts pay off.

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