It’s happening — Artificial Intelligence (AI) is taking over the world, or at the very least, our business budgets. Spending estimates for multiple industries by 2030 are in the billions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there will be success.
In fact, in our 2018 Digital Transformation Index, we found that only 16 percent of companies felt that they were masters of AI technology. While that wasn’t exactly a surprise, it clearly demonstrated the challenges ahead for enterprises hoping to realize big benefits as a result of AI-powered technology.
At the very root of it, most senior leaders we have either surveyed or met with in person seem to get that AI, data, and analytics are the future of business. But there is a tremendous learning curve between the launch of an AI solution and the successful integration, adoption, and active management of it. How to combat those challenges?
For starters, organizations need to identify clear use cases, have enough computing power to process and manage large amounts of data, and they need to be sure they can manage their data securely. In addition, and equally as important, AI solutions require an enterprise-wide commitment to be a data-driven enterprise, which can often amount to a culture shift within the organization. This also requires organizations to have the ability to understand, apply, and utilize the insights provided in ways that provide maximum value to the business.
Moving to an enterprise-wide culture of AI is a journey, and one that is most definitely a game-changer, but it can be tough to navigate alone. However, with the right infrastructure, culture, and service support, organizations can begin to benefit from the massive savings, efficiencies, and insights that only AI can deliver.
Why The Right Service Provider Matters
One of the most critical truths to recognize in digital transformation is that there will be many things you and your executive leaders and/or your team do not know or understand about the technologies being rolled out. That’s what makes the role of a service provider so important, especially as it relates to the deployment of an AI-focused initiative. A trusted vendor partner can be counted on to have their collective fingers on the pulse of the AI industry as a whole and can provide guidance and direction that helps shorten both the learning and adoption curves.
They bring expertise gleaned from working with other clients, can provide proof-of-value consulting, training workshops, and use-case development for things you and your team may not have yet considered. Here are a few things the right service partner can help you do:
Explore. It’s important for everyone involved in your AI implementation to have a curiosity mindset. While you begin learning about what certain AI solutions can do for your company, look beyond the obvious and start thinking about how else it can be used. Is there a way to adjust the technology and use it in a different department? Discussing these options with your service provider might lead you to discover a new way to use AI at your company.
Don’t Fear Failure. You should also expect to fail at some aspects of this process. After all, you and your team are getting used to new technology together, so there’s bound to be some bumps in the road. You should be experimenting with different use cases, and they’re not all going to work right away or at all! You have your trusted service provider with you to help get back on track, so it’s okay if something goes wrong with AI implementation at some point.
Scale Properly. Today’s reality is that scale is everything. No matter how small you think your automation job is, or how little you think you’ll be using a certain process, always ensure the technology you adopt is scalable. Designing for the entire AI ecosystem within your company is essential to AI working well. If it isn’t fully tied-in and able to grow alongside everything else you are doing, it will never fully perform in the way it could.
While it’s often less challenging to add AI in pieces across departments, the real value of AI lies in company-wide implementation. That means weaving AI into the fabric of the entire enterprise. AI is not an only IT thing, it’s an everyone thing.
As we’ve said earlier, a trusted vendor partner is truly the key to success with an AI initiative. Working with a service provider will help you develop a comprehensive strategy that can be the foundation of your efforts, more quickly identify and surmount challenges, integrate, launch, prepare, and train your employees, and be your steward along the way when questions or issues arise.
If you’re curious to learn more about the invaluable help a service provider can offer, we partnered with Atos to develop a whitepaper on this topic — Exploring the AI Journey: The Value of a Service Provider. Download this helpful resource today.
Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.
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The original version of this article was first published on Futurum Research.
Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”