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Strategies to Put AI at the Core of Your Digital Transformation

Sep 23, 2020 11:30:00 AM

by Charles Bystock

While the COVID-19 virus may have derailed some digital transformation initiatives, behind the scenes, technologies have continued to evolve. Artificial intelligence (AI), while maturing, is still in its infancy. Despite this, AI will play a huge role in future digital transformation efforts. Companies have been attempting to apply the elements that makeup AI with mixed results. But when applied properly, AI will help companies transform. Here are three strategies to apply AI in your organization as part of your digital transformation. 

Create an AI Business Strategy
In these days of tighter corporate budgets, AI must pay for itself. Developing an AI strategy outside of the context of the overall business strategy simply doesn’t work. The elements that make up artificial intelligence, including machine learning, natural language processing, and automation are here and monetized in devices such as your Amazon Alexa or Google Home devices. What the c-suite must learn from these examples is that AI innovation onto itself will not stand; these algorithms must evolve into the very heart of our corporate processes with the underlying goal of improving efficiency and, ultimately, increasing revenue.
The Wharton School studied the effects of AI innovations on corporations and found, “What separates the AI projects that succeed from the ones that don’t often has to do with the business strategies organizations follow when applying AI.” MIT reports seven of 10 companies report minimal or no impact from their AI initiatives. This necessitates a restructure in how we view AI not as the end of innovation but as part of the process to get there.

Wharton suggests these strategies when attempting AI innovation:

  1. View AI as a tool, not the overarching goal of the organization. Start with the business strategy and work backward to determine where AI can innovate, inspire, and improve efficiency. For example, you may ask yourself if robotics process automation (RPA) can automate front-end tasks or if predictive analytics can influence corporate decision-making.
  2. View AI as a corporate portfolio of products, not as a one-shot-human-on-the-moon approach. Ask yourself how AI can improve each department within the organization. Approaching AI as a tool to help individuals improve their productivity will help with stakeholder buy-in.
  3. Reskill your talent to match these tools. While youthful IT teams are generally more capable of handling change, the more seasoned members of the team may view it as disruption. Modernizing the stack of your valuable legacy teams is a necessity for evolving companies seeking AI innovation. AI tools can innovate entire processes, so it’s important for managers and other leaders to understand both the necessity of their deployment and the realities of what they can do.
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Tackle AI Ethics
Corporate reskilling is as important as developing a framework for protecting privacy and consent when dealing with AI. These powerful technologies must be accompanied by an ethical framework that touches corporate policies and procedures. Tackling issues such as privacy and consent are critical early in the strategic planning process.
There is a grimmer side to AI that most of us have heard about, and organizations must work early on to establish policies and rules to govern the use of these technologies. Developing governing structure around:

  • Data security and data use
  • Regulatory and compliance and public policy
  • Internal impact on people and processes
  • Risk management

Discussing the potential misuse of customer information, recently criticized in organizations like Facebook, necessitate the development of a professional code of ethics for AI use in your company.

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Create an AI Implementation Plan
AI can do more than support your RPA initiatives. It can solve complex problems, sort big data, understand speech patterns, and make predictions. To create an implementation plan for these tools, start first with the overarching business problem that the AI application seeks to solve. Once you define this pain point, you can evaluate the marketplace solutions to achieve your goal. When developing an AI implementation plan consider your short and long-term objectives as well as how your success will be defined. However, this is difficult to implement in organizations struggling at the beginning stages of their AI evolution.

The Windsor Group Sourcing Advisory is proud to stand beside enterprise organizations seeking digital transformation through the implementation of artificial intelligence and other innovative tools. We can help your organization define the corporate vision of your future state and then help you achieve it.

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