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Is your business ready for AI?

If you're curious about what AI can do for your business and how to implement it then we're here to help.

AI is very much here to stay and as a business owner it will become increasingly important to leverage this new technology to elevate your business processes, lower your bottom line and stay ahead of the competition. But how does one go about implementing AI? Is your company ready for the changes? By the end of this article you should have all the tools you need to begin your company’s AI journey.

Understanding what AI is

Before doing anything else you need to establish an understanding of what exactly AI is. In simple terms AI describes a machine's capacity to "think" like a person and mimic their actions. It is frequently used to describe systems that have intellectual capabilities, including the ability to learn for themselves and solve problems. AI-based systems have the ability to absorb, examine, and utilise real facts and knowledge to learn more. Speech, voice, and image recognition are a few applications of artificial intelligence.

The next thing to understand is what AI CAN and CAN’T do for you and your business. A few ways AI can aid your business are time and cost reduction, increasing employee productivity, improving marketing by targeting client needs and reducing human error in complex tasks. However, AI is not a fix-all solution, AI, though intelligent, is incapable of true understanding and therefore cannot be used to make ethical decisions, generate creative content, code software or come up with innovative solutions.

Identify the needs of your business

After you have a basic understanding of artificial intelligence, you may start to determine your company's needs and whether or not AI can help.

Consider:

  • What result(s) you hope to achieve
  • What the key challenges are to attaining these results
  • How AI can enhance your company's success
  • How you plan to gauge success
  • What data you have on-hand and what data you still need to collect


Focus on Value drivers

Once your business requirements are clear, you can start evaluating the financial and business advantages AI might offer you. Make sure to evaluate all potential applications of AI for your company and assess the value that each iteration will provide. Examine how well you can integrate a solution into your everyday operations, how it fits into your business processes, and whether adding an AI-based solution to your existing products or services will benefit your organization in the long run. Your first stop should probably be the low hanging fruit; simple, high-value implementations will not only produce the best short-term ROI but also aid in increasing investor confidence in AI's potential for corporate growth. 

Evaluate your internal capabilities

Ensure that your developmental goals and your internal capabilities correlate. It’s easy to overreach and neglect what is actually feasible within a given timeframe with the resources you have. Consider which of the following approaches will best suit your business. 

Will you:

  • Develop an innovative solution from scratch utilizing in-house resources.
  • Purchase a ready-made solution from a supplier.
  • Develop your AI project in collaboration with a partner.
  • Outsource every stage of the AI development 


Ensure your data is prepared

AI is nothing without data, and the data you feed it will ultimately determine its success or failure. Make sure your data is clean and of good quality to avoid a trash-in-trash-out scenario. Ascertain that your data is accurate, free of incoherent information, and required by the AI. It's a good idea to get into the practice of routinely organizing, expanding and updating your dataset. It is also suggested that you invest in a strong security architecture to protect this data from cyber threats.

Start small

With the aforementioned steps complete you are now ready to begin your first AI project. But before you leap head first with all your data into a massive undertaking, remember to start small. Begin with a small sample dataset and apply AI to demonstrate its value. With a few small victories under your belt, strategically roll out the solution with full stakeholder support. You can gradually progress from low-cost, low-risk projects to more ambitious initiatives after determining whether your initial method was scalable (or if you needed to change your approach before proceeding): these early findings could be critical for avoiding costly future blunders.

So there you have it. Implementing AI into your business will be a time consuming process, it will require the highest levels of accuracy and planning, but with the dedication and know-how required your chances of a successful implementation and the rewards it will yield will increase significantly. Just remember that each business’ needs are different and to avoid falling into the trap of following trends.


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