The AI revolution: 4 tips to stay competitive

Adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) tools is gaining momentum in organizations across all industries. Consider this practical advice as you develop your AI strategy
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As accessibility to artificial intelligence (AI) has increased, so has its adoption. Over the last two years, more than half of organizations have accelerated their AI rollout, revolutionizing the future of work.

The simplification and commoditization of AI tools have catalyzed harnessing AI’s true potential. Banking institutions have embraced AI to detect and prevent fraud, schools leverage the systems to help students learn faster and alert teachers to problems, and supply chain managers integrate end-to-end solutions to address procurement and distribution challenges.

With some organizations at the start of their implementation journey and others struggling to understand the impact, it’s critical to understand the full breadth and potential the technology holds, especially as it serves as a competitive edge.

1. Identify where AI fits into your operations

Many enterprise organizations struggle with internal inertia regarding technology adoption, where a change of this size disrupts typical day-to-day processes. Understanding and re-evaluating daily operations is necessary to find the most seamless path forward.

[ Also read IT jobs: 3 essential roles to hire now. ]

Expect some resistance in the early stages of adoption – a common obstacle due to internal rigidness around change, especially in the public sector or healthcare industries that are often stuck in outdated ways of working. It’s crucial to challenge standard business processes and encourage leaders to embrace a new way of thinking and operating.

There are many ways to embrace technology to its fullest potential. Start by identifying pain points to showcase how the technology can alleviate issues, streamline operations, and reveal ways to improve customer outcomes. This might include analyzing behavior to build sophisticated customer churn models and providing in-depth visibility into their likelihood to take their business elsewhere. Alternatively, teams can apply machine learning to customer service messages to pinpoint red flags or shared concerns.

2. Create a data-driven foundation

Adopting AI responsibly and effectively begs critical, data-driven questions: How is data being used internally? Are the AI models built on diverse data sets? How can we leverage AI across the organization?

Answering these questions requires a data-first mindset. Today’s most successful companies have already begun to capture strategic internal data such as performance, customer experience, and business outcomes that welcome scalability and accessibility – the more data, the more ways for AI to find its home within a business.

For example, Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist is a prime example of how a data-driven AI approach can create streaming content recommendations. By creating a foundation built on data-driven insights and practices, organizations like Spotify can significantly improve customer loyalty while gaining insights into user habits and listening preferences that can shape their company’s future.

3. Take small steps for a big impact

It’s easy to get lost in the promise and hype of technology but start small, especially at the beginning of your AI journey. Find ways to enhance experiences and consider areas where you can alleviate mundane tasks. As you formulate a strategy, use data insights to identify process improvements for time savings, cost reductions, and eased workloads.

[ Related read Artificial Intelligence: How to stay competitive ]

The healthcare sector offers a great example. Healthcare organizations increasingly rely on AI for tasks like electronic record keeping, traditionally a time-consuming and error-prone process. Taking a slow, methodical approach to adopting new technology to workflows rather than upending every process ensures team members remain open to new ways of working.

Appointing an AI champion or dedicated team that comprehends the technology's applications and potential opportunities is a cornerstone to advancing AI in the workplace.

4. Dedicate team resources to champion AI

Appointing an AI champion or dedicated team that comprehends the technology’s applications and potential opportunities is a cornerstone to advancing AI in the workplace. These teams can serve as a go-to resource as adoption increases, especially related to particular lines of business.

Building an internal force of knowledge and advocates can also significantly increase comfort, openness, and excitement for the new technology. Without these dedicated teams, companies are more likely to struggle with AI adoption and lose any potential competitive edge it would have provided.

Embracing tomorrow's AI revolution

The AI revolution is nowhere near complete. It’s only the beginning.

As we continue to see with digital transformation and its revolution, organizations that start their journey early will be at the forefront of what’s coming, far outpacing those that wait. The same goes for AI transformations. Aside from increasing efficiency and cutting costs and downtime, AI allows us to do things that we previously couldn’t, welcoming innovation at scale.

Appropriately implemented across an enterprise, AI enables new possibilities to differentiate one business from another. Setting your organization up for long-term success starts with understanding exactly where to adopt and implement AI, gaining internal buy-in through the help of your AI champions, and not trying too much too quickly. By taking a thoughtful, data-driven approach, your organization can enter and excel in the AI revolution ahead.

[ Want best practices for AI workloads? Get the eBook: Top considerations for building a production-ready AI/ML environment. ]

Kevin Goldsmith serves as the Chief Technology Officer for Anaconda, Inc., provider of the world’s most popular data science platform with over 25 million users.

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