As a business leader or business decision-maker, knowing when and how to adopt emerging technologies can seem like a formidable task. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one such technology, and it holds a unique place in the emerging technology market in general. It’s estimated by 2021, 80% of all emerging technologies will have AI foundations. Put simply, if you want to invest in taking your company to the next level, you have to engage with AI. But how should business leaders approach AI? Let’s take a look.

It’s Time to Invest in AI

We’re now firmly in the age of AI, and ignoring it is no longer an option. Companies of all sizes are now implementing AI solutions to reap increased efficiency, productivity, and boosted revenues. According to research by Gartner, just 4% of enterprises in 2019 had adopted AI. Only one year on, 14% of enterprises have now deployed AI, and a further 23% intend to deploy it in the next 12 months. This shows a clear pattern; more companies are investing in AI than ever before. The companies who don’t invest soon risk being left behind and failing to keep up with their competitors.

Determine “Why”

Emerging technologies like AI and Data Science won’t magically fix issues or improve your business on their own. They are tools that should be used to better your current situation. When you’re considering implementing AI solutions, you need to determine why you want them. Do you have a specific goal in mind? For example, do you want to expand your communication with customers beyond your operating hours? Or cut down on response times and lessen the burden on your customer service staff? If so, then a chatbot is an excellent investment.

Focus on the Areas Where You Can Make a Significant Impact Quickly

AI has some truly awe-striking capabilities, but you don’t have to do it all at once. If you’re starting on your AI journey, it’s better to target your business areas that can see the most remarkable improvement from AI but with little effort needed. Simple robotic process automation can vastly improve efficiency and cut down on labor costs in several departments, and it’s easy to implement.¬†Another example is the credit scoring component that can completely automate the underwriting process and reduce the risk while increasing acceptance rates. These, and other simple AI solutions, is a great place to start.

Get the Most Excited Employees on Board

According to a Microsoft study, 67% of executives and 59% of employees surveyed are open to experimenting with AI. This shows a clear interest and excitement surrounding AI in our workplaces. If you want to implement AI solutions successfully, then you must nurture this interest. How do you do this? By engaging with the employees most excited by AI. These employees will be your AI promoters and make it much easier to push through change.

Utilize AI Democratization to Your Benefit

In a democratic society, all people and their views are represented. So if something is democratized, then all people get to experience the benefits of a resource (in this case, AI). There’s currently a vast skills shortage when it comes to data sciences, making it difficult for companies to get to grips with their data. However, it’s not all bad news. There are tons of free or affordable AI algorithms out there that you can use to gain a deeper understanding of your data.

Are You a Builder or a Buyer?

You need to choose two options when you decide to implement AI; do you want to buy a pre-built AI solution or build your own? Most experts agree that purchasing a pre-built algorithm is the easiest way to start AI processes. Pre-built AI applications are rapid to implement, generally cheaper, and maintenance is easier and less costly. However, often these type of solutions are not tailored to tackle exactly your problem, they might be limited in functionality and, in the end, become useless when you realize that you need unique analytics. In this case, building your own analytics is the only right way to proceed. 

Data as a Mindset

Data plays an integral role in guiding the future of the business, particularly with AI and analytics. It’s essential that every employee has a good understanding of data and how it can be harnessed to gain actionable insights. This applies to employees of every level, from lower-ranking employees to C-Suite employees. Everyone must understand data at a basic level, and some employees must have a deeper understanding of it if the company is to succeed in AI adoption.

Be Deliberate and Intentional in Your Approach to Ethics

Some businesses become overly excited about the capabilities of AI and machine learning and forget about ethics. Trust has long been an issue in AI, especially with regards to adopting AI in business. Many people are cautious of AI and therefore want to limit their exposure to it. One way to overcome this is to be deliberate and intentional in your approach to ethics. Remember to establish a clear set of ethics and commitments around the use of AI in your business. Studies have shown that companies who do this outperform companies who don’t by 9%.

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