In a recently conducted Artificial Intelligence Webinar, I talked about AI and its relevance from a business perspective. Many of the business leaders and managers have questions like:
How REAL is AI for me?
- Can I forecast better with AI?
- Can my warehouse operations be more efficient?
- How will it help my sales team close more deals than ever?
- Will AI powered Chat BOT reduce my customer services cost?
And when it comes to the IT teams, they wonder about:
- How do we start? Do I have AI skills?
- How my existing IT/application infrastructure will be used? What is right AI tool-set?
- How much automation and intelligence can be achieved, and what is the ROI?
- Do I have required data or data-set for AI to be effective?
Extending the discussion further, the approach towards applying AI is not to see this as a technical solution but to solve a business problem through this. For managers and leaders to be prepared for taking such decisions, a bit deeper level of understanding of Artificial Intelligence is required. While the first reaction is that AI will help reducing the manual effort (read Cost), it may not be the case always.
One of the key objectives of applying AI solution is to make your business future proof. Take an example of governments constructing new roads and highways. While the overall objective is to reduce the traffic, they are making it future proof by ensuring that at least same level of traffic situation will be there after 5 years from now. This itself is a huge achievement.
Similarly, while AI will reduce cost and provide efficiency and accuracy, it will also enable your business to be ready to handle scenarios where more work can be done in future with similar effort as of today.
To share an example of AI powered Chat BOTs, they may or may not reduce the existing customer services team. However, it can ensure that the same set of customer services agents can manage more customers:
- Handle day-2-day queries which requires a human to respond (what is my order status?).
- Reduce the friction which may be there because of language, accent and other environmental factors.
- Understand the pattern of user behaviour and take required actions.
- Hand-over to human agent seamlessly as and when needed.
For an AI solution to be effective and of business value, before getting into the solution mode, followings need to be established:
- Understanding of AI for Leaders/Managers so that they “trust” AI solution for solving their pain points.
- Motivating and empowering the existing business and IT teams to support this initiative.
- Develop a business use case and get buy-in from business owners that AI is the solution for the identified business use case.
- Involve partners to help and coach the team during Pilot implementation.
- Take a LAB approach (POC & Pilot) and prepared to Fail Fast.
Keep delivering value!!