Gartner estimates that 45% of the fastest-growing companies in the world will “employ” more smart machines and virtual assistants than people by the end of this year. Furthermore, a survey by PwC revealed that not only do the majority of business leaders believe AI is going to become fundamental in the not-so-distant future, but 72% of them deem it a “business advantage.”
Without question, 2018 is the year of intelligent automation, and if you’re not yet ready to jump on board, you will inevitably find your organization at a distinct disadvantage sooner than you may think. For those interested in being part of the future of work, however, the path to adoption can seem unclear and confusing. To make things a little easier, here are 5 expert tips on how to get your AI initiative off the ground.
Focus on the right areas.
One of the biggest challenges to AI adoption is the fact that there are so many avenues to explore. It can get confusing, which can easily lead to wasted time, money and resources. To get things going in a positive direction, focus on the areas where you can leverage automation to increase productivity and derive value. Look for areas of your business that are high volume but low margin. Figure out what frustrates your team. PwC put together a great list of business use cases to look to for inspiration.
Tap into the right resources.
If you’re struggling with where to start, checking in with business leaders who may own or touch AI can help. These leaders include such roles as the CIO, CDO, CTO, CSO and other specialists. The goal should be to take a portfolio approach, addressing multiple areas of need to produce quick-wins to start. From there, you can continue to gain traction and build on more complex areas that have good potential. Emphasize the practical at this stage and move forward from there.
Identify your champions.
Another important component of smooth implementation of AI and automation is the role of functional and other specialists working throughout your organization. These are the individuals who are in the trenches and who possess the hands-on experience and intimate knowledge of your business processes and pain points. As such, they can be invaluable to helping you tailor AI solutions and drive adoption.
Make user experience a top priority.
When focusing on automation and AI, it’s easy to get caught up in the technology aspect and all its potential benefits, but don’t forget the human element. Remember – an AI solution can only be successful if the end-users adopt it. This requires a deep understanding of the user experience – that is, how people will interact with the system. One way to accomplish this is by applying design thinking that focuses on the user journey. This will enable you to identify how and where automation can improve it.
Adapt to the workforce of the future.
There’s been a buzz about the “workforce of the future” for some time now. The reality is, it’s no longer some far-off concept. It’s already happening all around us, and those organizations that recognize and adapt to this fact will be the frontrunners of tomorrow. A critical component of adopting AI requires an understanding of how human and digital labor will function.
Which tasks or processes will be automated? What higher-value work will human employees focus on? How will human workers interact with and be augmented by their digital counterparts? What new skills will be needed and what is your plan for up-skilling your workforce accordingly? These questions must be answered before successful AI adoption can occur.