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How to Build an AI Team

Once viewed as a technology of the distant future, AI is quickly becoming an integral component of many an IT/business strategy. The rapid advancement of data science and machine learning technology, combined with the accessibility and affordability of artificial intelligence platforms in the cloud, are enabling companies in every industry to uncover new ways to extract business value from data. But in order to fully capitalize on AI, an organization must first assemble a strong team. Let’s take a look at three steps for creating such a team in your business.

Learn what successful AI looks like.

When establishing a department dedicated to AI, it’s important to recognize that successful artificial intelligence initiatives require a variety of different roles and skillsets. If you are focused solely on one role – data scientist for example – you will almost assuredly come up short. Instead, take a more well-rounded approach paying particular attention to three distinct areas: a person (or people) who can generate data, a person (or people) who can interpret that data, and a person (or people) who can make judgments about that data.

Recruit/train (and retain) top talent.

It’s no secret that skilled AI professionals are in high demand. In order to develop a good AI team, recruitment and retention are key. The good news is, you don’t necessarily have to look outside of your company to do so. In fact, developing AI talent from internal staff can be just as, if not more effective – particularly given the talent shortage. Investing in training and upskilling can produce a higher return on your investment than external recruiting.

And remember, it’s not just about assembling a team. You also need to focus on keeping turnover at bay. Offering things like professional development and autonomy can make long-term employment with you more attractive.

Tap freelancers.

What if your company simply isn’t prepared or doesn’t have the budget to hire a Ph.D. in computer science? What if your existing staff is too small, doesn’t have the potential or lacks the bandwidth to recruit internally? There are still other ways to get started with AI. Some organizations have had tremendous success hiring artificial intelligence specialists via online talent marketplaces, like Upwork. By eliminating the need to hire in-house, and all the ancillary expenses that come with such an arrangement, you can tap into global AI talent at an affordable price.

With Gartner forecasting that 85% of CIOs will be piloting AI projects by the year 2020, it’s abundantly clear that artificial intelligence is the way of the future. Having a team of skilled individuals dedicated to your AI initiatives can help you maximize the long-term benefits and give your organization the competitive advantage it needs to thrive in the digital era.

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