How AI Can Help You Mind Your Own Business!

by Pranav Ramesh
April 26, 2022

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”  

This astute quote about data and facts from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved Sherlock Holmes character in A Scandal in Bohemia describes quite brilliantly the difficult place many companies find themselves in right now. Just as Sherlock surmised, it’s best to use the data you’ve collected to make informed decisions to support your business goals rather than fall victim to simple anecdotes and misguided theory. While the current boom in technological advances shows no sign of slowing down, it can be confusing to figure out which high-tech solution could be used to improve your business practices.  

Companies across almost all sectors of industry and commerce continue to generate staggering amounts of data. The next logical step is to analyze that data to improve processes, operations, and profits. But that’s easier said than done. Effectively implementing AI in a way that is feasible and makes sense for your company can be the difference between prolonged success and profitability and languishing at the bottom of the pack. Read on for some basic tips on how to get started and understand what the impact of data science can be for your business.  

Benefits of moving toward advanced digital technology implementation 

The ability to analyze the wealth of data your company creates and use it to improve your bottom line is basically a necessity in today’s tech-driven world. If your company isn’t actively using AI in its business practices to help understand data, it’s likely you’ll be missing out on key insights and the ability to update and upgrade many processes that were done manually before.  

These are just some of the advantages your company can experience when you start implementing AI-based solutions for your organizational challenges.  

  • Reduce inefficiencies across multiple units of your business 
  • Ability to predict trends and customer behavior 
  • Enables the ability to perform research on your competitors 
  • Allows for testing of different company initiatives 
  • Develops an understanding of the market 
  • Helps your company make informed hiring decisions 

Time to make an honest assessment of where you are and where you want to be 

Advanced digital technologies, such as AI, data analytics, and machine intelligence, are moving businesses forward at a rapid pace. But it can be overwhelming to know where to start.  

When thinking about implementing these advanced digital technologies, it’s important not to attempt to become an immediate leader in the usage of any of these technologies, but rather strive to get your company to the next best stage for your company.  

Begin by defining the problem(s) you want AI or another advanced digital technology to help solve. Thinking about these questions for your business can help you pinpoint the business problem you’re trying to alleviate. 

  • What are the increased outcomes you want to see? What are the main obstacles to achieving these outcomes? 
  • What data do you have currently and what data will you need to solve these problems? 
  • Do you have a defined process for the assessment and implementation of digital innovation for your company? Does your company follow that process regularly and update it continually? 
  • Who is responsible within your company for making an investment in which type of technology? Do they have considerable data execution expertise?  
  • How do you plan on scaling up the AI-based solution you have chosen to address your business problem once you’re past the pilot stage? 

Don’t let your company become stuck in pilot purgatory 

Once you’ve been able to identify the problems you’d like to solve with AI implementation, it’s common to launch a small-scale pilot to test multiple factors before proceeding with a large-scale implementation. Launching any new technology without proper testing and sandboxing can lead to many unforeseen problems. While this applies broadly to any technology you might be interested in trying for your company, it is especially crucial when trying to implement advanced digital technologies, which can “touch” every aspect of your business processes. A successful pilot stage can let a company root out any initial problems while demonstrating what some typical results might initially look like before any decision is made to implement it at full scale.  

In 2018, McKinsey, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, conducted a survey of over 700 companies with more than 50 employees and over USD 10 million in revenues and included a range of industries from automotive to chemicals to transport and logistics. The report focused on the future of production and digital manufacturing. Overall, there was much enthusiasm and intentionality associated with machine intelligence and AI, but the report also highlighted how many companies were experiencing “pilot purgatory” in which the pilots were deemed to be relatively successful, but the companies weren’t seeing meaningful bottom-line profits. Unfortunately, this caused companies to keep extending the pilot programs longer than desired.  


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