Make it a top-down effort, and establish an interdisciplinary and diverse AI team.
4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a computerized learning process that more businesses are utilizing to streamline processes, improve customer service or create deliverable products. Many entrepreneurs want to include AI in their operations, and that doesn’t have to be difficult. While there are many ways to integrate AI into your business, the three most common applications are:
- Chatbots: These AI programs are most often used in customer service applications because of their ability to deliver information and support 24/7. By 2020, 85 percent of customer interactions are expected to be managed without a human, according to Chatbots Magazine. In addition, 80 percent of businesses plan to deploy some type of chatbot by that same year, and by 2022, the shift could reduce business costs by as much as $8 billion.
- Machine Learning (ML): This category of AI has the broadest applications, including pattern identification for improved decision-making, marketing personalization and data security. In a survey conducted by MemSQL, 85 percent of respondents adopted machine learning AI to make informed business decisions, and 74 percent of respondents consider the tool to be a game-changer. Machine learning is used by Netflix, Amazon and other large corporations to target consumer preferences or decrease “click to ship” times.
- Sales and Marketing: Smart algorithms help businesses target their ideal audiences, such as “Lookalike Audiences” on Facebook. For example, 61 percent of marketers state that AI is the most important data strategy, according to Venture Harbour. In addition, Harvard Business Review reports that companies using AI increased their leads by more than 50 percent.
Once you’ve decided to integrate AI tools into your business operations, it is important to manage the process appropriately to assure you’re getting what you need at a price you can afford.
Make it a top-down effort.
Company leadership must fully support the decision to incorporate AI applications into business practices. Without this visible and consistent top-level support, any attempt to truly integrate AI into marketing, decision-making and data processes could fail.
Establish an interdisciplinary and diverse AI team.
While you will need technology and data science experts on your team, it’s also important to include people from HR, marketing, sales and operations. This multi-faceted group will help assure that the established AI priorities will have specific applications and benefits related to key business functions, and the holistic approach should allow the team to evaluate for multiple AI applications to to determine the best fit for integration into existing technologies. Diversity is also key to any AI team and can help cut down on algorithm bias.
Create a multi-term plan.
Trying to do everything at once can strain your budget and leave you with several partially-completed projects with no actual benefit. Instead, create a tiered plan that builds toward the AI integration you want. First, focus on proven applications that deliver direct benefits to the bottom line, such as chatbots and marketing tools. Next, focus on broader applications, such as data management and decision-making support. Finally, work with experts who can help you take machine learning to a new level specific to your business needs. For example, you can create AI solutions for a client or company issue. Before moving from one strategy level to the next, evaluate what went well and what could have been improved so you can duplicate successes and avoid mistakes.
Select the best partners.
While you can develop AI expertise in-house, there’s a shortage of top talent at the moent, so it can take time and money to get the right people in place. For this reason, many businesses work with AI experts to achieve their goals.
If you want to boost your customer service with chatbots, there are many great options. As far as machine learning, Beyond Limits offers products for different industries that aim to emulate human intuition by blending deep learning and machine learning with symbolic AI. If you’re in need of AI for marketing and sales, there are various companies that could fit your needs; for example, Node identifies potential customers, while Unmetric helps to maximize your social media campaigns.