Many in today’s political environment pontificate about the merits of AI, good or bad. Many “AI-Doomers” want to put the brakes on AI’s progress. Astute business owners want to use AI to help them do more with less during these challenging economic times. Profitability over growth matters, especially when acquiring capital is more expensive and the economy has seemingly reached a standstill. Companies are right-sizing to get back on the path of what it means to run a profitable business – lean, mean, and smart.

Many can argue that 2023 will go down in history as “The Year of AI” thanks to the rise of ChatGPT. Many business leaders use AI’s capabilities to give themselves a competitive advantage. In his book, The Tipping Point, author Malcolm Gladwell states – “the Innovators and Early Adopters – are visionaries, they want revolutionary change, something that sets them apart qualitatively from their competitors.” 

Most company execs don’t fall into this camp. Despite AI dominating the media landscape, many fear adopting this burgeoning technology. However, there are steps that your company can take to minimize risk to maximize ROI. Knowing what lies ahead is crucial to simply an AI adoption process.

Mitigating Challenges

Here are five ways to alleviate adoption and implementation concerns for execs hesitant but curious about diving into the deep end of the pool about building a workable AI strategy for their organization:

  1. Form a team of technical and non-technical people from all levels of your organization – creating succinct messaging and buy-in for all involved on how this can positively impact your company, identifying where you are now and where you want to get to.
  1. Identify low-hanging fruit in your organization (marketing, inventory management, data analysis) where AI has the potential to make a quick impact, creating a use case that can grow from these early initiatives.
  1. Create a budget, identify gaps from lessons learned from the early use cases, and align AI goals with your business objectives, continuing to fine-tune what success means.
  1. Continue to ensure the cleanliness and viability of your first-party data resources, follow stringent security protocols, and be wary of over-reliance on third-party data where you won’t have as much control.  
  1. Adust and modify performance parameters as these projects get adopted throughout your company – learning from past failures to improve profitability and efficiency metrics.

Problems happen even with best-laid plans. Your team can better prepare or avoid potential pitfalls by understanding them beforehand.

Potential Hiccups

Nothing in life is easy. The same goes for business and implementing AI into your company’s tech stack. Here are five challenges that can occur for your organization:

  1. Identifying data collection protocols with your first-party data – providing API access to where your data resides (POS, ERP, eCommerce).
  1. Summarize your data, including preprocessing,  cleaning, dealing with incomplete values, accounting for outliers, formulating a plan, and creating a dashboard where the insights will appear.
  1. Choosing the suitable machine learning algorithms – these serve as the “brains” of any AI platform; common ones include clustering, pattern matching, regression, and time series, where knowing which one to use is critical to making predictions that you can use.
  1. Lacking integration with your existing tech stack – often, your organization’s legacy solutions don’t possess the capabilities to handle voluminous amounts of data to make accurate forecasting decisions if they’re not connecting to current platforms.
  1. Putting AI on a pedestal – often, business leaders place too much emphasis on the problems that AI can solve for their organization; going down this path sets a dangerous precedence.

Once you’ve addressed challenges, getting the ROI your business deserves will be much easier.

Making It Easy

AI investments can be challenging and not as easy as others make it seem.  Many business leaders want to check it out, but until now, they haven’t had a viable way of measuring its potential. 

Take a look at these two free AI-ROI calculators:

  1. Marketing And Labor Efficiency
  2. Inventory Efficiency

After going through this exercise, you will be able to:

  1. Articulate a strong, simple financial case on what an AI investment could look like for your marketing, data analysis, and inventory management protocols
  2. Present a strong, value case for AI investments
  3. Assess low-hanging fruit for your first AI project

In this chaotic economic climate, it’s always best to have the best information available for C-levels to execute a business decision that can have a long-term positive impact on their company.

Going Forward

Many in the business world’s knowledge about AI starts and ends with ChatGPT. Be careful of newly minted consultants who began their AI consulting careers at the start of 2023, advising on a piece of software they didn’t build or have licensing rights ownership. Be wary of new software companies promoting “built on AI” when it simply is a plugin, layer, or wraparound around someone’s existing tech stack. Ask questions when considering investments. 

Ignore the mainstream media’s constant, negative drumbeat about AI. Yes, no technology is perfect; however, the pros outweigh the cons. AI can do so much more than you think – when applied correctly, it can generate efficiency in your organization’s marketing and inventory protocols. What would have happened if society had listened to the naysayers when electricity, the internet, or smartphones came onto the scene? Things change, often for the betterment of society and, in this case, the profitability of your business.

Similar to living a healthy lifestyle, adopting a solid and concise AI strategy isn’t an overnight thing.  It’ll take a daily, disciplined commitment from all levels of your organization to make this work. Implementing AI works in tandem with the human element. Never rely on just a piece of software to make decisions. Conversely, never rely on a human just to give advice. There’s too much data for the most intelligent human to understand. Ideally, you’ll want both.

Our vision here at Standard Insights is to make your investment in AI seamless, using human and software elements to help solve your business’s challenges. 

To learn more, check out our AI Consulting Services that dovetail nicely into software we’ve built ourselves from the ground up.