Companies have begun investing in AI, the next transformative technology. However, many are wasting money focusing on the wrong areas at this early stage. True, in coming years the AI revolution will completely reinvent the way we do business, but we are still just in the very early stages. Knowing where and how to invest today can make a big difference for your company now and later.
Artificial intelligence is not like just installing the next generation of a technology we are already familiar with. AI is a transformational technology. So, we must be thinking about how to transform our company and our organization to fully embrace it and to be a leader.
AI not just evolutionary, it is revolutionary
It is important to recognize that AI is not just an evolution. AI is a revolution. That understanding is so important. It’s the first key to successfully building your organization of tomorrow.
That means you not only need to think what it will do for your business, but how to change your business to merge with this new technology and create something better than you have today. Better, faster and stronger.
Transforming your company to an AI-capable organization is a key first step. This is a once in a generation shift. It’s both an opportunity and a risk, depending on whether you are on target or not.
Moving to AI is a question of when, not if
Make no mistake, AI is a question of if, not when. There will be both leaders and followers. There will also be those who miss this shift and they will struggle against competitors.
Those companies who are first to AI will have a competitive advantage, for a while anyway. Then as every company and organization moves into the space, suddenly it will become a simple cost of doing business. It will become an integral part of every growth plan.
Every competitor will eventually be moving into this space. That means, it is not a choice whether to jump in. Going forward, this is an area every competitor has to move into if they want to remain competitive. The only question is when. Another is will you be a leader or a follower?
Choice: build or buy your companies AI technology
Today, many executives are wrestling with the question of build or buy, with regards to their move into AI. There are benefits and drawbacks to both.
I have watched this kind of transformation before and have some strong suggestions.
Consider the cloud as an example. Companies have the same choice, build or buy? The cloud space continues to rapidly grow and change. That makes it difficult to keep up-to-speed for individual companies.
That’s why many of them find it makes more sense to do business with cloud companies like AWS or Amazon Web Services, IBM Cloud and many other competitors in the space.
AWS, IBM Cloud, Pypestream are great examples of AI
I think buying from a company who is continually updating their technology and knowledge set is always better, especially in the early years of transforming to a new technology when everything continues to change.
You can keep your focus on building your business and leave the changing technology to the experts.
Evan Kohn, Chief Business Officer at Pypestream, a conversational AI company says, the real question every executive should be asking today is, how do we build an AI capable organization?He says, unless your enterprise is an AI company with a team of data scientists and DevOps engineers and unless you have a team focused on uptime and scalability to ensure constant compliance oversight from security architects, you may be better off working with an AI solutions company. Building AI systems is very complex and there is a very small universe of qualified people at this point in time. That’s why I think especially today, it makes more sense to work with a company that has the people and constantly updated technology and training.
American Express acquired AI firm Mezi last year
Some larger companies want to do this on their own. Some build their own staff while others acquire smaller artificial intelligence companies to get their hands-on qualified AI workers.
American Express is one of these companies. Growing in AI, they will acquire a number of companies like they did with Mezi last year along with all their artificial intelligence experts.
One of the big benefits to the customers is companies often become an AI customer centric operation. That improves the customer service experience and increases customer satisfaction. That’s a great result, but that is only one slice of the pie.
It is important to realize that every companies move toward AI will be different. There is no single approach that makes sense for every company. Each is customized to what they want to accomplish. Some AI is for internal usage. Some is for interacting with the customer. Some works behind the scenes.
As we move forward, we will be using AI in more and more of our lives. Some areas we will use interactively. The vast majority of areas will be behind the scenes. AI will control everything in our world.
When it works well, we will love it. When it doesn’t, we will have to fix it and make it better and stronger, year after year.
That means today, we are in the very early days of AI, so we can expect bumps in the road with a few years of trial and error. As we learn, the path will get smoother. This was the same with the cloud, with the iPhone and Android smartphones, with the Internet and more.
Now is best time to jump into and explore AI
However, now is not the time to shy away. Now is the time for your company to jump into the world of AI. It’s part of a longer-term learning curve.
Now is the time to be exploring AI and making your mistakes. These early days are when the customers will cut you some slack. They won’t a few years from now when they expect you should be the same as your competition.
This is part of the long-term process we should all be familiar with. And we are only in the very early days of this new AI revolution.
That’s why you need to partner with experts who are up to speed on the changing AI scene. You can do this by doing business with an AI firm, or you can acquire a company full of experts.
There are several different ways to peel this banana. What’s important is that you jump in and get your feet wet. Now is the time. There is a simple reason you need to jump in today. Your competitors are doing so. That means in the next few years everything about the way you do business will change and you had better stay with the change-wave before it moves on ahead without you.
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