Although AI and automation have been in the spotlight for years, as the technology they rely on becomes more and more sophisticated, it is at the same time becoming increasingly accessible. In other words, AI is no longer a creature that belongs in the realms of Sci-Fi and Silicon Valley – it is a reality most businesses (even the smallest among them) can leverage to become more efficient, more productive, and more streamlined in 2020 and beyond.
However, before you can experience any of the benefits that come with the adoption of automation and AI, you need to make sure your business is ready for the revolution they will usher in.
Here are the seven steps you need to take to make sure you make the most of it.
7 Steps to Prepare Your Business For The AI and Automation Revolution
Know what you want to achieve
Adopting AI solutions for the sake of adopting AI solutions won’t lead anywhere fast. In fact, it might just disrupt your workflow, cause a fair bit of mayhem, and end up being nothing more than an expensive and exhausting experiment. In order to make the most of AI, you need to know where you want to use it, and how.
Do you need AI to help you automate your customer service department? Do you want to use it to craft better digital marketing strategies? Are you looking to turn to it in your HR department?
Having a clear vision in mind will help you not only streamline the process of installing a new system but also determine what kind of solution you actually need.
Make sure you can afford it
AI and other automation software might be an excellent way to increase your bottom line, but they are also solutions that don’t exactly come cheap. However, as they can significantly help improve your workflow and take your business to the next level, finding the funding to adopt them could be the difference between moving into the future or staying a part of the past. Look into different pricing plans and payment options, and explore different kinds of financing that you can turn to for a helping hand.
If you are not sure what kind of ROI you can expect, talk to the people behind the product you are looking to purchase. Have them showcase several user experience examples that might help you grasp the financial impacts of said tech.
Start with something small
Don’t look to overhaul your entire operation just because you can. Instead, start with smaller additions and changes. That way, you are giving both yourself, your staff, and your customers a chance to get to know how this new system works.
While change is ultimately good and should be embraced, too much of it all at once can have an adverse effect and cause a lot of negativity and bad feeling. Focus on getting used to one change at a time, and the next ones will be easier to swallow. You will also have the added benefit of knowing how another tech solution can help, as opposed to going in semi-blind and hoping for the best.
Educate yourself before you educate your staff
Depending on the industry you work in, adopting AI might be easy or rather more challenging. Before you even start testing your new AI solutions, make sure you understand how the system works, how it will fit into the processes you already have in place, and what it is you need your staff to know. Only once you have fully grasped all the ins and outs should you start educating your team. Be prepared for a bit of resistance, especially if your employees are older and more set in their ways of doing things.
Make sure you get someone from the AI company you hired to do a demo for everyone and have them on hand to answer any questions. Working with new technologies is hard, and AI is still daunting for many people, so allow everyone enough time to get comfortable with the idea, the process, and expectations.
Make sure security is at an all-time high
Cybersecurity is an issue we don’t discuss enough, or simply trust someone else to take care of it. When you implement an AI solution, make sure you also upgrade your security and data monitoring, and that all of your files are safe and as encrypted as they need to be. Once an AI gets infected with malware, it can spread quickly and very maliciously, causing significant damage. Make sure your staff knows what the security measures are and that they adhere to them at all times, as opposed to treating them lightly and like someone else’s responsibility.
Ensure clean data is available
AI and other automation solutions rely very heavily on data, and bad data won’t provide the solutions you are looking for.
Before you embark on the implementation itself, make sure there is a data infrastructure in place that can handle the AI you’re bringing on board. You don’t have to buy expensive tools to handle the task. You can utilize various techniques to clean up your data, remove any duplicates, and clean everything up in preparation for your mini AI revolution.
Don’t forget about your humans
While AI can certainly do a lot when it comes to the picture, employees might feel threatened and like their jobs are at stake. However, you will always need humans to provide conclusions, creativity, and critical thinking.
Depending on the kind of AI or automation software you bring in, make sure your employees know where they fit into the picture. Have them understand what the benefits of this new feature are, as opposed to letting them overthink matters and look at AI as a threat to their existence.
We get enough of that in movies.
While AI and automation will soon enough become the norm, we can’t forget about the steps we need to take to get there. Instead of hurrying ahead and trying to beat someone to it, make sure you truly understand the specific benefits AI solutions will bring to your business. Only once you understand how things can and should work from now on should you move into the next phase of AI adoption.
Lady of a Keyboard
Natasha is a web designer, lady of a keyboard and one hell of a geek. She is always happy to collaborate with awesome blogs and share her knowledge about IT, digital marketing and business trends via creating high-quality content