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4 Considerations as You Develop Your Company’s AI Strategy

August 1, 2023 3 Min Read Governance & Leadership

When it comes to artificial intelligence, I often think of a quote frequently attributed to Bill Gates:

“People often overestimate what will happen in the next two years and underestimate what will happen in ten.”

A few years ago, many “experts” asserted that accountants would be replaced by bots in five years. That was a classic case over overestimating the near-term impact, because we’re well past that two-year window and our demand for human talent hasn’t ebbed one bit.

However, now that we are well into the ten-year window, we run a much higher risk of underestimating the impact that these new technologies will have on our business, and we’re not alone. Every business has the potential to either benefit from or be disrupted by AI, so it’s important to make sure that you develop a strategy for identifying, evaluating, and implementing these new technologies. 

Following are four tips to consider as you develop your AI strategy.

  1. Be careful. If you haven’t already set boundaries with your employees about the use of AI tools, make that a priority. Not doing so could expose you to a wide range of potential issues including plagiarism, errors and inaccuracies, and improper transmission of confidential information. 
  2. Assemble a task force. Call it an innovation committee, a technology committee—call it whatever you want—but make sure you have assigned some of your brightest people the responsibility of investigating these new technologies and how they might benefit your business. The task force should have a budget and should report directly to the C-suite.
  3. Focus on messaging.  Don’t expect employees to embrace these new technologies with open arms. Change is always difficult and, in this case, there’s a high likelihood employees will view these changes as a threat to their job security. It’s very important to get the messaging right—the goal is almost always to reduce the amount of time team members spend on routine tasks in order to allow them to focus on more impactful activities. Used correctly, these technologies should empower employees to make fast, well-informed decisions, accelerate the pace of development, and increase client satisfaction. They will also serve as a valuable hedge against labor shortages, reducing the stress on employees.
  4. Do your due diligence. AI is getting a lot of headlines and, as a result, vendors will likely overstate the role of AI in their offerings. Additionally, they may have little operating history and there’s no guarantee they will be successful over the long-haul.  Finally, in the rush to introduce products to market, they may not devote enough time to cyber risks and/or information security. For these reasons, it’s important to thoroughly evaluate potential vendors before engaging them.

Many experts believe that the impact AI will have on business and society will be on par with industrialization and the advent of the internet. While some of that may be hype, there’s no doubt that AI will have some impact and it wouldn’t be wise to bet against that. Devoting resources today, setting appropriate boundaries to mitigate risk, and making sure information flows directly to leadership can help ensure that you stay ahead of the curve and thrive as these new technologies take hold.

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