Unleash the full potential of your organisation with an AI Strategy that will revolutionise your productivity, efficiency and decision-making
What is AI Strategy?
An AI Strategy, or Artificial Intelligence Strategy, is an organisation’s plan to optimise productivity, boost efficiency, enhance decision-making processes, and deliver superior customer and employee experiences by integrating AI technologies seamlessly into its operations. It encompasses everything from the utilisation of generative AI technologies and large language models (LLMs) to data handling, risk management, talent acquisition, and ethical considerations.
An AI strategy is about understanding and leveraging the transformative power of AI. It is a way of moving an organisation into the digital age, enabling customer touchpoints to be frequent, fluid and frictionless. Most of all, it is an opportunitity for an organisation to prepare itself to take advantage of the ongoing rapid transformation occurring throughout the economy.
The Need for Change: AI will disrupt more than just industries
Early research shows that AI advancements will result in the largest productivity increase ever in history since the introduction of electricity centuries ago.
Evolutionary theory tells us that survival depends on organisations ability to adapt to change, and given that the rate of change in our world is accelerating, and is certain to accelerate even further, the adaptability of our organisations has never been more crucial. Some of us are averse to change: we might prefer to reject it or pretend it will not affect us. The better approach is to embrace change and ourselves innovate so as to advance the organisation and excite and motivate our staff.
With the AI technologies and tools currently available and being introduced to the world every day, an AI strategy is a key component for embracing change: it is critical that organisations take on a future-focused digital vision that is enabled by AI rather than averse to it.
It is important to note that the recent advancements in AI seen in models like ChatGPT and Bard are at their worst right now. Organisations should be thinking ahead and anticipating the rapid evolution of AI capabilities within the next decade and banking on the fact that AI will disrupt more than just your industry; it will disrupt and shape business units and roles in every organisation as well.
It is true that these technologies offer new ways we can live, work and play. But it is critically important to realise that, while technological advances may enable transformation to occur, they should not be the starting point. The starting point must be to understand the current systems and processes and to re-imagine these with the customer at the centre, employing a digital lens to envisage the solution.
Put simply, it is important to remember that technology is not the end, but the means, of delighting the customer.
How AI drives organisational success
The AI-powered organisation
AI is the next breakthrough technology that will revolutionise the way we work and what we buy. It inevitably holds the key to unlocking unprecedented levels of growth within your organisation. Here’s how:
- Increased Productivity: AI systems automate repetitive tasks, freeing up employees to focus on more complex and creative aspects of their work. This not only boosts output but also enhances job satisfaction.
- Efficiency Enhancement: AI algorithms are highly effective at handling vast volumes of data swiftly and accurately. They expedite processes, reduce errors, and make operations leaner and more efficient.
- Informed Decision-Making: AI provides insightful data analysis that supports evidence-based decision-making. It uncovers patterns and correlations that humans might miss, leading to strategic choices that drive growth and profitability.
- Improved Customer Experience: AI can personalise the customer experience at scale, leading to greater customer satisfaction and loyalty. Chatbots, recommendation systems, and predictive analytics are all AI tools that enrich the customer journey.
- Enhanced Employee Experience: AI can streamline workflows, provide real-time assistance, and enable remote and flexible working, leading to an enriched employee experience.
Why it’s Essential
Why You Need an AI Strategy
Today and in the future, an AI Strategy will be a critical component of being innovative, competitive, and Customer Centric. It will enable your organisation to better understand it’s gaps, your customers’ needs and wants, and then implement AI-enabled processes and systems as well as deliver products and services that meet the customer’s needs.
At the core of the strategy is the creation of new and better forms of value. This value does not take the form of revenues or profits, but of value for end customers. Quite simply, your strategy can create market change by progressively optimising the value you provide to your customers.
The starting point in the development of any successful strategy is a clear understanding of the customers needs and experiences. Once you fully understand this, and can re-imagine how value can be delivered with AI, you not only have a well-developed strategy, but also a clear roadmap to enhanced customer-centricity.
Without a robust AI strategy, you risk falling behind in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven landscape. A well-crafted AI strategy ensures you leverage AI technologies to their fullest potential, aligning them with your business goals and organisational culture. It provides a structured approach to AI integration, mitigating risks and ethical concerns while maximising return on investment.
A comprehensive AI strategy is not just about adopting AI—it’s about harnessing AI to redefine your competitive edge, future-proof your operations, and deliver exceptional experiences to your customers and employees.
5 Common elements
5 Common Central Elements of an AI Strategy
We at The Strategy Group have identified five common central elements as follows:
The value of data depends on whether we can clean it, refine it and use it to fuel something impactful.
Without a model, a system, a framework, or reliable data science, any data will be useless, just like 0s and 1s.
But with the right expertise and tools, data can be turned into insights. This is where technology gives way to analytics — the science that helps us give meaning to the data. To the degree that we have meaningful insights, a story, a notion of what may be going on and why, or a model, we will be able to test this model through a prediction.
The point here is not to be 100% right, but to find better ways of being wrong, that is, to approximate closer to the truth. All models are wrong to some degree, but some are more useful than others.
Any strategy starts with people, which is a useful reminder that whenever we talk about digital technologies — especially AI — there are humans at the end of it. For most organizations, the “people aspect” of transformation refers to the access an organisation has to its consumers, clients, and employees. Historically, the interactions in these relationships were not accorded serious attention – either they were not recorded or not carefully considered.
A strong strategy respects the consumers, clients and employees and values the data they provide. It requires a work culture for employees which encourages change, experimentation and flexibility around digital technologies like AI.
Accessible and retrievable records of the interactions which your consumers, employees, and clients have with your organisation, across all mediums, are invaluable resources that a digital transformation strategy provides.
AI thrives on data. The quality, relevance, and volume of your data directly impact the effectiveness of your AI initiatives. Your data strategy should address how you’ll collect, store, process, and protect data. It includes considerations about data privacy regulations, data quality management, and data governance. You need to determine if you have the necessary data to support your AI initiatives and, if not, how you will acquire it.
4. Infrastructure & Technology
Implementing AI often requires specific infrastructure and technology capabilities. Your strategy should assess your existing tech stack’s readiness and the necessary upgrades or new acquisitions. Considerations include cloud vs. on-premise solutions, data storage capacity, processing power, and the compatibility of new technologies with existing systems.
5. Talent, Skills & Governance
Your AI strategy should outline a plan for upskilling current employees, hiring new talent, and creating a culture of continuous learning. It should also include the appointment of AI leadership roles, such as AI project managers or Chief AI Officers, to drive and oversee AI initiatives.
In addition, as AI becomes increasingly integral to operations, ethical and governance issues grow more important. Your AI strategy should address transparency (how AI decisions are made), accountability (who is responsible for AI decisions), security (how AI systems and data are protected), and fairness (how to prevent and address bias in AI systems). Establish an AI ethics committee or appoint an AI ethics officer to ensure adherence to these guidelines.
How to get started on an AI Strategy
Develop & Implement an AI Strategy that achieves growth
The biggest challenge in creating and implementing an AI strategy is that many people think they know what AI means and does, but in fact don’t really understand it. This leads to misunderstandings of what the strategy should actually involve. The following are some common steps on developing and implementing an AI Strategy:
Identify a Vision: The first step is to understand your strategic goals and determine how AI can support these objectives.
Conduct Current State Research: Assess your existing services, experiences, technology, data, skills, and culture to identify gaps and opportunities for AI integration and enablement.
Co-design your AI Strategy: Leverage operational, customer and employee data to identify gaps where AI could support achieving the defined vision and determine the required data strategy, assess infrastructure needs, plan for talent acquisition, and develop ethical guidelines.
Execution and Implementation: Start with pilot projects to test and refine the strategy. Roll out successful implementations across the organisation, ensuring regular monitoring and adjustments.
Review and Adapt: Continually review the effectiveness of your AI strategy. Update and adapt it based on technological advances, organisational changes, and lessons learned from implementation.
Remember, developing and implementing an AI strategy is a journey, not a destination. It requires ongoing commitment, agility, and a willingness to not only accept change, but in fact embrace it at every level.
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Why The Strategy Group
should be your strategy partner
We will work with you to design and support implementation of a strategy for your business unit, for your entire organisation, or for any segment of your organisation where a fresh approach will add value.
We will use a combination of globally-recognised leading-edge processes, coupled with our proprietary validated toolbox to develop a bespoke, customised strategy, which we can assist you in implementing, that will deliver tangible impact and value to your organisation, employees and customers.
We have been designing and implementing strategy solutions since 2003 and we have the expertise and the experience not only to deliver, but to overdeliver.