Many business leaders are excited about artificial intelligence, but when it comes to investing in technology, they can be spellbound, confused, and bewildered. It doesn’t have to be that way. We interviewed people who work closely with AI solutions and asked them to share their experiences on the best approaches to selling AI 00 the right AI, at the right time, to business leaders.
For starters, it’s imperative to “exercise ‘cognitive courtesy,'” advises Bjorn Austraat, senior vice president and head of AI acceleration at Truist. “Invest time and effort upfront to translate difficult technical concepts into simple English. Likewise, create a compelling and properly framed vision for all project participants to ensure alignment and productive collaboration.
Austraat explains that he uses a “simple sentence” to advance the AI vision. Ask: “Whose life will improve, by how much, and how do we know?” he says. “If you can really answer that question, you’ve covered all the bases, from scoping, to deployment, to value proposition, to political air coverage.”
This clarity of vision is highly recommended by other industry leaders. “The key to selling AI is having a clear and simple explanation of the business case,” acknowledges Ben Hookway, CEO of Relative Insight. “With consumer data pouring in from all directions, much of it is text-based. All of this qualitative textual data can – and should – be strategically influential in brand strategy, product development, customer service , marketing, communications, etc. Much of this data is real-time and extremely valuable in helping to better understand exactly how customers are feeling.”
In Austraat’s industry, financial services, “explainability trumps model performance,” he adds. “In particularly sensitive areas such as credit underwriting, banks and other financial services institutions must balance the desire to innovate and use state-of-the-art AI with reasonable regulatory expectations for explainability, robustness and fairness. The best solution doesn’t always win, especially if it’s too much of a black box.”
It’s also important to impress upon business leaders that successful AI can steer the business in new, potentially positive directions. “Companies aren’t looking to buy sensors, cameras, or AI solutions — they’re looking for a complete solution that solves a business problem,” according to Ken Mills, CEO of EPIC iO. “If you’re trying to sell sensors or video cameras to businesses, my advice is to team up with consultants or solution providers who can provide comprehensive answers to business issues.”
AI is about facilitating processes,” says Umesh Sachdev, co-founder and CEO of Uniphore. “Whether solving customer problems, eliminating manual tasks, or making more accurate predictions, AI complements human effort so humans can work, interact, and innovate more effectively.”
It goes one step further – with the rise of far-reaching AI solutions such as Conversational AI, giving “customers and employees access to elevated problem-solving capabilities, the world as we we know will fundamentally change,” writes Robb Wilson, founder of OneReach .ai in his latest book, Age of Invisible Machines. Business leaders need to understand that AI cannot be successful in the long term as one-off, disconnected projects. This “requires a holistic business that touches every aspect of your business. Random acts of technology, like deploying disparate machines that exist in isolation, will overwhelm your workforce and customers, resulting in low rates of A fully integrated approach, however, can bring about a whole new productivity paradigm with unprecedented potential.
Ultimately, the potential is vast, which can impress even the most AI-savvy individuals. “Creative automation was once a reasonably magical innovation in digital marketing,” says Peter Gordon, global head of AI products for Hogarth Worldwide. “But nothing compares to typing the weirdest phrase you can think of – something like ‘a teddy bear on a skateboard in the middle of Times Square’ – and watching the AI instantly generate a perfect photorealistic image of your idea. Or talking to the chatbot of an incredibly insightful Steve Jobs that really feels like a personal conversation. And there’s so much more to come.
Overcoming executive nervousness about AI is also key to successfully selling the technology. People’s first reactions to AI “may be a kind of magical fear,” says Gordon. It’s important for business leaders to understand that AI technology “allows them to do what they do best: power ideation processes to create brand ideas that have never been seen before. “.
Where and how to start? Keep it plain and simple, advises Wilson. “The easiest way to get started is often to automate internally first; Start small by automating individual tasks and skills, not entire tasks. The simpler your starting point, the faster you can test and iterate. The sooner you test and iterate, the sooner you can deploy an in-house solution. You will continue to test and iterate on this solution, using the momentum to find new skills to develop, test, iterate and deliver. You will often fumble as your legs grow, but that is also part of the process.
AI succeeds when it solves pronounced business problems or creates new opportunities. “When businesses consider AI, it’s because they have a need,” says Sachdev. “Some processes are straining their resources or compromising their relationships with their customers, and they want to fix that as easily and cost-effectively as possible. Look for friction points. What areas of a business process are slowing things down or putting an undue burden on customers or employees? What results would a company like to improve and what is preventing it from achieving it? »
For example, AI-addressable friction points are associated with customer experience. “If customers are having trouble at the front-end, perhaps AI can guide them by curating relevant content based on their purchase and search histories,” says Sachdev. “If customer support is the issue, there are a wealth of possibilities to explore. AI can help identify customer intent, improve self-service interactions, and even assist agents during live interactions. “It can check conversations for compliance and analyze them for quality assurance. Either way, it saves human workers time and effort.”