According to a recent Accenture report, 84 percent of C-suite executives believe that scaling artificial intelligence (AI) is critical to achieving their growth objectives. However, this is easier said than done as 76 percent acknowledge that scaling AI enterprise wide is a challenging undertaking and three-quarters believe failing to do so could put them out of business in the next five years.
So, what can executives do to overcome their AI scaling challenges?
The Accenture research outlines three key success factors that all companies can benefit from: 1) strong C-suite commitment to AI deployment, 2) a strong data foundation, and 3) multi-disciplinary AI teams embedded throughout the company.
Drive intentional AI
As a CIO article on the Accenture report put it, “AI initiatives that are not firmly grounded in business strategy and lack a governance construct to aid oversight and management are slower to progress.” The authors urge organizations to spend ample time on the basics, ensuring that strategies are clearly defined and that all departments and stakeholders are aware of the approach and their respective roles in the success of those strategies. As with any initiative, scaling AI successfully also requires that companies set the right metrics—and share them enterprise-wide—in order to ensure accountability and that everyone is working towards the same goal.
Separating actionable data from the noise
Ninety-five percent of the companies Accenture surveyed agree that data plays a pivotal foundational role in scaling AI. Yet many are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data in their organizations and struggling to adequately cleanse, manage, maintain, and utilize this information. This is why it’s so critical that companies have a strong business intelligence (BI) and analytics platform capable of supporting AI and other emerging technologies. As the CIO piece notes, “The companies that wield a larger, more accurate data set and are simultaneously able to integrate internal and external data sets will be more successful.” So, if you’re one of the many organizations struggling to scale AI, consider evaluating your approach to structuring and managing data—and whether modernizing it might help achieve your AI goals.
Make AI a team sport
Accenture’s research underscores that embedding multi-disciplinary AI teams throughout the organization is key to successfully scaling AI. Or, as CIO put it, “While CIOs can still play a key role in ensuring these teams have clear sponsorship from the top and are aligned with the C-suite vision, it’s important to move away from relying on a lone champion to drive AI efforts.” In addition, by involving employees outside of IT in AI initiatives, they will be more familiar with and open to the technology as it’s scaled.
As the new decade progresses, AI technology will continue to mature and bring new opportunities to enterprises. The companies that can navigate today’s challenges and successfully scale AI are best poised for success as its adoption continues.