Implementing AI Projects Must Be a Team Sport

When individual departments start AI projects on their own, without the support of their IT departments, success is difficult.

Ravi Pendekanti is Senior Vice President of Product Management and Marketing for Dell EMC Servers and Infrastructure Systems.

With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) comes a potential benefit on overall business outcomes. As a result, companies of all sizes are incorporating AI, machine learning and deep learning into their business processes – ranging from automation to analytics. Chat bots are improving the customer care experience, and predictive modeling is helping organizations with inventory management. Some organizations use AI to identify patterns in data that help marketing and sales react to changing trends quickly. Others turn to AI for help with fraud detection and security. Whatever the application, almost all lines of business across every industry are benefiting from AI.

What many organizations don’t realize, however, is that the application of AI is truly a team sport. When individual departments start AI projects on their own, without the support of their IT departments, success is difficult. Surprisingly, this is a common occurrence among companies today.

A recent study by Forrester Consulting found that lines of business completely bypass IT departments 15 percent to 20 percent of the time on their AI initiatives. While that may seem like a small percentage, the potential repercussions are not. Bypassing IT can have massive implications and lead to major problems both in the short and long-term.

AI gives companies a competitive edge and positions them for growth. But the process should be strategic and implemented in partnership with the organization’s IT department. As many companies learned the hard way, bypassing IT can backfire, leading to increased costs, security breaches and a host of other problems down the road.

Your Company’s Reputation is at Stake

For most companies, finding ways to enhance the customer experience, throughout all stages of the customer journey, is a top priority. Customer care is an organization's front line of interaction with its customer base, so it presents the perfect opportunity to surprise and delight them with intelligent, on-brand content. This is a main reason why your AI-driven interactions must be on point. A negative interaction can leave customers frustrated.

Even with the best intentions, unexpected mistakes in AI deployments can quickly become public, thereby causing substantial damage to businesses’ reputation and ability to ultimately succeed. 

Of course, this is not to say that these companies shouldn’t move forward with their AI projects. The most modernized and innovative companies are already using AI, or plan to do so within the next year. So, waiting too long isn’t an option, either. In fact, doing nothing poses the risk of being left behind and then having to play catch-up in the market.

How to Partner with IT to Develop a Strategic AI Plan

The good news is that CIOs and IT leaders are well positioned to lead these AI projects across the company, so that the entire organization benefits. They can help prioritize and determine which projects make the most sense given the available resources.

IT can provide strategic guidance on where to start small and test the waters, which is critical for success. It’s better to have an early win with AI before jumping into a high profile, mission critical project that would cause significant problems if something were to go wrong. IT leaders can help research and steer these conversations, ensuring that the strategy aligns with that of the overall company.

IT leaders also understand better than anyone the new demands that AI places on hardware and software. If your infrastructure is not prepared to handle the increased workloads, the projects can end up costing considerable time and money. IT knows your internal systems best and can recommend trusted vendors, another crucial component.

Another benefit of partnering with IT is that they are familiar with the company’s IT infrastructure, including its current limitations, and will use the information when purchasing new equipment designed to handle the massive amounts of data. They also can implement centralized security and controls to ensure data is protected and safe, and meeting compliance regulations and mandates globally.

AI is exciting and offers countless benefits to companies, but individual lines of businesses must work with their IT departments to make sure it’s done right. Implementing AI is truly a team sport, and building this partnership up-front can save the company time, money and lots of headaches in the future. Working together, everyone wins.

Opinions expressed in the article above do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Data Center Knowledge and Informa.

 

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