The modern business framework is characterized by being highly dynamic. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is used not only as a cutting-edge tool but also as an essential turning point that aids in development and innovation. In this article, we will offer some suggestions on how to identify, select, and prepare AI use cases that successfully align with your company’s strategic goals.

Delving into AI and its Transformative Potential

Generative Artificial Intelligence is a branch of artificial intelligence that focuses on creating original content from large amounts of data. In this respect, it differs from traditional AI, which deals with processing huge herds of pre-existing data with a view to making decisions or even predicting the future. Thus, Generative Artificial Intelligence applications range from writing and generating texts to creating music, artworks, and much more, casting a new light on modern business. 

In this article, we refer to generative artificial intelligence with the generic term AI.

Analysis of Business needs and objectives

To successfully navigate the ocean of possibilities offered by AI, it is essential to start with a detailed and strategic analysis of your company’s specific needs and objectives. This is the foundation upon which successful guidelines in obtaining Generative AI (GAI) will be developed. Let’s see how to do it:

a. Comprehensive Evaluation of Current Operations

Begin with an exhaustive audit of current processes and operations. Identify areas where efficiency can be improved. Are there repetitive tasks that consume valuable time? Are there processes that can be automated or optimized using AI? For example, in the manufacturing sector, AI can predict machinery maintenance, reducing downtime and improving operational efficiency.

b. Analysis of customer experience

Customer experience is a fertile field for AI. Analyze how your customers interact with your company, something we often forget to iterate. Are there friction points in the customer journey that could be smoothed out with AI? In the retail sector, for example, AI can personalize the shopping experience, offering recommendations based on previous buying behavior.

c. Prospecting for innovation and competitiveness elements

You can evaluate how AI can drive innovation in your company. Are there opportunities for new products or services that could be developed using AI? For example, in the financial services sector, AI can help develop more sophisticated predictive models for risk assessment.

d. Consideration of internal culture and readiness for change

This is no minor issue. Your company’s culture and willingness to change can affect the implementation of AI. Training and change management are crucial aspects to ensure a smooth transition to the adoption of new technologies.

Impact and feasibility assessment

The assessment of impact and feasibility is a critical step on the path to successful implementation of AI. By carefully considering both the potential benefits and practical challenges, and aligning these efforts with corporate strategy, your company can make the most of the opportunities offered by AI, thus ensuring a more innovative and competitive future. Let’s see it in three steps:

a. Assessment of potential impact in different areas

To ensure effective implementation of Artificial Intelligence in your company, it is crucial to carry out an assessment of the potential impact that this technology can have on various key business areas. This assessment will not only allow you to identify the most promising opportunities but also help to face challenges and adjust strategies to maximize benefits. Next, we will explore how AI can have a significant influence in critical areas such as marketing, supply chain, and product development.

  • Impact on Marketing: AI can revolutionize your marketing strategy. For example, the generation of personalized content can increase customer engagement and improve conversion rates. You can evaluate how it can improve your digital marketing campaigns, customer segmentation, and personalization.
  • Impact on the Supply Chain: AI can optimize the supply chain, from demand forecasting to inventory management. You can analyze how AI can reduce costs, improve efficiency, and increase customer satisfaction through faster and more accurate delivery.
  • Impact on Product Development: In product development, AI can shorten design cycles, allow for greater customization, and enhance innovation. Thus, you can evaluate how it can help in product design, simulation, and testing.

b. Assessment of Technical and Economic Feasibility

Financial resources are indeed necessary. However, before addressing this, it is important to ensure that your organization has the required skills to embark on the implementation of AI. These skills can be both technological and, especially, human. Therefore, technical feasibility takes priority over economic feasibility.

  • Technical Feasibility: First of all, you must determine whether you have the necessary technical resources, such as adequate IT infrastructure and specialized AI talent, to implement AI solutions. If not, consider the necessary investments or the possibility of strategic partnerships.
  • Economic Feasibility: Conduct a cost-benefit analysis. Do not take at face value what sector providers explain to you, on paper everything has advantages. You must include in the analysis the cost of implementing AI, training personnel, and changes in infrastructure, against the expected benefits such as increased revenue, cost reduction, and efficiency improvement.

c. Identification of short and long-term objectives

Ensure that the implementation of Generative Artificial Intelligence is aligned with the overall vision and strategy of your company. AI should be considered as a facilitator to achieve long-term business objectives, rather than an end in itself. Therefore, it is crucial to clearly divide between short and long-term goals.

  • Short-Term Objectives: Identify immediate benefits, such as task automation and improvement in operational efficiency. These objectives can offer quick returns and help build the business case for broader investments in AI.
  • Long-Term Objectives: Consider how AI can transform your business in the long term. This may include the creation of new business models, the transformation of products or services, or the redefinition of the customer experience.

Prioritization Based on Return on Investment (ROI)

After understanding the business needs and objectives regarding the application of AI in your company and evaluating the impact and feasibility, it is time to prioritize based on the expected Return on Investment (ROI), a crucial step in this exciting journey towards digital transformation.

a. Demystifying ROI in the Era of AI

ROI is not just a set of numbers; it is a narrative that speaks about the efficiency, effectiveness, and, most importantly, the viability of your investments in AI. To unravel this narrative, start by identifying the tangible and intangible benefits that AI can bring to your company.

b. Tangible Benefits: The numerical evidence

Tangible benefits are those that you can measure directly in financial terms. For example, in the case of a customer service chatbot powered by AI, tangible benefits may include the reduction of labor costs and increased efficiency in resolving queries. Here, the calculation of ROI involves comparing the cost of development and maintenance of the chatbot with the savings in labor costs and the increase in customer satisfaction.

c. Intangible Benefits: Beyond the numbers

Intangible benefits, although not directly reflected in your bottom line, are equally important. They include improvements in customer satisfaction, brand image, and innovation. For example, the implementation of a personalized recommendation system may not show an immediate ROI, but it improves the customer experience, which in the long term translates into greater loyalty and customer retention.

d. Prioritization based on data

Use data and analysis to prioritize AI projects. Projects with a clear and quick ROI should be at the top of the list, especially if you are in the early stages of adopting AI . These ‘quick wins’ can generate confidence and support for more ambitious and long-term investments. In any case, always evaluate the level of risk associated with each AI project, along with the time it will take to see a return.

Do not focus solely on short-term ROI. Consider how AI projects can contribute to your long-term strategic objectives. Some investments in AI may be strategic, opening up new market opportunities or creating fundamental capabilities for the future.

Finally, ensure that the prioritization of AI projects is aligned with the overall strategy of the company. Projects that directly support your strategic objectives should be prioritized, even if their ROI is more difficult to measure.

Author: Ricardo Alfaro