4 Steps to Start Your AI Strategy and Implementation


By Chris Kueppers,  Client Strategist at Horizontal Integration 

The perception of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is moving away from this futuristic robotic concept as portrayed by Hollywood into practical applications being leveraged in nearly every industry. From product recommendations on your favorite online retail, movie suggestions on Netflix or asking Alexa to schedule you an oil change, this technology is already integrated in our daily lives, whether we know it or not. Many smart marketers are taking notice recognizing the value it can bring to their organization and customers alike. In fact, 84% of enterprises believe investing in AI will lead to competitive advantages (Statista).

Let’s start with some definitions -

Artificial Intelligence (AI) - is a broad term used to describe any technology that can enable a system to demonstrate human-like intelligence. These processes include learning, reasoning and self-correction.

Machine Learning – A subset of AI which uses mathematical algorithms to process large amounts of data to help make or inform decisions. The larger and more diverse the dataset, the better the insights become.

Deep Learning – This is really the next evolution of Machine Learning allowing a system to learn from experiences as well as data processing, much like a human does.

Benefits of AI, specifically Machine Learning

At the very core, AI provides efficiency and accuracy to your organization. It has the ability to process large amounts of data, quickly identifying real actionable insights. For example, within the recruiting industry we are seeing the use of chatbots powered by AI to help answer questions, schedule interviews, send follow-up emails and even identify jobs that a potential candidate qualifies for. This frees up a recruiter to focus on the human element of the hiring process rather than completing mundane tasks.

Where to Start

The buzz of AI is loud and only getting louder. It can make you feel like you’re falling behind. Don’t worry, you’re not. Only 15% of enterprises are using AI as of today, but 31% are expected to add it over the coming 12 months (Adobe). So it’s not too late but you should start the conversation sooner than later. Here are high-level considerations as you begin to maneuver your AI journey.

  1. Identify a business problem(s) – If you have done strategic planning you likely already have these business problems or goals identified. Determine if the implementation of AI technology could enhance these plans, AI isn’t the answer for all situations.
  2. Be Realistic – Don’t think of AI as a massive overhaul but rather a compliment to your existing marketing strategy. This makes it more digestible, easier to sell to leadership and will allow you to mitigate the risk which comes with any new technology implementation. The idea is crawl, walk and run.
  3. Find the Right AI Service – There are a ton of different technology platforms that leverage AI services to accomplish a wide array of functions. By identifying not only your immediate needs but also how AI will fit into your long-term roadmap you can begin to evaluate what makes sense for your organization. The good news is you might already be using services which have AI capabilities. For example, Salesforce announced in the Spring of 2016 their built in AI technology called Einstein which is available through their cloud products. Sitecore also rolled out Cortex this year which furthers the ability of predictive analytics and personalization. The more you leverage what is already integrated into your daily processes the less heavy lifting there is to do and the quicker you will start garnering insights.
  4. Analysis and Optimization – Machine learning still needs human intervention and analysis. Treat AI just like other marketing channels and tactics. Continue to improve your AI-enabled initiatives by prioritizing data analytics. Develop an optimization strategy.


Final Thoughts

Remember AI is only as good as the data it is being fed. A big piece of the AI pie is understanding the data that you have at your disposal. Knowing your technology ecosystem and what information your organization to work with will help level set exceptions on what actionable insights that can be garnered. AI is going to continue to be part of our everyday lives improving how we interact with systems as consumers and organizations. It’s time to get on board and embrace what many are considering the next phase of human evolution.

Look for upcoming articles about specific implementations of AI.