Achieving AI Payoff: From Science Fiction to Facts

By Stephen Meserve, IBM Cognitive Infrastructure

May 13, 2019

It is a well-documented fact that everyone is excited about AI, but few businesses are actually following through on that excitement with new business initiatives and innovative approaches to existing business problems that leverage AI.

Quite frankly, it isn’t that hard to explain. AI means data. Lots of it. It also means navigating an ocean of open-source frameworks and rapidly evolving technology stacks. One machine learning developer even went so far as to list off technologies he knows in his LinkedIn profile but hide the names of Pokémon in their midst as a joke. The crazy part is that, even as someone in the field, it’s hard to tell the difference.

 It’s time for businesses to stop thinking of AI as science fiction or a technology accessible only to the largest corporations. Today, AI is practical for every business. Every business should be looking for ways to leverage its data to deliver value.

But for all the reasons above and more, you may be struggling with how to get started. There are a lot of choices, and the strategic importance of AI cannot be overstated.

Further Reading: Don’t Squander Your AI Resources

Before considering the technology behind the project, first, make sure that you have a solid business case for AI. There are very few “pure” AI use cases out there. Pure use cases would be those where the AI is the ends and the means of the product and often the company. For example, a product that is wholly built from AI like a translation service. Most often, AI is added to existing business processes and projects. Wherever you would do prediction or classification, two things that AI excels at, in your normal process, consider supplementing with AI.

Three of the most common use cases for AI are ones applicable to almost any business.

Fraud
Any company that transacts with anyone, which is any business, likely has some percentage of their business lost to fraudulent transactions. Far from just the concern of financial firms, preventing fraud also applies to retail, insurance and a litany of other industries.

Chatbots

You cannot be everywhere all the time. Customers are going to have questions and issues outside of your standard operating hours. Chatbots extend your capability to serve customers both in terms of capacity, breadth of knowledge and even conversation venue, as many have implemented chatbots on social networks.

Process improvement

Every single company out there has a process to get things done. Some have more than others. If you are trying to streamline and optimize your processes, AI can help sort through the raft of data that you are likely sitting on to derive insight.

Once you’ve identified a use case, having the right technology is something you can start to consider. AI is a team sport and so too is the selection process. As you consider vendors, think about your ability to adapt to future business priorities and scale up to meet future needs using the technology you buy today.

IBM has released the IBM Power Systems AI Starter Kit, a defined configuration of hardware and software that is the perfect starting point for most businesses. It contains both hardware and software from IBM that will get most started and even includes five days of lab services assistance to get your AI journey off to a strong start.

Avoid false starts and get started right today. Your AI future awaits.

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