Organizations should be able to articulate a clear business strategy that outlines how and why they intend to use AI to create value. Accordingly, they should determine how they can adapt to the changes brought on by AI as well as invest in the opportunities it creates. This strategy should demonstrate how AI benefits the business, its employees, and society.
AI can create value in four ways:
- Decision support: This involves generating data-driven insights for improved decision-making using AI.
- Customer and employee engagement: This approach leverages AI-enhanced customer support and employee management.
- Automation: This approach uses AI-driven process automation to reduce time, cost, and errors.
- New products and services: This function concerns creating new kinds of smart products and services, or to improve the process of product design and delivery, by using AI.
(Borges et al. 2021)
Each approach offers advantages and drawbacks. For example, organizations can leverage AI’s predictive capabilities to empower employees to make smarter decisions. For this approach to generate value, employees need access to, and support for, AI-driven analytics tools and insights. Leaders should also secure the buy-in of stakeholders across the organization to ensure that the technology is embraced and used effectively.
With AI-enabled customer and employee engagement, organizations can enhance customer experiences, improve employee performance, retention, and more. Chatbots are one example of this, though it’s important to prioritize the user experience as users may become frustrated with inflexible interactions. Similarly, process automation is often viewed as the simplest way to use AI and may be quick to generate returns, but employee displacement can impact morale and bear other hidden costs. Finally, AI-driven product innovation can result in sophisticated offerings that generate new revenue streams. However, business leaders should be mindful of the advanced capabilities required to execute this approach.
To select the combination of approaches and opportunities that is most likely to create a competitive advantage, organizations should consider how their existing offerings, data assets, and AI capabilities may align with these sources of value. Infographic 1 outlines four high-level strategic directions and related considerations for responsible AI deployment. These strategies are positioned to build competitive advantage by prioritizing the customer experience.
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