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10 critical questions to ask ahead of AI implementation

Posted on Feb 10, 2022 by Prem Kumar
AI implementation

Artificial Intelligence, which was earlier perceived as a niche area in computer science has slowly emerged as one of the most popular technologies due to its foray into various business and technology segments. The past few years have shown tremendous potential and growth of AI in business areas and has now become a dire necessity, rather than a luxury for organizations to develop AI-driven processes. Now, Data science and AI are both driving the growth of the modern workplace, complimenting each other.

AI has even forayed into our personal lives by way of automated gadgets, be it virtual assistants, smart homes, or semi-autonomous cars. On the whole, AI is influencing a lot of our personal lives and it’s obvious that business enterprises all over the world are evincing keen interest in spearheading AI implementations to improve the efficiencies of their workplaces.

However, this requires the right organizational maturity and preparedness. And if this is not done in the right earnest, AI implementations can falter leading to disastrous consequences. To put it straight, if your organization is gearing up for this change to digitally transform your operations, you must first tackle certain internal factors before venturing into this area. And right preparedness indicates that your organization needs to ask the right questions to get into the crux of AI and how it can be put to best use in your organizational eco-system. This means, you need to have a fairly good knowledge of the product, processes, ROI, and installation methods, so you can shortlist the potential solutions that can work best for your organization. So, here are the 10 questions that you need to ask your solution vendor you have shortlisted to arrive at the right decision about implementing an intelligent automation solution at your workplace. So, here we go:

    1. What are the key use cases that your solution can offer and how does my organization benefit?

    Before you start looking at implementing the solution and anticipating quick results, you need to understand if the solution that you embark on can solve your key business problems. Since the market is huge with a lot of options thrown open, you need to focus on your key problems and ask the selected vendors whether they can solve your problems.

    2. Does your product offer a trial version or a PoC to review the application functionality before we invest in your solution?

    This is very important since you need to check with your potential vendor whether their solution offers a trial version to start with or a PoC/short-term contract to test the functionality before you can step up to purchase the solution. It is better to look into this aspect including the RoI that you would generate typically for your organization, rather than blindly investing in a solution.

    3. Will my current intelligent automation solution have any impact on my current business processes?

    One thing is for sure. The automation solution that you invest in should eliminate cumbersome business steps, rather than making them more complex by adding new steps. The objective of any automation tool is to make your process simple, streamline complex workflows, and above all make your development team’s job simpler. If it is going to add any new steps to your already cumbersome business processes, make sure it adds any value to your business, else it doesn’t make sense to consider such a solution.

    4. Will this solution have the capability to integrate with my present API system?

    Just evaluate whether your product will work with the tools you currently have. If you need a specific external tool to make your automation solution work, you need to probe into the pros and cons of this implementation. You need to get a bigger picture of whether the new tool can happily integrate with your current technical ecosystem or not. However, if your current tools need to undergo slight modifications (configuration or version changes) to use an AI solution, consider the overall ROI that you would generate and check whether it’s feasible to adjust your entire tech stack to pave way for a new automation tool.

    5. What type of installation is required for this solution? And how easy it is to install such a solution?

    It is important to understand what type of installation is required for this solution – on-premise or cloud and whether you need to install it as a complete unit or small units integrated into a single system. Also, it makes sense to understand the key stakeholders and personnel, who can help in the installation process and also know how long will it take to install the application.

    6. Should my team members need any training and if so, how long will it take?

    To get the right answer for this question, you need to know whether the application that you are planning to purchase is simple to use, where every team member can easily handle, or does it requires some basic to advanced training sessions for user adoption. If the application’s UI is quite simple and offers context-sensitive help at every stage of application workflow, then it becomes easier for any end-user to work and accomplish the tasks within no time. However, if the UI is a bit complex or needs some initial configurations to ensure that the application is up and running, you need to check with the vendor regarding any formal onboarding or training programs. Also, you need to evaluate how many man-hours of training are required to ensure that your team becomes productive to generate the desired results.

    7. Does your product require any specific data or tools to ensure hassle-free operation?

    To get the trial version or PoC of the application, you need to ask your potential vendor whether they need any data from your organization. Most AI solutions need data sets to learn from and showcase the results. Some of the follow-up questions include:

    • What types of data are required so you can easily access the application?
    • Which are the current tools that need to be integrated into this application to generate the desired outcome?
    • Does this solution warrant a data audit or clean-up before I perform AI implementation?

    Asking these typical questions before you implement your AI system will save a lot of time and unnecessary hassles during the implementation phase.

    8. How about the in-built security measures of this product?

    This is the most important aspect that cannot be ignored at any cost. You need to ensure that both your confidential data – business and customers are completely safeguarded and all types of security measures are in place, be it encryption or blockchain data. Ensure that you understand the complete security measures that the new AI solution comes with including inaccessibility of your company’s information (unless you explicitly grant it). Also, ensure that the new AI system doesn’t pull data into external systems or databases unless you request it.

    9. What are the next stages of the implementation phase?

    It is better to get a clear picture of the implementation process steps to ensure a smooth and hassle-free implementation. You need to check with the vendor whether there’s any pre-implementation workshop, a formal agreement of terms and conditions, and other associated aspects. Knowing beforehand, what comes next helps your organization to quickly adjust and adapt to the new technology, paving way for a smooth installation process for quick results.

    10. Is there any scope of customization, based on my organization’s unique workflows?

    If your organization has unique process flows that warrant focused attention, then you need to ask the solution provider whether they could comply with this requirement. You also need to check whether you need any specific workflow models or system customization as per your business requirements. Also, check who would be the right point of contact to set up any custom feature that syncs with your unique business process. You need to do thorough research on all these aspects before you make the right decision

Though several solutions in the market offer enticing features, however, by asking the right questions, you are sure to select the best solution that can perfectly suit your needs. When that is done, you are on the right path of automation that can outshine your business and of course, offer the best value out of your investment.

To know more about this technology or to schedule a call with us to kickstart your process evaluation and RPA implementation, please get in touch with us today.