Don’t Do AI for AI’s Sake. Five Tips to Avoid AI Failure

Beth Norton
December 14, 2023
3 mins

AI is everywhere, and for good reason; it has the potential to transform business operations and performance more than pretty much any other technology that has come before it. But while there is a long list of companies celebrating AI wins, there is an ever-growing list of businesses experiencing AI failures. Why? Because they’re doing AI for AI’s sake.

“More is not always better” is especially true when it comes to AI. There are a lot of generic generative AI tools widely available, but they lack the vertical and brand context needed to realize efficacy with AI. So, while it might be tempting to dive straight in and utilize every AI tool available to you, you won’t get the contextual content and outputs you need to create truly differentiated, exceptional experiences for your customers.

Integrating AI into your business and workflows requires careful consideration of objectives, alignment with company goals, data requirements, and widespread education and adoption across your organization, so that employees are well-informed on how to maximize success from AI technology.

With that in mind, let’s review five top tips to help you set your organization up for success with AI.

1. Define your purpose and objectives

Adopt a problem-solving mindset and first identify the challenges you’re experiencing, before you start looking for solutions. You’ll never be able to keep up with every latest development in the world of AI and if you try to, neither will you see the return you’re hoping for. Whether it’s bottlenecks with creating content at scale, or campaigns that you can’t execute and launch quick enough, focus on the challenges and the business needs to overcome them. The purpose of leveraging AI is to fuel exceptional experiences for your customers and maximize speed, agility and efficiency. So, start with the problem and work backwards.

2. Foster an innovative culture

Success with AI adoption goes far beyond the technology. It requires a cultural shift within your organization. Scaremongering still litters social and news feeds and it’s likely that your employees are more concerned than you realize. To set your business up for success with AI, you need to educate your organization on how integrating AI will change workflows, and how it will change the day-to-day responsibilities of your employees. Rather than being a threat to jobs, AI will enable and empower people to focus on strategic, high-impact work by automating the monotonous and time-consuming tasks. And yes, while AI will be better at some tasks, humans will be far better at others, and their expertise and oversight will always be needed to maximize successful outputs. The best results will come from human-AI collaboration, and a robust change management strategy will eradicate any fears or concerns about adoption.

3. Improve your data quality

Successful AI solutions rely on high-quality data — data that is accurate, complete, relevant and representative. Using poor-quality data to train a machine learning system is like studying for a maths test by reading novels. You’ll learn something but your efforts won’t help you answer the questions correctly or, in this case, solve the challenges your business is facing.

To improve the quality of your data, you’ll need to audit it; first define acceptable data quality and then check for errors, have an expert review labels and assess whether bias is present. Developing data quality assurance practices will help you realize the best return on your investment in AI.

4. Integrate AI into your business DNA

AI isn’t just a tool, or set of tools, it’s a force multiplier that’s revolutionizing the way we work and transforming the eCommerce landscape. Even if you’re still yet to imagine how AI will impact your organization, rest assured that in the not-too-distant future, it definitely will.

Like any business transformation, if you want to get the most out of AI, it starts with strategy. Your AI strategy will help you to focus on the specific goals of your business and prioritize ways that AI can help you achieve them. By identifying your current challenges, you can determine your AI goals and develop a roadmap based on your business needs. Brands and retailers that have embraced AI and incorporated it into their business strategy are seeing significant benefits and are outpacing their competitors.

This is your call to progress beyond the experimental and truly integrate AI into your business DNA.

5. Continuously monitor and adjust as needed

The rapid evolution of AI means you need to continually monitor the relevance and performance of the technology you integrate, assessing the accuracy and value of the outputs. This ongoing evaluation will help you identify whether the AI services meet the needs of your users and align with your organization as expected. In short, are they helping to solve the challenges you previously identified?

Flexibility will yield the best results with AI and the feedback loop may facilitate the collection of more data to train the AI that will further improve the value of the outputs and therefore, the value for your business.

Success with AI hinges on careful planning, stakeholder involvement and the right expertise. Businesses need to refine their objectives and establish a clear AI strategy, not do AI for AI’s sake.