Identifying AI Opportunities

August 14, 2023

In this era of digital transformation, Artificial intelligence (AI) stands out as a game-changer across different industries. With AI market value expected to grow twentyfold by 2030, up to nearly 2 trillion USD, its significance for companies can't be overstated. 

A consensus among business leaders highlights AI as a pivotal factor in ensuring business success in the future.  A recent survey spanning the United States, China, Japan, Germany, and South Korea, underscored this sentiment, with executives globally ranking AI as a top technology of strategic significance. 

AI shows the potential to completely transform your business, helping it grow and stay ahead of the curve by providing you with a competitive advantage

In this article, we explore the ways to identify AI opportunities and make them work for your business's benefit.

AI Opportunity Discovery Process

To unlock the vast potential of AI for your organization, a systematic approach to AI opportunity discovery is crucial. It involves several key steps to ensure the effective identification and evaluation of AI applications.

1. Build a Cross-Functional Team

The first step to discovering  AI opportunities is forming a cross-functional team. This team brings together individuals with diverse expertise encompassing business processes and technical domains, such as data science, data infrastructure, IT infrastructure, and security. It can also include individuals from non-technical domains, such as sales, marketing, etc. 

By combining these insights, the team can collaboratively identify, evaluate, and prioritize AI opportunities that align with business goals. 

Building a cross-functional team can help your business in the following ways.

  • The interdisciplinary approach of a cross-functional team ensures a thorough grasp of the organization's operations and challenges.
  • By leveraging varied expertise, the team identifies specific areas where AI can potentially create transformative change.
  • Collaborative efforts facilitate a well-rounded evaluation of AI projects, considering technical feasibility, resource requirements, and potential impact.
  • The combined knowledge of diverse team members enhances the ability to spot opportunities that may be overlooked from a single perspective.

2. Explore AI Use Cases

Once the cross-functional team has been established, exploring AI opportunities begins by generating a comprehensive list of potential use cases and areas where AI can deliver value. 

This phase involves delving into how AI aligns with key strategic objectives. 

This might include

  • Investigating how AI can enhance product intelligence
  • Amplifying the capabilities of services offered.
  • Providing an enhanced understanding of customer behaviours and preferences.
  • Optimizing business processes through intelligent automation.
  • Streamlining core functions by automating time-consuming and repetitive tasks. 

Each use case is then subjected to a detailed evaluation, considering its feasibility, potential impact, and alignment with your organization's overall goals. Through this meticulous assessment, the team narrows down the list to the most promising AI opportunities, setting the stage for focused development and strategic implementation.

3. Assess & Prioritize AI Opportunities

After compiling potential projects, the cross-functional team can undertake a practical assessment to realistically evaluate and identify the projects with the highest likelihood of selection.

Here is a list of questions to ask to identify each project's potential impact and alignment with your organization's objectives.

Where is a need to make better decisions?

The team evaluates where better decision-making could yield substantial benefits, focusing on areas where AI could offer unique insights or predictive capabilities.

Where are we most inefficient?

By identifying areas of inefficiency, the team seeks opportunities where AI-driven automation or optimization could streamline processes and resource utilization.

What business outcome do we want to achieve?

The focus shifts to understanding the specific business outcomes sought from each project. This question helps clarify whether the proposed AI application aligns with strategic goals.

Will this actually solve our problem?

A critical query centers on whether the proposed AI solution genuinely addresses an existing problem or challenge the organization faces.

Projects are plotted based on their potential value (ROI) and deliverability (effort/resources required), identifying sweet spot opportunities. Projects that exhibit the highest potential for significant impact and are attainable within the organization's resources rise to the forefront. 

AI Investment & ROI

With the AI sector set to become a trillion-dollar market within the next five years, understanding ROI opportunities is paramount. This involves a dual approach: delving into established use cases within your industry and exploring known use cases in adjacent industries.

Known Use-Cases Within Your Own Industry

Explore credible and capable companies in the startup ecosystem within your industry. Study leading companies within banking, insurance, or brick-and-mortar retail, as they often have significant AI investments.

Known Use-Cases in Adjacent Industries

Look beyond your own industry and explore use cases in adjacent industries. Learn from other industries' AI applications to unlock the full capabilities of the technology and discover new ideas worth adopting.

Confining your AI scope within your industry's boundaries could limit your company's potential to fully exploit technology's capabilities and embrace a diverse array of valuable ideas.

Maximizing Impact: AI Opportunities at Different Levels

Unlocking AI's full potential involves recognizing opportunities across various organizational tiers, ensuring a comprehensive and impactful integration.

Business Level: Processes Driving Profits, Revenue, and Growth

Companies can harness AI's transformative power to optimize processes that directly impact financial metrics. Moreover, companies can enhance profitability, boost revenue streams, and foster sustainable growth. They can achieve this by strategically implementing AI in resource allocation, supply chain management, and market analysis.

Customer Level: Enhancing Products, Services, and Experiences

AI's capabilities extend to refining customer-centric facets. Through AI-driven personalized recommendations, sentiment analysis, and predictive modeling, businesses can elevate products and services, enriching customer experiences and cultivating loyalty.

Employee Level: Streamlining Workflow and Operational Structure

AI streamlines internal operations by automating routine tasks, facilitating data-driven decision-making, and enhancing collaboration. This empowers employees to focus on strategic initiatives, leading to increased efficiency, reduced operational bottlenecks, and a more agile operational framework.

‍Think about how these three levels constantly connect and influence each other. For instance, a business is a blend of its strategy, customers, and employees. Moreover, product, service, or customer experience changes impact operational structure, affecting revenue growth.

However, it's important to realize that not all AI changes at the employee level directly affect profits or customer experience. The relationships are more intricate than they might seem.

Examples of Mapping Your Business Problems to AI Opportunities

By identifying and mapping business problems to potential AI solutions, you can uncover opportunities for enhanced efficiency, innovation, and growth. 

Let's delve into a few illustrative scenarios:

Example 1: Marketing, Sales, & Customer Support

Business Problem:

The dynamic landscape of our marketing, sales, and customer support often challenges managing rapid customer base growth. As our customer base expands to 35% annually, ensuring marketing efforts, sales strategies, and customer support remain responsive becomes paramount.

AI Opportunities: Scaling to Meet Rapid Customer Base Growth

  • Develop an AI chatbot to direct common customer support queries and ensure quick and accurate responses.
  • Create an automated platform using generative AI to aid marketing teams in ad content creation.
  • Construct an AI system to analyze customer data and send tailored marketing campaigns.
  • Implement AI for sales support, offering insights and strategies to empower sales teams.

Example 2: Legal Firm Automation

Business problem:

Approximately 75% of our operational time is consumed manually reviewing and analyzing intricate legal documents. Manually sifting through voluminous contracts and documents is time-consuming and prone to errors, leading to overlooked critical information or clauses.

AI Opportunities: Streamlining Legal Document Review and Analysis

  • Develop AI tools that can extract key information from legal documents, summarize their contents, and highlight critical clauses, expediting the review process and enhancing accuracy.
  • Create an AI-powered platform that assists legal professionals by quickly summarizing case law and identifying relevant statutes.
  • Implement a case management automation system that automates manual tasks, such as data entry, organizes workflows, and facilitates communication between team members.

Example 3: Transportation

Business problem:

We face a pressing challenge in retaining passengers and enhancing their overall experience. High costs result in a 15% user churn rate, where passengers switch to alternative modes of transportation or service providers, impacting revenue and brand loyalty.

AI Opportunities: Enhancing Passenger Experience and Reducing Churn

  • Develop AI algorithms that predict maintenance needs for vehicles and infrastructure.
  • Utilize AI to analyze real-time passenger feedback, identifying areas of concern or dissatisfaction.
  • Implement AI algorithms to dynamically adjust pricing based on demand, availability, and travel patterns, offering competitive fares and incentives to retain passengers.

Overcome AI Deployment Challenges with

AI can revolutionize industries, optimize processes, and enhance customer experiences. While identifying the right AI opportunities is the first step, the true transformation lies in seamlessly integrating them into your business operations.

However, integrating AI into your operations can be a daunting task. This is where, a trusted AI advisor, can help. Our team of experienced AI experts can assist you in simplifying the complexities of integrating AI solutions into your business processes. With our expertise in delivering exceptional AI solutions suited to individual use cases, we have boosted revenue for several businesses.

Ready to elevate your organization's capabilities and embark on your AI journey? Reach out to us today and explore how we can help you overcome AI deployment challenges.

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