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Just How Important Is AI to Your Company?

By Thomas H. Davenport


It’s still early days for artificial intelligence (AI) in the enterprise, and if you have some responsibility for analytics and/or AI within your company, you may be wondering just how hard you should push for the technology. Dip a toe in the water? A bit more substantial investment and effort? Or should you adopt the AI equivalent of “competing on analytics” and go full steam ahead with making your business more artificially intelligent? And what criteria should you employ in making this decision?

There are at least four approaches to AI that an organization can take. One approach, of course, is “Ignoring” AI altogether. That might make sense if your company has no high-quality data to analyze about key aspects of your business, if you don’t have business processes with structured, high-frequency tasks, or if you only have a few customers who don’t have questions about your products and services, and few employees who don’t need a lot of HR or IT support. I’m not sure how many such businesses there are like that, but if they exist they are probably small B-to-B companies with only a few customers and products and services that require a lot of human interpretation. Companies with these attributes also probably wouldn’t have competitors that are investing heavily in AI…