When to Know If Your Company Is Ready for AI Automation
Some of us relish the idea. Some of us are apprehensive of the concept. But embrace it or not, automation is slowly but surely weaving its way into every aspect of our lives.
As a team leader, you’re probably as excited about the idea of automation as we are. After all, implemented properly, it can save companies time and money, ultimately increasing what really matters: productivity, profits, and pleasant customer experiences.
But one of the biggest mistakes IT champions can make when pitching trendy, transformative technologies like AI-powered automation to executives is not doing their homework. All too often, they fail to identify the problem they’re trying to solve, determine whether or not it’s even worth solving, and understand whether their company is in the right position to solve it.
This article aims to support you as you explore the idea of implementing automation at your company, providing you with a comprehensive to-do list that, when completed, will ultimately give you a good indication on whether or not your company is ready for AI automation.
What problem are you trying to solve?
The first question you need to ask yourself is, what are the most pressing challenges that your team is facing? You may be suffering from slow agent response times. Or perhaps your customers are complaining about not being able to reach anyone during out-of-office hours. These are problems AI can solve.
Other challenges, however, like frequent customer returns, may require other solutions. To identify a use case for AI automation, spend some time studying numerous secondary sources. Look up scientific articles, consult Google Trends and Google Scholar, read industry magazines, and watch Youtube videos for ideas.
᥅ Ask yourself: What are our most common customer complaints? What issues do our employees bring to me over and over again?
Is it even worth solving?
Now that you’ve identified your challenges and found that they could, indeed, be solved with some help from AI, it’s important to consider the outcome of implementing a solution. While AI automation can solve many issues, sometimes solving them doesn’t actually result in the hugely increased profits and productivity that we expect. So it’s important to explore what things would look like for you if you were to take on AI automation at your company.
You can work out if your challenge is worth solving by mapping out what your customer journey could look like with your new solution implemented. Consider also consulting industry publications about your particular challenge for more information.
᥅ Ask yourself: What kind of a difference would solving this problem make to my bottom line? Will it make a sizable impact on customer and/or employee satisfaction?
Is your company in a position to solve it?
OK, so you’ve now established that AI automation can fix your challenges and that this fix will have an impressive impact on your company. The next question you need to ponder is whether or not your company is ready for this AI-powered upgrade?
- Firstly, while AI automation can produce dramatic results and ultimately save companies millions of dollars, its setup and implementation aren’t free. Do some research into the costs of various AI automation solutions, and make sure you have the budget to invest in your preferred option.
- Secondly, you’ll need to look at your company set up to determine if it is amenable to AI automation. Do you have an IT team who can be involved in setting it up, testing it, and maintaining the technology?
- Thirdly, you’ll want to make sure your data is clean, organised, and easily accessible to be able to put together a clear use case for AI automation. For more information on specific action steps for data cleaning, check out our article Things To Know About Data Before You Implement Automation.
- Finally, you want to ensure your team has the time and capacity to work with the AI solution. It’s integral that there is at least one person who is responsible for monitoring and keeping the technology in check and ensures it’s running well. Indeed, large companies are starting to devote entire teams to these specific tasks.
᥅ Ask yourself: Does my team have the resources/infrastructure to solve the issue with my desired AI solution?
Which AI solution will solve your problem?
Now that you’ve established that your company is in a position to benefit from AI automation, it’s time to look at your AI options. This is the fun part!
There are all kinds of AI automation solutions out there for all kinds of different problems, including:
- Process automation
- Low-code application forms
- Intelligent chatbot automation
- Sentiment analysis for survey feedback
- Text extractors
- Intent detection
- Directing customers to the appropriate agent
- Data composition, organisation and analysis
- Seamless integration of service channels
And of course, all of these solutions have multiple providers -- some with better testimonials, or cheaper prices, or simpler interfaces. Do your due diligence and window shop away, until you’ve found the solution that best suits your company’s needs.
᥅ Ask yourself: Looking at the AI solutions available, which aligns best with my company’s problem?
What are your competitors doing?
If you’re struggling to figure out which AI automation solution will work best for your company, try to find out what your competitors are trialling or have implemented. This will give you an idea of what’s going on in your specific industry, and allow you to make an accurate assessment as to whether you should jump on the bandwagon, or perhaps take another approach entirely. There are many different ways to approach this -- from those that require heavy R&D investment, or those that can be done in a day or two. Start with a SWOT analysis, and also consider exploring web audits, public records, and other kinds of business databases.
᥅ Ask yourself: What are my competitors doing that could also work for us?
Does the AI solution align with your company’s strategies and priorities?
Now, AI automation solutions are flexible and adaptable to meet most companies’ unique needs and setups.
But it isn’t for everyone.
Our VP of Customer Success, Joonas Suoranta, explains:
“If the customer service is super system heavy with multiple backend systems, a lot of manual checking by the agents between back end systems, no proper APIs to integrate to, it will be extremely hard to build a high-quality automation solution. In these situations, the customer service is still lacking a solid and optimised process.”
Connect with experts within your company to get a clear idea of the many ongoing projects that your solution could potentially help with. This is also a good opportunity to ensure that a) the rest of the team will be on board with the idea and b) that your company isn’t already using or considering using a similar technology already. To make sure this is the right road for your organisation to go down, run a cost-benefit analysis to evaluate the AI solution’s viability.
᥅ Ask yourself: Does this AI solution fit with my company’s set up, plans, and goals?
Can you make a business case for the solution?
Finally, you’ll want to put all this together to present as a business case for your shareholders or executives. Demonstrate everything you’ve uncovered in this checklist. Break it all down for them in simple language, explaining any complex terms so as to not make anyone feel out of touch. Consider enlisting a designer who can help you design a presentation that will be compelling and engaging, and -- most importantly -- comprehensive. You won’t get anywhere with your idea until your shareholders fully understand it, so make this process easy for them.
Most importantly: show what kind of ROI your decision-makers can expect. Let them know, specifically, that internal stakeholders like themselves will benefit from the use case, and, if possible, who will benefit in particular. Be as specific as possible here.
᥅ Ask yourself: Can you show major areas where AI automation can provide real, quantifiable cost savings? Can you quantify the projected improvement in employee productivity and/or customer/employee happiness?
Once you’ve put it all together, it’s time to don your AI Automation Championing hat and schedule that meeting with your decision-makers. Now that you’ve done your homework, you’re perfectly positioned to get your entire team on board for your proposed AI solution -- since now, you know that your company is, indeed, ready for AI automation.
If you found that chatbot automation could be a solution to your team’s greatest challenges, download our free e-book: The Full Chatbot Automation Guide.
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