In today's fast-paced, increasingly digital business environment, the use of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) is quickly becoming a critical component to remaining competitive. However, presently many business owners still find themselves hesitant to embrace these technological advancements. They worry about losing control over key operations, or the time and monetary investments required, or perhaps it's the Terminator-esque fear of being replaced by machines altogether. Ultimately, it boils down to a natural fear of the unknown. But the reality is that by not stepping into the unknown and embracing AI and automation in the right ways, businesses can risk falling behind their competitors, and missing out on the benefits AI offers. Businesses, even legacy brands, that fail to use technological advancements to their advantages will falter—just ask Blockbuster, or Kodak.
One of AI’s most significant advantages is the capability to process large amounts of data quickly and accurately. By leveraging detailed, cleanly organized data, businesses can gain valuable insights into their operations, efficiencies, or redundancies. Furthermore, AI can tap into vital customer data, which can help guide more informed decisions, refine processes, and reduce expenses. However, a recent study suggests data prioritization still hasn’t caught on yet. According to Juniper Networks, only 35% of companies consider "standardizing, labeling, and cleaning" their data to be a top priority.
Despite the clear benefits of AI and automation, many business leaders are not adequately prepared to use these tools to their full potential. Tech consulting firm, Accenture, reports that of early AI adopters, a mere 12% are currently using AI to, “outpace their competitors," while more than 60% are firmly still in the experimentation phase—"barely scratching the surface of AI’s potential." If this feels like a worrying trend, it may suggest that some businesses are not prepared for the future and may struggle to stay competitive in the long run. Conversely, business owners who are energized by these stats will find themselves at the forefront of AI and automation adoption, on the cutting edge of another digital gold rush, where it pays to be ahead of the curve.
To remain relevant, or competitive, business owners in 2023 need to start exploring and leveraging the power of data and AI. The applications are endless—and they present benefits to businesses of all shapes and sizes. AI’s era of mainstream use is upon us, no longer confined to big data powerhouses and towering financial institutions. This means investing in the necessary technology and infrastructure to support these tools, as well as training employees to use them effectively, is of paramount importance for business owners today. Most importantly however, it also means being open to new ideas and approaches, and not being afraid to experiment and try new things.
That’s what HALO Strategies is doing—even for our own strategic business needs. We abide by a framework that can help fellow business leaders explore, learn, and leverage the benefits of automation. The approach includes assessing the current state of one’s business, defining the business’s desired future state, identifying the data and AI capabilities needed to achieve that state, and finally, implementing and integrating these capabilities into the business. AI is a burgeoning, young technology, but supporting the right operations with AI and automation now, will pay considerable dividends in the near future.