A blended model is the best approach to have productivity gains from AI. AI adds up to over USD 3 trillion each year in terms of productivity gains, as per a McKinsey report. AI is not about having a definite solution. The ML tools have their own learning curve to deliver the desired results. But how are companies achieving productivity gains?
Abzooba, over the last 10 years, has focused on helping customers build AI at scale. In most cases, our SDRs end up talking to the CDOs, CTOs, CIOs, and CDAOs to understand their requirements. Based on our interaction with them, we outline three working models for developing AI capabilities within the company, viz.: develop an in-house team; hire an AI partner; a blended model of having both an in-house team and an AI partner.
The working model for building AI capabilities is contingent on several factors unique to the industry and the customer. Our research team suggests classifying customers based on business needs.
In this article, we outline what works best in different business scenarios. There is a host of factors that are relevant before deciding.
It is important to note some misconceptions associated with AI:
- AI solutions are domain focused
- AI is for enterprises and not workable for SMBs
- Building AI capabilities are expensive and time taking
- AI is about robotics and autonomous vehicles alone
None of the above holds true. AI is a valuable and smarter way to execute business strategy, as with ERPs a few decades back.
In practice, AI solutions have two major parts:
- Big data, which involves aggregating the data, both structured and unstructured, easing its usage for decision-making
- Using the data sets to experiment with statistical models to predict, automate, and detect anomalies
Good AI tools complement the decision-making of leaders, taking company-specific operating constraints. And it is important to define the implementation model.
The three options for AI solutions are:
- Off-the-shelf ready-to-use products: virtual assistants, chatbots, etc.
- Create an in-house AI team to work on solutions spanning multiple functions within the company
- A blended model that involves having an in-house team that engages with an AI partner
The four business needs can be:
- Traction: Mostly relevant for start-ups who need preliminary quick-fix tools while they focus on building traction of business
- Scale: Depending on the time horizon, companies looking to scale will focus on hiring an AI partner or build an in-house AI team
- Transformation: This is usually about changing the business model, and the blended approach to using AI is most suitable
- Automation: A blended approach is likely to work best in automation projects
- Building AI solutions
A lot of organizations lean toward the in-house strategy.
- Data privacy concerns are a non-issue.
- Make AI solutions becoming an integral part of the business model to gain competitive advantages.
However, building an in-house AI team comes with the challenge of attracting the right group of skilled professionals. Benchmarking their performance on an effort-vs-output matrix is a challenge. It can take many months to build a well-performing AI solution.
- Bring in an AI partner to collaborate
Building AI capabilities costs money, and depending on the type of business needs outlined above, outsourcing the AI requirements to a partner is one of the workable approaches.
The AI partner with its pool of talent and learning from its clientele can bring scale to the AI project. Linking the payout to performance will help achieve the timelines defined for the project. It is much cost-effective.
- It addresses the challenge to hire and keep AI experts
- Output focused engagement is possible with an AI partner
- Quicker implementation
- The blended model
The blended model is having an AI partner work with your in-house AI team.
- Both scale and ROI are measurable with clarity of ownership of the project
- While the AI partner can work on the ‘AI-as-a-service’ model, the in-house AI team can focus on driving innovations
In conclusion, the decision to hire an AI partner is a value-arbitrage decision with the highest chances for success. We at Abzooba prefer working on a blended model with our customers. With a 300 plus team of specialists in AI, we bring scale to the AI goals of customers using our end-to-end data management platform, xpresso.