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How many IT or business unit executives out there have read an article in your favorite business technology periodical that stated, “If you don’t embrace the AI wave now, you will be drowned by your competition”? It’s ok, no one can see you raise your hand and, besides, you are in good company. Many companies out there have become early adopters based on industry trends that are constantly presenting themselves in our research, our vendor relationships, and our eager staff recommendations. The business of staying relevant is a pressure cooker, and the AI industry has turned up the heat for many organizations.

The business of staying relevant is a pressure cooker, and AI has turned up the heat for many organizations

Often the business problem to proverbially ‘crush’ with new technology is obvious, but more often than not, it can also result in a hammer looking for a nail. Now, if you are serious about finding that nail, your friendly neighborhood technology vendor will surely aid in your quest, but if you take nothing else from this blog series, take this one nugget— know the problem you are trying to solve.

You may think this is obvious, but I can’t count the number of calls I have been on with customers who are interested in AI, and upon my query about what business problem they are trying to solve, they respond with “Well, what have other companies like ours used it for?” There is the obvious case of whipping out the infamous “use case list”, neatly sliced and diced by company size and vertical, but my response more often is, “Is this a strategic investment directive for this fiscal year?”

What is the driver behind the request? If you don’t have the driver, you cannot succeed, and call me crazy, but I like to understand what constitutes success for an undertaking like this. And there you have it, the theme of this blog series— Success. How do you achieve it, and how do you avoid its evil twin brother who has a significantly longer name— Another failed IT Project with Unclear Goals because of Misplaced Expectations of a Fledgling Technology.

In this series, we are going to take a practical look at conversational AI adoption as a solution to a problem along with the process of identifying that problem. We will discuss the value proposition that was established/promised by your conversational AI vendor, e.g. better customer interaction, cost avoidance, and better utilization by SMEs, etc. We will examine how conversational AI addresses or fails some of those expectations, and whether they will ever be able to address them. We will also take a reflective look at the overall readiness of an organization and how that affects a typical AI project from inception to completion. We will give you some valued thoughts on how to proceed from where you are in your journey to achieve that elusive success.

We will see you again and look forward to our next installment—Part II– The Value Proposition (or so I am told). Until then!

Dennis Helms
Senior AI Global Solution Architect, Enterprise AI Cloud, HCL's Industry Software Division

Dennis Helms is the Solution Architect for Enterprise AI Cloud products at Industry Software Division of HCL Technologies. With over 17 years of experience in the IT industry, with the past 10 years in consulting, Dennis brings a wealth of practical know-how to the management, operation, and salesmanship of a services or software product-based organization.

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Part II – The Value Proposition (or so I am Told)