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We Want AI, but Where Do We Start? 3 Steps to Take You from Curious to Confident

Bobbie Cummins profile picture Joe Hinrichs profile picture Jimmy Hinshaw profile picture

Contributors: Bobbie Cummins, Joe Hinrichs, Jimmy Hinshaw

June 19, 2023

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If you recently made the decision to deploy artificial intelligence applications within your company, you likely recognize the urgency of jumping on the AI bandwagon, and are ready to see what the technology can do to improve your business operations. Committing to this time and financial investment is a big first step, but now you may be wondering what's next?

Knowing how to get started with AI can feel daunting. Unfortunately, you can't simply declare you want AI, snap your fingers and—poof! —have it instantaneously implemented into your systems and processes. It takes some careful planning to determine what challenges and opportunities you want AI to solve, as well as the desired outcome, so you can confidently make decisions and define what success looks like for your business.

Whether your ultimate goal is greater employee efficiency, improved customer satisfaction and engagement, or enhanced security, here are three steps that will ensure you start your AI journey on the right foot.

Find the Right Partner

If this is your first encounter with AI as it pertains to your business, having an experienced partner to act as your guide through the process is key.

"You want to look for a partner who understands your business and has experience with providing technology to solve your business's problems. If you don't have that, you won't be successful," says Jimmy Hinshaw, a retail technology and automation solutions expert for Bailiwick.

Ask questions about capabilities and success stories, and make sure you're partnering with a company that is familiar with your industry. "For instance, if you have a line of fast-casual restaurants, you probably don't want to work with a partner who studies astrophysics," he explains.

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Do Some Discovery

With the right partner on-board you can begin a curious conversation to identify what you're trying to solve. Creating a list of needs and wants in all aspects of your operation is the first step for clients of Bailiwick Integrated Intelligence, a comprehensive solution that uses AI to analyze data from common area cameras, sensors and other infrastructure technology to identify trends, problem areas, guest behaviors and more.

"I like to do some discovery with our customers to understand their challenges. What keeps them awake at night?" says Joe Hinrichs, Bailiwick's vice president of IT and product development. "Maybe it's labor, or perhaps it's doing something with greater precision and accuracy. Decide what you want to focus on and solve for."

Once you understand the challenge or opportunity you want to create solutions for, there are two other questions you need to answer. First, "what is your intent with AI? Are you looking for AI to completely solve that challenge, or are you looking for it to give you outside-of-the-box ideas for ways to approach it?" says Hinrichs.

Finally, "what is the outcome that you seek?" he adds. Whether the end goal is shorter wait times for customers or improved safety measures for employees, considering these questions before you implement an AI solution will keep you on track and help measure the success of your project.

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Start Small and Start Now

You don't need to go all in on AI from the get-go. That can be overwhelming, and could put a strain on your employees and budgets. "Let's take small bites and build on those opportunities to grow," says Hinrichs. "Find a small success and build on that success. Take a chance with AI in an area that makes sense for your business."

For example: You have a chain of retail stores and are curious about installing automated checkout stations. "You see the volume of your customers rolling through an automated checkout is faster, or you can have one attendant that oversees six, eight, 10 self-checkouts. Suddenly, you can realize the economies and scale and may want to pursue more."

Most importantly, don't let analysis paralysis hold you back or slow the progress of AI implementation for your business. In the word's of Nike's iconic slogan, just do it.

"Start before you feel ready," says Bobbie Cummins, Bailiwick's director of marketing and communications. "AI, and technology in general, are moving faster than we have the ability to learn it, so if you don't start somewhere, then you are already left behind. Make the decision to get started and then you can keep building from that as you learn."

Taylor Hugo profile picture Written By Taylor Hugo
Taylor Hugo is a freelance writer and editor, and owner of Taylor Hugo Creative, a content marketing agency based in Denver, Colorado.

Curiosity and creative problem-solving.

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