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Put AI on the management team's agenda

Challenge your management team with the right questions about AI

According to McKinsey's latest major AI report, AI is becoming more prevalent in company strategies and operations. To understand where AI solutions create value is a strong success factor, as a decision maker. It is also important to know how AI is used responsibly and when AI does not have the ability to create demonstrable value. In order for you as a CEO to steer your organization in the right direction, you must be able to ask the right questions about AI to your management team. Here, we provide you with some of the most important keys to understanding, analyzing, and acting on new opportunities and challenges that arise from AI.

AI is increasingly becoming a powerful success factor in industries where technological innovation is rapidly changing the playing field. The right solution in the right place can, among other things, streamline work processes, create new business opportunities, and provide better decision-making support for future investments. For medium-sized and larger organizations, the use of AI solutions will be critical for the competitiveness and survival of their businesses.

What is AI?

The term AI refers, in simplified terms, to self-learning data systems that can perceive and interpret their surroundings, and then create decision-making support or make autonomous decisions. Essentially, it's about empowering human workers through automation, with algorithms doing more of the 'thinking' for us. When executed properly, AI investments lead to higher efficiency, reduced risk, and much faster processes. In some areas, AI can also give rise to radically new business opportunities (e.g. self-driving taxis).

Science fiction movies like "The Matrix", "Transcendence", and "Her", in which computers exhibit human-like behavior, are typically referred to as AGI or Artificial General Intelligence. However, we haven't quite reached that point in reality yet. AI can be found in everything from everyday products like Siri and Uber to global platforms such as Amazon or SAP. Currently, implementing AI involves using specific mathematics and various development tools to create algorithms and programs that are trained to learn on their own and continuously improve. An AI solution is often a combination of different data platforms, business logic, AI algorithms, and external AI tools, which are often connected to various existing processes.

The Matrix, Copyright Warner Bros.

Where can AI create value in your business?

Different organizations have different needs. Below, we list typical functions where AI can be of great help, as well as examples of some important questions that you as CEO should ask the responsible CXO.

1. Finance & Accounting

Finance processes include everything from invoice accounting and approval to reporting and fraud detection. A recent article from Computer Weekly shows that there are still many unexplored areas within finance where AI can make a difference. The finance department is one of the areas being transformed most rapidly by AI development, as AI is particularly well-suited for processes with a lot of digital information and where "right and wrong" are fairly clear.

Questions to discuss and delegate:

  • Which manual finance processes are the most resource-intensive today?
  • Are the processes standardized enough to be handled by an AI solution?
  • Which value-creating areas would we like our employees to have more time to focus on?

2. Procurement & Logistics

Procurement and logistics often go hand in hand, and much can be automated with the help of AI. Together with a Last Mile Delivery company, Violet, for example, is optimizing delivery routes using Machine Learning (one of the most common AI tools). This is an area where an existing software, along with new AI algorithms, can provide very good results.

Questions to discuss and delegate:

  • Can we improve how we currently match purchases with contracts?
  • Can we improve the optimization of our delivery routes?
  • In what areas can our forecasts be improved?

3. Human Resources

Fair and reliable recruitment processes, effective candidate sourcing, onboarding of new employees, and individualized learning are important aspects for most companies. The Swedish company Layke Analytics has developed an AI solution in collaboration with Violet that screens and matches candidates with jobs, solely based on work experience and competencies.

Questions to discuss and delegate:

  • Which HR processes are currently the most resource-intensive?
  • What information do we need more of that we struggle to obtain ourselves?
  • Do candidates and employees receive timely feedback?
  • Are our recruitment processes fair today?

Read more about how Layke is changing sourcing and recruitment here.

Copyright Layke Analytics

4. Legal & Compliance

Keeping track of contract expiration dates, who is responsible for them, and being able to match them against procurement and sales is vital for all businesses. Law firm Synch chose to solve the challenges with their contracts using AI, which has been reported on by Dagens Industri, among others. The development within the AI area called NLP, Natural Language Processing, has progressed very rapidly and it is now possible for an AI to understand complex texts, cross-references, and, for example, the meaning of similar words.

Questions to discuss and delegate:

  • Do we have easy access and searchability of our contracts?
  • What new opportunities to streamline our daily work exist in the form of new AI software?
  • Which activities related to our contracts could be automated with the help of AI? (e.g. when employees leave or when regulations are updated)

5. IT

AI can do a lot for your IT. If you manage large amounts of hardware and licenses, it is particularly important to be able to effectively prevent hacking, detect security risks, monitor user behavior, and most importantly, minimize your power consumption.

Questions to discuss and delegate:

  • What new threats does AI pose to us?
  • What new opportunities exist to streamline our daily work through new AI software?
  • Are we building IT infrastructure and storing data in a future-proof way that enables advanced analytics and AI?
  • Can the communication of our IT support team be made more efficient?

6. Product development

AI can play an extremely strategic role in this area, particularly if your products and services consist largely of software. Implementing AI into products can make them smarter and improve the user experience. For global companies such as Volvo and Scania, AI has become central to the product development of autonomous vehicles. Another example is the up-and-coming company Buddywise, which has revolutionized monitoring and accident prevention on construction sites through the use of AI.

Questions to discuss and delegate:

  • Do we currently use any AI technologies in our products/services?
  • If not, is anyone responsible for researching this potential?
  • What are our competitors doing in the field of AI?

Volvo360c, Copyright Volvo.

7. Production

Within production, AI can be used, among other things, to optimize energy consumption and utilization of both personnel and production equipment, as well as to ensure that materials and components are in the right place at the right time. Furthermore, connected sensors generate a huge data flow that is well-suited for using AI to identify patterns and anomalies. One of Violet's customers, for example, uses acoustic sensors to predict operational disruptions, called "predictive maintenance".

Read about how so-called "cobots" help reduce labor costs in manufacturing facilities.

Questions to discuss and delegate:

  • How do we measure and analyze production to identify deviations?
  • Which parts of our production chain are most dependent on better forecasting?
  • Which sensors in critical processes generate large amounts of data that are difficult to act on?

8. Marketing & Sales

The ability to predict demand and buying behavior is an invaluable advantage. With AI solutions, you can make better forecasts and perform dynamic testing of messages and campaigns, respond in real-time to social media trends, as well as automate support and customer communication. One of Violet's clients in the retail sector uses AI forecasting to predict demand and reduce waste in stores, as well as to understand how external factors such as weather affect sales.

Questions to discuss and delegate:

  • Which improved data does your CMO/CSO think would increase your sales the most?
  • Which parts of the dialogue with customers can be automated to become faster, more efficient, and better?
  • Are you getting the data and insights you need from your BI platform?
  • Can parts of the sales process be automated?

9. Customer Success & Support

The advancements in the field of AI known as NLP or Natural Language Processing have been massive in recent decades. There are now algorithms and solutions that can interpret and understand the content of everything from resumes and legal documents to social media comments and angry emails. Many of us are already engaging with automated customer support on a daily basis that are getting smarter every day. Violet has worked together with the social network GoFrendly in uncovering user patterns by categorizing data based on millions of text messages.

Read more about GoFrendlys collaboration with Violet here.

In November 2022, the research company OpenAI launched their ChatGPT - a lightning-fast chatbot that can answer questions on almost any subject, in different languages, and even in various conversational styles. ChatGPT is Open Source - free and available for everyone to use. In March 2023 OpenAI also launched an improved, premium version of the chatbot.

Questions to discuss and delegate:

  • Do you have the ability to streamline customer support through automatic classification and prioritization?
  • Can you automate the removal of inappropriate and inaccurate comments on your external forums?
  • Can automatic monitoring of external sites, such as product forums, lead to faster insights?

GoFrendly App, Copyright GoFrendly.

10. Business Intelligence

AI can dig much faster and deeper into data than humans manually can. Automating the collection, aggregation, and analysis of large data sets is one of the most important actions you can take to grow your business.

Read our article about AI and Business Intelligence here.

Questions to discuss and delegate:

  • How do you currently find patterns in your data?
  • What information do you find difficult to obtain?
  • Can AI be used to gather external information and link it to your BI?

No one knows your business and operations as well as you do. And there is no general solution to unique challenges. However, the appeal of AI algorithms is that they can be tailored to your specific needs.

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About Violet

Violet AI was founded in 2018 as one of the first pure-play AI agencies in the Nordics. Today, Violet consists of a fast-growing consulting and advisory team and four subsidiaries with a total of 50 employees. We specialize in Machine Learning, Advanced Analytics, Intelligent Automation, System Development, and AI Strategy.