Are your organization and people ready for AI?
- Posted on July 6, 2023
- Estimated reading time 4 minutes
Generative AI is democratizing AI, helping make it as pervasive as the mobile phone and the Internet. Avanade's CTO Florin Rotar recently said about generative AI, “Every 20-30 years, a technology breakthrough so dramatic transforms the enterprise and our lives. The next pivotal moment is right now.” There is no hyperbole here, AI has the potential to transform every facet of your organization, from your workforce to your data.
In the past six months, we’ve seen hundreds of requests from organizations eager to roll out new innovations with AI. In our conversations with these organizations we’ve found that most are not prepared beyond the technical aspects of AI, which include ensuring the governance, process readiness, strategy alignment, and organizational and employee capabilities are in place for use of this new technology. According to Avanade Trendlines research, 48% of organizations do not yet have specific guidelines and/or policies for responsible AI in effect. Meanwhile, 64% of business and IT leaders are not completely confident that their organization currently has sufficient checks and balances in place to mitigate the potential risks and harms of AI. While there is excitement to see all the ways AI can improve experiences for employees and customers, it must be a top priority to understand your organization's readiness and governance for responsible AI.
Part of responsible AI will involve addressing employee concerns, requiring a balance between traditional technical interest with deep rooted human emotional behaviors. Employees will invariably have questions like: Do I have the right skills? Am I going to be replaced? Is my life about to get substantially better, substantially worse, or remain substantially similar? A recent Microsoft study found that 49% of people say they’re worried AI will replace their jobs. Having an ability to listen to and ease these fears is imperative.
Change will take more than new practices, it will take a new mindset. It’s worth considering ways AI can improve any project or function. Adopting an AI-first mentality is a more fundamental shift than web-first, mobile-first, or cloud-first. Costs, risks, immaturity, and uncertainty are still good reasons to be thoughtful and diligent.
To seize the growth opportunities of AI and mitigate risks for unintended consequences, leaders need to consider more than the technology implications of AI.
A multi-disciplinary approach to become and remain AI-first
Avanade has applied our robust Responsible AI framework and methodology internally and with clients globally for several years. Based on our experience, we recommend you focus your organizational readiness efforts on the following areas:
1. Corporate fluency and strategic alignment: ask what the keys are to your organization’s success and where AI can have the biggest impact.
2. Guiding principles: translate your corporate values into guidelines for AI, identify critical risks that are not worth taking, and a north star to drive development and adoption.
3. Risk management and mitigation: establish processes to identify and measure the risks in AI projects and controls to make sure this risk is managed on an ongoing basis.
4. Performance management: establish performance objectives and targets, allocating resources and people appropriately to have the best impact possible.
5. Technology infrastructure: document proposed and implemented use cases, create a center of excellence to manage and provision tech resources as needed.
6. Employees skills and culture: get people up to speed with new capabilities, guidelines, ethical considerations, and reinforce guiding principles.
7. Accountability: monitor for benefits and harms, risks and opportunities. Retrain models and people, be prepared to expand, contract, or halt AI projects as warranted.
How Avanade can help ready your organization and people for AI
AI readiness is not an end point, it's an ongoing journey. There’s also not a one-size-fits-all approach to responsible AI. To help your organization accelerate business value from AI and adopt an AI-first mindset, Avanade has announced two services:
- Avanade AI Organizational Readiness Framework: This service assesses multiple business and IT domains across an organization to provide leaders with a holistic analysis of the artificial intelligence (AI) readiness of their people, processes, and technologies, so they can prioritize actions that responsibly harness the benefits of AI. To accelerate adoption of an AI-mindset, this service includes executive coaching and employee training strategies for AI. An “AI control tower” comprising cloud-based tools, dashboards, and knowledge resources also helps leaders to monitor and take actions in real time, so they can maintain the AI readiness of their organization through continual change.
- Avanade AI Governance Quick Start: This service helps leaders translate corporate values into guidelines and practices to govern the responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI). Our robust framework and methodology for responsible AI enables organizations to assess risks in AI projects and to evolve existing business and IT governance processes, policies, and behaviors, to programmatically manage and mitigate AI risks across functions on an ongoing basis.
Organizations have different needs to become AI-first. We can meet you where you’re at. To get started with a 2-hour introductory workshop, contact us.