Presented by Hypergiant
It’s time to break down siloes and harness AI as a transformative technology. Learn how a horizontal approach can help you squeeze out the promise of AI, how leaders can build a strategic vision around elevating every part of your enterprise, and transform your company, in this VB Live event.
“Business leaders are often exposed to a keynote, a speech, or a good article talking about how AI is going to change the world, [and so] have a very high level of awareness about AI – but it’s not deep enough to take action yet,” says Filippo Catalano, group CIO at Fortune 500 food and beverage company Nestlé. “The first thing a business leader needs to do is go one level deeper in his/her own understanding in order to be able then to evangelize on some of the benefits that AI can bring to their own organization.”
AI isn’t just a technological implementation — it’s a deeply, deeply strategic one from a cultural standpoint, and it starts with the highest-level stakeholders.
“A successful AI ploy comes from understanding your organization dynamic, the type of organization you play in,” Catalano explains. “Maybe you create a global set of expectations for AI, or maybe you create AI champions around the business units. But the approach needs to be customized for the type of company.”
That means whether your company is hierarchical, more of a matrix, or holacracy, you need to find the way you’re going to inject and create a few change agent cells around implementation, and ways to distribute the different tasks of implementation within the organization.
Next step is about looking at the value drivers, the strategic pillars of your company — expanding, contracting, gaining new customers, gaining better customers. It’s about being very pragmatic in designing a vision around how those scenarios could play out in your own company.
One of the big mistakes to avoid is getting stuck in big program management, funding exercises, and ROI exercises. It’s very much about experimentation, continuous learning, and continuous optimization versus creating something that gets too big too quickly.
“AI is really about experimentation and continuously improving what you do, versus the reality you need to master,” he explains. “I know it’s overused, but this idea of making it very “okay” to encounter failure along the way is very important in AI, not just in general innovation.”
The other barrier to implementing AI is the need to tap into people like data scientists, AI specialists, and machine learning practitioners, who are a scarce resource in the market. What smart companies are doing is finding ways to implement re-skilling and upskilling programs within the existing workforce.
“There’s nothing magic about AI,” he adds. “It’s something you can learn and teach. Even if you don’t yet know exactly what you’re going to do in terms of specific projects, spend some time and money to train your existing workforce. They’ll love you for that, and you’ll be grateful for the effort later when the pace picks up.
He points to how that can help address the old stories about “AI stealing people’s jobs and taking over the world and taking control of the Matrix.” That’s, of course, been greatly exaggerated, but it sticks in people’s minds, says Catalano. It’s important that employees have a chance to express themselves about what they understand and what it means for them.
“They might have some wrong expectations, but it’s very important to listen to them, because otherwise you will not heal the divide between more technology-savvy professionals and the people that don’t yet know what AI really means for them,” he explains. “Take the time to interview and listen to everyone who needs to be listened to.”
In Catalano’s industry, there are still a good portion of business leaders that believe AI is a kind of a fad that is going to go away if they wait long enough somehow. Don’t hide, he says. Embrace AI as a business leader.
“As a leader in an organization, you need to be able to articulate your view of AI, what kind of value AI can bring to your organization, and as well as you can, you need to be able to remove the barriers fpr people creating ways to use AI in the company,” Catalano says. “You’re a key part of the implementation of AI and your company’s transformation.”
For a deep dive into the next steps of implementing AI successfully across the organization, once you’ve built the internal support, catch up with this VB Live event!
- How to identify areas of opportunity and look at how each of these areas connect
- How to put necessary support in place to make AI meaningful
- How to ask the right questions about your data
- How to collect the required datasets to truly transform your businesses
- How to anticipate the user experience
- How to create a rally point around what it means to employ this type of technology
- What decisions are required to implement at scale
- John Fremont, Founder & Chief AI Officer, Hypergiant
- André Cunha, Digital Innovation Manager, Nestlé
- Joe Maglitta, Senior Contributor/Analyst, VentureBeat