In the ever-evolving landscape of artificial intelligence (AI), the process of solutioning has become a cornerstone for businesses seeking to harness the power of AI to drive success and enhance their bottom-line performance. In this episode of the AI Chronicles, we delve deeper into Blackstraw’s AI solutioning processes and approach, guided by Denesh Kumar Mani, the leader of the AI Solutioning practice at Blackstraw. Topics covered are:
- Understanding the Problem: The Foundation of AI Solutioning
- The Five-Step Process for Building a Comprehensive Solution Framework
- Balancing Technological Feasibility and Business Goals
- Measuring Impact and ROI: Future-Oriented KPIs
Understanding the Problem: The Foundation of AI SolutioningAt the core of an AI solutioning approach lies a fundamental principle – The importance of a comprehensive understanding of an organization’s business challenges. It’s evident that these challenges are often complex and multi-faceted, requiring a thorough exploration before crafting an impactful AI solution. This commitment entails peeling back the layers of intricacy and closely collaborating with clients to gain insights that transcend conventional-issue descriptions. In each engagement, the primary objective is to delve deeper into the unique intricacies of the business issue at hand. It’s vital to acknowledge that reducing a challenge to a mere one-sentence statement rarely encapsulates the full scope of a challenge. Instead, embracing a multifaceted approach with a diverse set of stakeholders, spanning both the business and technological dimensions will uncover a wealth of perspectives, ensuring that we capture the nuances that drive the problem.
The Five-Step Process for Building a Comprehensive Solution FrameworkCreating an effective AI solution requires a structured and methodical approach that accommodates the complexity of modern business challenges. At its core, Blackstraw employs a five-step process that serves as the backbone of building a comprehensive solution framework. This process is designed to not only address immediate issues but also to anticipate future needs and align solutions with broader business objectives. Blackstraw’s five-step solution framework begins with:
- Defining the Problem Statement: The initial phase involves going beyond surface-level problem definitions. Blackstraw recognizes that business challenges are rarely singular and it’s crucial to engage extensively with clients and stakeholders to gain a deep understanding of the multifaceted issues at hand. This exploration lays the foundation for a more accurate problem statement that captures the true essence of the challenge.
- Setting Clear Objectives: Once the challenge is comprehensively defined, the next step is to establish clear objectives. What outcomes are expected from the solution? Is it about improving efficiency, reducing operational costs, enhancing customer engagement, or all of the above? These objectives serve as guiding lights throughout the solutioning process, ensuring that every effort is aligned with delivering tangible value.
- Creating Measurable KPIs: Quantifying the impact of the solution is essential. Blackstraw focuses on creating measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that allow for a quantitative assessment of the solution’s effectiveness. Whether it’s reduced turnaround time, increased revenue, or enhanced customer satisfaction, these KPIs provide a clear yardstick for success.
- Risk Assessment and Impact Analysis: Implementing AI solutions inherently involves change. It’s imperative to evaluate the potential risks and assess the impact of the proposed solutions. Blackstraw’s approach involves a thorough analysis of the potential disruptions or setbacks that might arise during implementation. This step ensures that the chosen solution not only delivers benefits but also minimizes adverse effects.
- Solution Framing: Armed with an understanding of the problems, objectives, KPIs, and potential risks, the final step is to frame the solution. This involves formulating a well-defined approach that leverages AI technologies to address the challenge. It’s about engineering a solution that aligns with the business’s existing ecosystem, integrates seamlessly, and creates a pathway for achieving the desired outcomes.
Balancing Technological Feasibility and Business GoalsThe process of validating AI solutions encompasses a dual perspective: the technical and the business dimensions. On the technical front, the accuracy and performance of AI models are paramount. This involves an intricate evaluation of data sources, algorithm selection, and assessment metrics. By benchmarking against industry standards, the effectiveness of the model can be gauged. However, the business validation process introduces a crucial challenge: the trade-off between Return on Investment (ROI) and Time to Market. This decision hinges on choosing between deploying a high-accuracy model after an extended training period or opting for a slightly less accurate model with a faster go-to-market strategy. In making this choice, a holistic view of ROI becomes vital. While quick deployment might yield immediate gains, a longer fine-tuning period could pave the way for sustained benefits based on the model’s predictions and decision-making capabilities. By considering both sides of the equation, organizations should ensure that AI solutions not only align with technical benchmarks but also resonate with overarching business goals.
Measuring Impact and ROI: Future-Oriented KPIsWith an ever-growing landscape of AI-driven transformation, evaluating the effectiveness of solutions becomes paramount. The conversation begins by emphasizing the importance of moving beyond technical validation. While model accuracy on test data is a crucial aspect, it doesn’t inherently translate to business value. Instead, the focus shifts towards mapping model performance to tangible outcomes. This entails defining and measuring the outcomes, which could encompass various improvements in operations, cost reduction, revenue gain, and customer engagement. Future-oriented Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) emerge as pivotal tools in this evaluation. These KPIs are designed to capture the impact that AI solutions bring to the table. For instance, one KPI might center around capturing revenue from missed opportunities, such as virtual agents identifying and fulfilling demands that might have been overlooked. Another dimension of measuring impact lies in elevating customer engagement. Enhanced recommendations could lead to a higher number of returning customers, reflecting the value AI solutions bring to enhancing user experience. The crux of the discussion underscores that these business-centric KPIs can serve a dual purpose. They make solution validation more meaningful and comprehensible, while also enabling the direct mapping of ROI. By collaborating with business partners to associate these KPIs with actual dollar values, organizations ensure that AI’s value proposition is not just theoretical but quantifiable.
ConclusionIn this episode of the AI Chronicles, we shed light on the intricacies of AI solutioning at Blackstraw. The conversation emphasizes the iterative nature of solutioning, the need for agility in the face of technological advancements, and the importance of defining future-oriented KPIs to measure the true effectiveness of AI solutions. As AI continues to reshape industries, Blackstraw’s approach highlights the significance of understanding, adaptation, and measurement in creating meaningful, impactful, and successful AI solutions. For an immersive experience and a deeper dive into Denesh’s insights, we invite you to listen to this enlightening conversation. Listen to the podcast episode here.
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