AI for the Enterprise

Getting started with conversational AI

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In today’s fast-paced digital world, an increasing number of business leaders are looking to new technologies, like Conversational AI, to solve their common business challenges. Taking the first step into the world of AI, though, can be daunting but it doesn’t have to be! There are fundamental measures all businesses should take when setting out on their journey with conversational AI, to ensure they optimize the value at their fingertips with this technology.

Creating the AI strategy

Ensure the strategy meets the needs and environment of the company by:

  • Identifying gaps in the current business model. Use these gaps to define the objectives of your AI implementations.
  • Thinking about the customers’ needs and prioritizing the areas where AI could make the most significant differences. Start with small wins and iterate. Don’t boil the ocean.
  • Considering integration challenges of AI into the business and having a plan for retraining and organizational change management.
  • Pinpointing realistic goals and clearly defining what success looks like. Monitor progress against these goals throughout the project and make adjustments.

Building the team

When building the team, the business leader should take a multi-faceted approach to gathering its members. Your technical architects and developers that are building your solution are fundamental to the project’s success, but Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) will be key players in the design as well. It is important that SMEs are brought onboard early, and understand the shared vision that the business is working towards. Other stakeholders, for example the end users themselves, are equally as important in highlighting specific areas that the project should focus on based on their real experiences.

Preparing the data

One of the most important factors in any successful conversational AI journey is collecting information. Knowing where to harvest the data which informs a new project can be difficult, but organizations often have more tools in their arsenal than they realize:

  • Chat transcripts from existing, human, customer service personnel can be extremely useful for forming the building blocks of a virtual assistant’s answer bank.
  • Question Input Tools can be employed to gather information on the wide range of queries that customers will have.
  • Depending on a business’s relationship with its end users, direct interviews with customers or crowd sourcing can be a useful way to glean their expectations of customer service and interaction with the company.

It is important to remember that while many of the concepts behind conversational AI are universal, ensuring that you have right strategy, engagement and champions in your business to adopt and scale your AI journey is critical.

In episode 2 of the Watson Masterclass, Getting Started, I will discuss the foundations of any conversational AI journey and dive deeper into how to create your strategy, build your team and prepare your data. If you are looking to truly make conversational technology work for your business, your AI journey starts here.

Register to watch Episode 2 of the Masterclass.

Director, Watson Expert & Delivery Services, IBM

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