Pilot Project

Consider a pilot project to mitigate risks.

The domain of artificial intelligence encompasses a wide set of diverse technologies. Assessing the potential value of these technologies to business applications can be difficult. Even with our own personal experiences with common examples such as personal assistances like Alexa, Cortana, or Siri.

In many cases, a pilot project can help by providing due diligence including building first hand familiarity, verifying products and tools, and validating the business case for an implementation.

What is AI

A pilot project can help users become conversant with the current AI capabilities. Additionally, it can help build stakeholder confidence in AI technology and products. This familiarity and confidence will provide the foundation for the understanding that will be necessary to answer the decision process questions.

Involve Internal Resources

In organizing a pilot project, it is important to involve invested internal resources including affected business operations, IT, and HR groups. These participants will provide the information needed to answer the decision questions.

Identify the Problem

A pilot project can be helpful in creating a detailed description of the perceived problem that AI might address or capability that AI might add to existing products and services. Part of the process of defining the problem should be an exhaustive identification of the expected outcome, i.e. what is the goal and will the identified goal solve the problem.

Expert Consulting

Depending on the depth of in-house assets, including an expert consultant in the pilot project might be helpful. The AI landscape is so broad that only current, engaged specialists such as product vendor sales representatives may have the knowledge necessary to successfully implement a pilot project. Many vendors will provide temporary evaluation licenses. Sales representatives can also provide examples of successful implementations for comparison.

Choosing the right AI Tool

The breath of AI products previously highlighted span many sectors. The choice of a product relies more on the identified problem or product enhancement desired, the available data, the cost and return on investment (ROI), and AI product knowledge. Additionally, several AI products might be combined to provide a solution. The Definitions section of this Topic can be used to choose among the many AI systems available. Vendors offer platforms tailored for different business sectors e.g. retail, health care, HR, or recruiting. These vendors may already have a solution and, for a price, can provide it as a service (AIaaS).

Execute a Small Pilot Project

Purpose. The intended outcome of a small pilot is to evaluate the capabilities and ROI of the AI tool in a business environment and support a decision on whether or not to implement an AI solution.

Team members. The pilot project should be conducted by a small team consisting of internal personnel and consultants if desired with technical IT and AI awareness, business knowledge, cultural cognizance.

Duration. The pilot project should be bounded in time and should be structured around specific questions or issues to be answered.

Location. The selection of the location for the small Pilot is important. There is a case to be made for locating this Small Pilot at a distance from the core business to avoid conflict and minimize the consequences of failure. An opposite case can be made to locate it within the core business because that is where success would allow you to quickly evaluate any advantage AI might provide and sends an indisputable message that AI is a top priority.

Continue to Implementation.