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From Point Solutions to AI Platform: Implementing an AI Strategy

Morgan Llewellyn

There’s a good chance that your current approach to AI isn’t really serving you.

Maybe your efforts feel haphazard or you suspect you’re not getting the ROI that you could be. 

And you’re probably right.

Siloed approaches that haphazardly use different tools for different use cases can be inefficient

It’s nearly impossible to share resources or implement best practices across departments when everything’s locked down within functional solutions and there’s no greater Generative AI strategy.

In this article, we’ll define what an overall AI strategy means, discuss the benefits, and show you how to get started creating one. 

Implementing an AI Strategy

The Typical Evolution of AI Strategy

Most companies begin by bringing in Gen AI tools as point solution approaches to specific problems.

And while you may see some benefit from this approach, it’s not helping you to capture the full power of Gen AI. 

As a matter of fact, if you’re only using it this way, you’re probably realizing less than half of Gen AI’s full potential. 

A point solution approach doesn’t eliminate business function silos, for example. It won’t let you share information across the organization. And it doesn’t make it easier to evaluate new tools and add them into your workflows.

Most organizations start their AI journey with 6-12 (or more!) different tools siloed throughout different work functions, all with different user experiences and different logins.

One part of the business uses one tool, another uses a different tool, and the information being produced isn’t being shared anywhere. 

This is very common, by the way. If you’re nodding along, you’re not alone. But it’s only a first step toward a true Gen AI strategy.

The Role of a Platform in a Comprehensive AI Strategy

One of the big advantages of AI is that it increases productivity and efficiency.

With greater efficiency, you can expect people to start performing more roles, produce higher quality work, or to provide more work product within their functional area. 

But greater efficiency and a fully realized ROI can be elusive if you can’t bridge the artificial barriers created by different tools, logins, and silos.

You need a platform that lets people seamlessly move across entire workflows — not the Gen AI or the LLM that’s performing the work, but a true platform that is the result of a greater AI strategy. One that gives all users a consistent experience, allowing them to interact with a variety of different best-in-class Gen AI solutions and productivity tools underneath it.

What a Complete AI Platform Strategy Looks Like

On the workflow side, a platform strategy means your users will save time with easier adoption and faster learning curves. That means:

  • The same logins and passwords for all tools
  • No need to switch between multiple apps or windows for status updates
  • A consistent and clean user experience across all your different apps
  • Similar processes between tools (think reporting or managing exceptions)
  • Data is no longer siloed but shared across work functions

But these aren’t the only advantages. 

The #1 Reason For a Greater Gen AI Strategy

One of the main benefits of having your AI strategy in place — one that you may not have considered — comes from a tool evaluation side. 

The rate of technology growth is only increasing. Imagine that a new, amazing technology comes out that you’d love to put to the test.

Do you have your user interface/user experience (UI/UX) requirements in place? What about logging, audit, and data availability requirements? Can you easily determine whether your UI/UX is able to interact with this new tool? 

For example, everything’s moving to APIs. Do you have a clear plan for integrating new tools? You don’t want to have to reinvent the wheel every time in order to figure out whether you can accept a new technology and fit it into your workflow.

With an overall AI strategy in place, you can immediately determine whether a tool meets your requirements. 

If it does, you can proceed.

If not, you can share your requirements with the vendor and let them know what changes they need to make in order for you to consider their solution.

The Risks of Not Having an AI Strategy in Place

While your organization can limp along for a while without a comprehensive AI strategy, eventually several risks will become evident. 

1. Not being able to fully leverage the benefits of AI

Gen AI is associated with higher quality and greater efficiencies — but if you’re not able to make the most of the opportunities, you may lose out with lower quality work products, higher costs, or both. You may also find that you’re unable to move beyond proof of concept or scale across multiple use cases. 

2. Falling behind in efficiency

If you can’t fully leverage Gen AI to move across work product and function, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage when compared to competitors who have that ability. An example from the legal industry would be integrating documents across the entire client lifecycle, from prospecting and discovery all the way through billing.

3. Falling behind in tech adoption

The tech space is moving very quickly. If you don’t have a framework in place, you risk not being able to adopt newer, better technologies. Running a 2022 version of an inferior LLM, for example, can potentially become a huge disadvantage. Not having a way to quickly upgrade means that at some level you’re going to fall behind.

Focusing on the UI/UX takes the focus off tools and provides a way to quickly adapt newer, better technologies under the hood while still providing a nearly seamless, standard user experience.

Getting Started with Gen AI Strategy

Organizations typically start with a short, 2- to 4-week design engagement called a HIKE2 Lab. We’d come to an understanding around the technologies that are appropriate for your organization.

Next, we’d look at how to design a consistent user experience across not just those technologies, but also your workflow. 

Using one of our frameworks as a starting point, we’d customize the design as well as the look and feel of a UI/UX, establishing the security protocols and API requirements that define how these tools will interact with the UI/UX.

The end result is a blueprint or architecture plan spelling out necessary functionality, documents that need to be included, technology options, proposed architecture, design, customization, an implementation plan and ownership cost.

Your next step would be to choose a use case from one functional area and create a plan to roll it out. You can then decide if that implementation plan is something you can manage on your own or if you want to bring in HIKE2 to help. 

Think Differently About Gen AI

With past clients, we’ve seen companies with point solutions in functional areas like HR, finance, project management, and more. Then some advancement happens and a plethora of point solutions suddenly explode onto the scene. Eventually, all these tools get gobbled up by a platform provider for that specific business function.

There’s a risk that organizations will myopically approach Gen AI the same way, from a point solutions perspective.

But Gen AI is so much more.

Stop using Gen AI as a solution for a specific problem. Instead, think of Gen AI as a new business operating system, a layer of intelligence that sits above multiple point solutions, looking across all your tools and data to deliver insight in new ways.

Think bigger. 

Your solution won’t be any of the existing one-size-fits all platforms. Instead, it will be bespoke for your organization. And it will differentiate you from every other organization that’s using a vanilla, off-the-shelf technology.

Ready to learn more? Talk to one of our experts.