I help early stage and high growth companies build new products. My tool of choice is data science and AI. For many of these companies, this is their first adventure in this area. The executive team is talking about it, the investors are asking for it, but how exactly to move forward is unclear. We are in the middle of defining this new field and what works is a work in progress.
In a recent survey of C-level executives (mostly chief data, analytics, or information officers), we can see how the industry is rapidly changing. Of the respondants 92% are increasing investment in data science and AI, while 62% have already seen measurable results in these areas.
In a less positive light,
54% of executives reported that an inability to be nimble and compete on data presented the most significant competitive threat that they faced
79% of executives feared disruption from data-driven competitors
Andrew Ng speaks of AI as the new electricity. Andrew talks about his early success adapting AI at Google almost a decade ago and credits much of the success to starting small.
In the last few years, we have helped dozens companies make this switch into AI and data-driven direction. In my experience starting small with pilot projects does greatly increase the rate of long term success. We typically look for a project with a high probability of success that will take 2 to 6 months depending of the size and goals of the company.
Data science and AI is a new language. All levels of a company needs to learn to dialog in this language. Starting with pilot projects allows everyone to learn the process and see the potential. An early win provides buy-in for the bigger steps and make that transition into a data-driven company.