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PHOTO: Jakob Boman

Artificial intelligence is constantly applauded for the benefits and efficiencies it can bring to the enterprise, but there’s still one thing AI can’t do yet: deploy itself.

AI-enabled applications like chatbots that troubleshoot IT problems or virtual assistants that can make last-minute hotel reservations using details from a calendar invitation are revolutionizing the day-to-day lives of modern businesspeople. AI applications can free up teams to focus on new initiatives that can unlock business value — but they can only do that if they have been deployed correctly.

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Roll Out AI With Care

Because of their complexity, and the undeserved stigma they have for being job killers, AI applications must be rolled out with care in the enterprise. Integrating artificial intelligence into enterprise operations — and ensuring that it integrates into the company culture — is a very human task. While such initiatives need not be daunting undertakings, business leaders must invest time and resources toward careful deployment plans for AI applications across the entire organization, not just in silos. Doing that will lead to higher adoption rates and, ultimately, will save teams time and allow them to work smarter.

And it isn’t just about the benefits AI can bring today, or this quarter. According to Forbes columnist Louis Columbus, 63 percent of enterprise leaders say they have adopted AI technology in order to catch up with rivals. Having a plan to adopt AI isn’t just about working better internally; it’s about making sure you don’t get left behind.

A little planning and research can go a long way toward making sure you’re maximizing the investment into AI technology, and that your employees are actually using it.

Here are three tips for leaders looking to ensure success with a future AI deployments:

Remember: Expectations Are Everything

From the outset of an AI deployment, teams responsible for the rollout need to be crystal clear about the capabilities of the new technology. 

If an AI assistant is being introduced, for example, employees should receive introductory training that shows them exactly how the system will function within their day-to-day workflows. Can the AI assistant schedule external meetings? Whether the answer is yes or no, basic details like that should be communicated from the get-go. 

When employees have a solid understanding of exactly how the technology will benefit them, they will be more likely to adopt AI-powered solutions. The expectations should specifically be defined through the lens “me, we, us” — so that everyone will thoroughly understand the benefits of AI to the individual employee, the greater team and the organization as a whole.

Related Article: Why AI Isn't Mainstream in the Workplace, Yet

Don’t Forget to Measure

The goal of implementing digital assistants or AI-enabled chatbots is to make things more efficient. But as smart as they might be, AI applications can’t exactly measure their own success.

Ahead of a deployment, you should define clear key performance indicators (KPI) and put in place a reporting mechanism that will help you determine whether the platform is doing what it promised to do. Is the AI chatbot supposed to reduce queue sizes and speed up resolution times? You should have a process for retrieving and analyzing the data that will answer that question from day one.

However, performance is not the only important metric. Take time to develop a feedback system that measures satisfaction and how users are interacting with the technology. Also, plan to analyze IT requests related to the system — this can give you a better idea of the system’s limitations and how to better address issues in the future.

Focus on Continuous Improvement

Let’s say your AI deployment is complete, there is a 99 percent adoption rate and you’re already seeing a measurable impact on employee efficiency. The hard part is over, right? Not quite. While a successful deployment is something to celebrate, AI by its very nature is ever-changing. It’s important to make sure the team responsible for AI implementation also develops a plan for regular re-examination of the application. This can include adding more data sets or exploring new features or add-ons based on user feedback.

Additionally, you have to be patient. Because AI systems are designed to learn and improve, it will take time and a significant amount of data processing to anticipate future requests or handle more complex tasks.

Related Article: Separating the Enterprise Digital Assistant Hype From Reality

No Out-of-the-Box Solutions

At least for now, AI applications that promise revolutionary change to the workplace don’t come in a box with simple installation instructions. While artificial intelligence can significantly improve efficiency and productivity, making sure these applications run as they should is a very human task that must be done with care.

AI is poised to shape the future of work and become an integral component of the digital workplace. Leaders who invest in the technology early and get their employees’ buy-in on practical applications will be far ahead of the curve. When more advanced and complex AI-driven tools hit the market, the early adopters will be the first ones ready to take advantage of the new capabilities.