AI and Analytic Success Requires a Culture Change

AI and Analytic Success Requires a Culture Change
AI and Analytic Success Requires a Culture Change
Written by Heather L. Cole, February 23rd, 2023

Analytics and Artificial intelligence (AI) adoption has been on the rise in recent years as companies have recognized the potential benefits they can offer.  From automating tasks to analyzing data and improving decision-making, AI & Analytics has the power to transform businesses and maybe even the world. However, despite the promise of AI, many corporations struggle to adopt it.  Today, we'll explore some stories of AI adoption in corporations, how AI and Analytic Success Requires a Culture Change, and how to change the culture to foster a more Analytic and AI-friendly environment.

Story 1: The Unsuccessful Implementation

Let’s look at Company A that decided to implement AI to improve its customer service.  The goal was to use AI to respond to customer inquiries and reduce the workload on customer service representatives.  However, the implementation was unsuccessful.  The AI was unable to understand the context of customer inquiries, leading to inaccurate responses that frustrated customers.  Not exactly the outcome they were looking to achieve.

Why it Failed.

The company had a culture that valued efficiency over quality.  This led the organization and its people to focus on implementing AI quickly rather than ensuring it was effective.  AI requires some trial and error.  AI needs to be fed with information so it can learn.  But most importantly, the failure was attributed to the company's culture.  Because the culture valued speed over quality, they did not assign the right resources and lacked the necessary expertise to implement AI properly.  They didn't have data scientists or machine learning engineers on staff, so the implementation was left to non-experts who lacked the necessary knowledge and experience.

Story 2: The Successful Implementation

Company B decided that they needed to improve their marketing efforts by leveraging AI.  The goal was to use AI to analyze customer data and identify patterns that would allow them to tailor marketing campaigns to specific customer segments.  After proper scoping the AI was able to predict customer behavior and preferences with high accuracy, leading to more effective marketing campaigns, which resulted in more revenue.

Why they Succeeded.

The culture in Company B was very different than A.  The culture valued innovation and experimentation, leading to a willingness to try new things, including AI.  The leadership had already created a strong foundation building a data culture, with data-driven decision-making ingrained in its processes.  So, when they decided to leverage AI, the company had the necessary data and expertise to implement AI properly. 

Changing the Culture to Foster Analytics and AI Adoption

The successful implementation of Analytics and AI requires a culture that supports it.  Here are some tips for changing the culture to foster AI adoption:

Learn the Steps for Making Change Work

Have you ever noticed that some companies create a new initiative every 2 years, only to scrap it and rebrand a new initiative?  Organizations that try to make a massive change and fail, often have leaders that don’t follow the framework for implementing Change.  Yes, there’s a framework for that.  At Lodestar Solutions we have developed a 9-step framework for Leaders who want to become Analytic Leaders to follow.  (To learn more, join our webinar on Feb 28th Noon- 1:30 PM Eastern here’s the link to register.) 

Failed Step - Urgency

As an executive coach the step I see executives and organizations miss most often and maybe one of the most important steps is to create a sense of urgency.  Status Quo is comfortable.  But changing a culture to be data-driven, to leverage analytics and AI, is not comfortable for most people.  They fear they will lose their jobs.  They fear failing and looking stupid.  So, it’s safer to drag their feet, and not take the bold actions required for success.  But when leaders create a sense of urgency and share the WHY leveraging Analytics and AI is so important, it can create a movement.

Invest in Training Your Team

When people are not trained, they will be fearful.  For many employees, especially us Gen Xers or older, technology can be scary.  By developing a training program where everyone is exposed to technology, data, and even design thinking, you can create a culture that values data and data-driven decision making.  At Lodestar Solutions we even train all team members in SCRUM methodologies to help projects succeed.

Hire the Right People

Although it’s important to make sure you have team members that have a background in data science and machine learning to implement AI properly, these resources can be hard to find and costly.  At Lodestar Solutions, we believe hiring people with an ability and desire to learn is critical.  We also believe that hiring for attitude is another key to success.  We highly recommend the book Hiring for Attitude by Mark Murphy.

If you are looking to hire, check out our earlier blog, Why You Aren’t Attracting Analytics Talent. 

Encourage Experimentation

Encourage employees to experiment with new technologies and ideas, including AI.  Creating workshops and training opportunities for your teams can help promote curiosity.  When you host workshops try to have a mix of team members from various departments to encourage cross functional ideas.  Ideally you will use an agile method so that short sprints will encourage experimentation and flexibility to change the course.  Here’s a blog we wrote about the benefits of a SCRUM method. 

In conclusion, AI and Analytic Success Requires a Culture Change.  This does not happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen because an executive said, “we are now going to be a data-driven organization”.  AI and Analytic success comes when you focus on empowering your people, hiring the right people, leading by example, and letting people learn.  Analytics and AI adoption can be challenging, but it has the potential to transform businesses.  By changing the culture to foster Analytics and AI adoption, companies can reap the benefits of this powerful technology.  But Executives or all areas need to learn to become analytic leaders.

Want to Learn More? 

 Join Us.
Creating An Analytic Culture Webinar

Feb 28th Noon- 1:30 PM Eastern

Here’s the link to register or scan the QR code above.