8 Affordable Ways to Implement an AI Strategy

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Krystian Bergmann

Updated Apr 30, 2024 • 9 min read
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A survey from the World Economic Forum has shown that 34% of all business-related tasks can be performed by AI. Implementing AI can be affordable, so why are plenty of businesses still lagging behind?

The way I see it, statistics speak volumes: on average, companies adopting AI can anticipate a revenue increase of 6% to 10%. By August 2023, over 80% of Fortune 500 companies had embraced ChatGPT within their operations, reaping substantial benefits. American companies alone have saved between $25,000 and $70,00 through ChatGPT integration.

Yet, despite these compelling figures, the potential of AI remains largely untapped—currently, only 15% of strategic planning and execution activities are automated, though strategists believe that 50% could be.

In my opinion, this gap between current AI utilization and its potential presents both a challenge and an opportunity for businesses. Failing to keep pace with AI implementation could render your business inefficient and uncompetitive.

Those not leveraging AI might find themselves spending excessive time and resources on tasks which could easily be automated, putting them at a distinct disadvantage compared to their AI-driven competitors.

The question is not if AI should be adopted, but rather how efficiently and affordably it can be integrated into your business strategy.

If you are still not convinced, here are some advantages of implementing AI in your business.

The benefits of AI

  • Enhanced decision making: Harnessing AI enables organizations to make informed decisions based on data-driven insights rather than relying solely on human intuition, while also facilitating more effective decision-making processes.
  • Efficiency and productivity gains: AI empowers organizations to handle tasks with unparalleled speed and efficiency, surpassing human capabilities. Whether it's automating repetitive tasks or analyzing vast datasets for actionable insights, AI streamlines operations, allowing human employees to focus on higher-value tasks.
  • Improved speed of business: When it comes to digital acceleration, agility is paramount. AI facilitates swift decision-making and execution by expediting various business processes. By compressing timelines, from design to commercialization, AI accelerates the pace of innovation, leading to quicker time-to-market and ultimately, enhanced return on investment (ROI).
  • Personalized customer service and experience: AI-powered systems excel in delivering personalized experiences tailored to individual preferences. Whether it's recommending personalized content on streaming platforms (such as Netflix) or suggesting products based on past purchases in e-commerce (such as Amazon), AI leverages data analytics to anticipate and fulfill customer needs. This level of customization extends beyond consumer domains, it can also be seen in industries like healthcare, where AI adapts treatments and support services to individual requirements.
  • Increased profitability: Ultimately, by integrating AI across various facets of operations, organizations can drive profitability through improved efficiency, reduced costs, and enhanced innovation. Whether it's optimizing service personalization, mitigating risks, or identifying growth opportunities, AI can provide exponential revenue potential.

Although all these advantages are great, plenty of our clients have had the uncertainty of where to begin or how much of their budget to allocate for AI implementation.

This is extremely common when it comes to any new technology.

So here are a few tips on how to efficiently integrate AI into your business operations while optimizing costs.

8 ways to implement AI efficiently and affordably

1. Define your objectives and needs

Before diving into AI implementation, it's crucial to have a clear understanding of your business objectives and where AI can make the most significant impact. Take the time to assess your current processes and identify areas that could benefit from automation, optimization, or enhanced decision-making capabilities.

By aligning AI initiatives with your strategic goals and focusing on areas with the highest potential for improvement, you can ensure that your investment delivers measurable results that directly contribute to your business's success.

2. Explore ready-to-use solutions

Building AI systems from scratch can be time-consuming and costly, especially for small and medium-sized businesses with limited resources. Fortunately, there are many ready-to-use AI solutions available that offer cost-effective options for integration.

You can explore a range of low-cost or free AI tools tailored to your needs, such as chatbots for customer service, predictive analytics for marketing, and workflow automation for operational efficiency.

3. Begin with a pilot project

One of the most effective ways for you to minimize risks and validate the feasibility of AI integration is to start with a pilot project. Choose a specific use case or workflow that aligns with your business objectives and implement AI solutions on a smaller scale to test their effectiveness and impact.

Use the findings from your pilot project to refine your AI strategy, iterate on your implementation approach, and build momentum for broader adoption across your organization. By taking a phased approach to AI integration, you can minimize upfront costs, mitigate risks, and ensure a smoother transition to AI-powered workflows and processes.

4. Seek expert guidance

When navigating the complexities of AI implementation, partnering with seasoned professionals can significantly streamline the process and maximize the value of your investment.

AI consulting experts can provide valuable insights, best practices, and hands-on support throughout the process. They can help you assess your needs, develop a tailored AI strategy, select the right tools and technologies, and implement solutions that deliver measurable results within your budget constraints.

At Netguru, we have a proven track record of assisting clients with AI solutions. We also host AI Primer Workshops specifically designed for decision-makers looking to understand the potential of AI implementation in their companies.

5. Invest in internal or external talent

Building AI expertise is essential for your long-term success and sustainability. While hiring and training AI talent may require an initial investment, it can yield significant returns in terms of innovation, efficiency, and competitive advantage.

A viable option is to invest in AI talent through team extension services which can be more affordable, as well as less time-consuming, while still providing top-tier talent. Many companies opt for this approach to bolster their internal capabilities in AI development and implementation.

In addition to hiring talent, consider investing in training and upskilling programs for your existing workforce. Provide opportunities for employees to learn AI skills and adapt to evolving roles and responsibilities in your AI-driven workplace.

6. Focus on incremental improvements

Rather than pursuing large-scale transformations, you should focus on making incremental improvements to your existing workflows and processes.

Start by automating routine or repetitive tasks that consume valuable time and resources, such as data entry, document processing, or customer support inquiries. As you gain confidence and experience with AI technologies, gradually expand your scope to tackle more complex challenges and opportunities.

By focusing on incremental improvements, you can minimize risks, manage costs, and demonstrate tangible value to stakeholders along the way.

Celebrate small wins and use them as motivation to drive further innovation and investment in AI-driven initiatives.

7. Monitor and optimize performance

Continuous monitoring and optimization are essential for ensuring your long-term success in AI initiatives.

Gather feedback from end-users, stakeholders, and other relevant parties to understand their experiences, pain points, and suggestions for improvement. Use data analytics and performance metrics to track key indicators such as accuracy, efficiency, and user satisfaction.

Stay informed about emerging trends, technologies, and best practices in AI to ensure that your implementation remains current, competitive, and aligned with industry standards and benchmarks.

With a proactive approach with monitoring and optimization, you can ensure that your AI investments will continue to deliver maximum value and impact over time.

8. Explore funding opportunities

Finally, explore available grants, funding programs, and incentives aimed at supporting AI adoption and innovation within your industry or region. Many governments, organizations, and industry associations offer financial assistance, tax incentives, or other forms of support to help businesses integrate AI technologies.

Consider partnering with academic institutions, research organizations, or technology providers to access additional resources, expertise, and funding opportunities. Collaborative projects can leverage complementary strengths and capabilities to tackle larger, more ambitious AI initiatives that benefit multiple stakeholders.

No better time to start

To capitalize on the benefits of AI, your business should understand its advantages and adopt strategies for cost-effective integration. By embracing AI and leveraging the available resources wisely, your business can position itself for success.

Using the tips I have outlined in this article is a good start for your business to begin exploring the opportunities that AI can bring.

However, if you are truly ready to implement AI into your operations, you can reach out to us for further guidance.

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Krystian Bergmann

AI Consulting Lead at Netguru
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