Artificial intelligence is a growing force in the service space, but without proper pre-project planning, problems are bound to arise. To ensure a smooth deployment, team leaders should rely on a step-by-step approach to bring the final product over the finish line.
Enter the mighty checklist, whose power to manage expectations, help stakeholders remain consistent, and guide a project to completion knows no bounds. In our recent Service Leaders Spring Break sessions, we identified four essential steps that all service leaders should consider when implementing AI tools within their organizations.
Let’s put together the plan.
- Define the problem. Hone in on the larger business problem, then tie your service challenges to those broader business initiatives. Begin by diagnosing what the problem actually is — that means trying to solve for the root cause instead of putting bandaids on symptoms. Next, show the C-suite that your proposed service deployment will address those big issues. For example, if increasing customer satisfaction is a top initiative, be clear how technology that increases first time fix, or helps spread technician knowledge will result in boosting those customer service goals. Lastly, break those big goals down into tangible wins that will resonate across departments. For example, IT wins with cleaner data, and managers can rejoice at trackable KPIs.
- Create a stakeholder map: Stakeholders, assemble! From executives to end users, it’s important to determine who has an interest in the outcome, as well as influence over the overall project. A successful team contains a healthy mix of partners with the power to set and modify requirements, as well as others who will be directly impacted by the project's outcome. Once you assemble your dream team, you can determine what they need to succeed and start guiding the project to be as successful as possible. Throughout the duration of the implementation, your stakeholders will give you quick feedback and deeper insights — both necessary for a successful end result. Don’t forget to get back to basics by assigning tasks, due dates, and keeping everyone (equally) informed with regular check-ins. In short, don’t let any one group feel left out.
- Perform a data reality check: There’s no such thing as good or bad data — only existing data and what you make of it. In most companies, IT and business departments will need to work in tandem: the first gathers the data, and the latter interprets it. For a successful implementation, both parties need to have an understanding of what data exists, and how they’d like to use it to achieve results. The AI vendor can further analyze and interpret. One last note here, don’t worry that your data is too messy or that your company doesn’t have enough data. The starting point should be simply assessing what’s available.
- Agree on realistic project expectations: We’ve heard the horror stories when it comes to AI implementations — complexities, escalating timescales, and spiraling costs can run rampant. For these reasons and more, companies tend to label large-scale implementations as confusing and risky. However, keep in mind that artificial intelligence is a “living” tool — one whose capabilities expand and contract as it absorbs more data. You should not expect your AI to work at 100% efficacy right out the gate, but rather, remember that its accuracy will increase as it learns how to utilize your organization’s data. That means that project expectations should start small and grow in relation to the project. Don’t forget, implementation is the first step, then comes full user adoption, and that’s when results will really take off.
Once you hit these pre-project milestones, it will be easier to move forward gaining approvals and rolling out the projects.
Need some inspiration?
We built the checklist so you don’t have to.
To accelerate your project, Aquant created The Ultimate Guide to Tech Deployments, a comprehensive list designed to help you fully define the benefits of AI and leverage its power within your organization. We know it can be overwhelming to consider the many puzzle pieces, so you can use our checklist to take your deployment to the next level, or simply use it as a guide.