As the popularity of artificial intelligence (AI) surges, many organizations are eager to embrace the opportunity to infuse AI into their business to optimize processes, improve customer experiences and drive innovation. Others remain hesitant, having yet to identify areas of opportunity, fearing the challenges of navigating a largely unregulated environment and lack of transparency in data sources and outputs. 

Whether you're moving full steam ahead or moving more slowly towards adoption, both approaches carry risks. Organizations that move forward must have a clear strategy that is aligned with business priorities and takes into account security risks, reputational and financial considerations, and regulatory requirements. Sitting on the sidelines is not an option; that only gives competitors a leg up. There is a clear path forward.

Our viewpoint paper, “AI without fear or favor,” advocates a practical, human-centered approach that tempers the hype and enables organizations to confidently embrace AI and deliver expected value. We believe the organizations best positioned for success adopt four imperatives for action: envision, experiment, engineer and expand. This series delves further into each imperative. First up: How to envision an AI-enabled future.

Defining (or refining) your AI strategy

When you’re traveling into new territory, a detailed roadmap is essential. Having partnered with organizations across industries to articulate a vision of their future state, our ultimate goal is to create a comprehensive, scalable AI strategy that’s both bold and achievable. It should remain grounded in delivering ROI and be supported by responsible practices.

Envision starts with discovery. Via a structured process and proven tools, templates, and methodologies, we encourage you to think creatively and imagine your AI strategy by thinking big, surveying the landscape, and identifying potential use cases for experimentation. 

By taking a methodical approach to discovery, we work with you to ensure your resulting AI strategies:

  • Align to your strategic objectives. By mapping potential AI initiatives to your organization’s growth agenda, you gain buy-in and help stakeholders make meaningful connections between AI and their own work. Through the discovery process, we’ve found most are keen to utilize AI to generate innovative business models that identify new revenue streams, increase creativity, uncover opportunities to develop new products and deliver faster, more personalized services. 
     
    Involving all stakeholders—from the C-suite and department heads—is imperative to developing a holistic strategy that considers your organization’s key goals and challenges and lays a foundation for what is possible through AI.
     
  • Cover all corners of your organization. Potential for AI is everywhere—but what will truly move the needle? During discovery, we help you scout out across your business for projects that could deliver significant benefits at scale. Investing in an AI initiative should create opportunities for innovation, deliver improved customer service and workforce satisfaction, and drive business value.
     
    We help you evaluate potential roadblocks and uncover areas within the business that could either help or hinder your path forward. A comprehensive evaluation our organization’s data readiness, potential security risks, and organizational culture are essential variables to consider. 
     
  • Stay within critical guardrails. Envisioning an AI-enabled future doesn’t just mean dreaming up the next ChatGPT. It means monitoring the broader landscape, including emerging trends and changing regulations. A trusted partner can provide much-needed domain expertise and cross-industry perspective, helping ensure every AI strategy is flexible enough to evolve over time. 
     
    During our exploration and discovery phase, we often identify issues that can be better solved with more conventional technologies, such as Intelligent Process Automation, system integrations or application feature enhancements. We ingrain processes and utilize methodologies as part of your overall AI strategy to ensure we identify and focus on challenges that are best solved with AI solutions. A successful AI strategy stays within the guardrails and focuses only on the initiatives that will add meaningful value and advance your digital transformation journey.
     
  • Keep humans in the loop. While the implementation of AI can and does drive operational efficiencies, the threat of technology replacing humans on the job is less likely than some headlines may lead you to believe. Your organization should take a human-centric approach to ensure AI strategies and solutions keep humans front and center. Your AI applications should be business-focused, drive value and anticipate risks and uncertainties. 
     

A launch pad for AI success

With these key elements in mind, we work with you in the envision phase of your AI journey to deliver an AI maturity assessment, strategy and roadmap, responsible AI principles and framework, and risk and compliance management. CGI’s AI LaunchPad service offering is designed to guide you through a comprehensive assessment and feasibility process that takes identified use cases, savings, efficiency, and quality improvement opportunities through the discovery life cycle to develop a comprehensive AI strategy. 

This upfront work is imperative to developing an AI strategy that is innovative, attainable and delivers business value. During the envision phase of the journey, we utilize AI LaunchPad to help you: 

  • Identify efficiency and quality opportunities
  • Assess security and privacy risks
  • Define quantifiable success metrics
  • Engage stakeholders

Seeing the full picture

As we work to envision your AI future, we often uncover related issues and potential cascading effects on people, processes, systems and technology. This helps address potential pitfalls early and ensures a comprehensive view of the current state is brought into focus right from the start. These “ah-ha” moments can provide insights for better decision-making downstream, such as:

•    Change management resources to address cultural resistance 
•    HR and talent strategies to enable AI implementation 
•    Increased investment in data readiness initiatives 
•    Options for the implementation of more traditional solutions 

Case in point: Envisioning an AI future for fleet management

A leading fleet management organization partnered with CGI to retire legacy systems in a move to the cloud. A main driver for moving to the cloud was to enable the art of the possible with AI and machine learning. As part of this migration, we delivered an AI current state assessment and future state recommendation to inform the prioritization of the data migration and ensure they had use cases ready to implement to showcase value early. 

Our team interviewed stakeholders across their main business areas to understand areas of inefficiencies ripe for AI and the business value drivers that were top priorities. Our experts had a deep understanding of their current and future state architecture, so combining the information from stakeholders coupled with our knowledge of their environment, we were able to make recommendations on the skillsets, tools, and technologies that would need to be invested in to implement AI successfully. 

We also took two of their data domains, which were mentioned by stakeholders as potential use case areas. We applied our AI LaunchPad methodology to assess the feasibility of the use cases and highlight any potential data quality, security, and privacy risks. We performed an exploratory data analysis and built a lightweight proof of concept to predict vehicle maintenance costs to showcase potential cost-saving solutions for the organization.  

Ready to envision your AI-enabled future?

When exploring opportunities for AI, we practice what we preach: CGI is also building a vision for our internal AI strategy by assembling cross-functional experts across the globe to identify and prioritize potential use cases. The opportunities await, and we have the tools to create a roadmap to find them. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and find the future together. Connect with our AI experts today or download our AI without fear or favor viewpoint to explore more.  

Our series on the four imperatives for action continues in the coming weeks. Next up: Experiment. Stay tuned. In the meantime, you can download our viewpoint, “AI without fear or favor.”