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3 Ways to Prepare Your Business For an AI Future Before businesses can fully dive into everything AI has to offer, they have to make sure their organization and employees are ready for it.

By Dean Guida Edited by Micah Zimmerman

Key Takeaways

  • We've entered the age of AI and will only see it evolve and grow in use from here.
  • But before businesses can truly put AI to work, they have to ensure every aspect of the business is ready for it.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It's official. AI has gone mainstream.

Once reserved for researchers and enterprise companies alone, AI is now accessible to all kinds of organizations and everyday consumers. It's powering content and image generation, customer service, marketing personalization and, yes, even mechanical bees that are pollinating plants. And this is just the start of it.

The growing capabilities of AI have quickly moved it from a buzzword to the top of businesses' to-do lists.

But there's no shortcut to implementing AI into your business. AI is more than just another platform in your tech stack – it's technology that can completely redefine how your company works and does business. This requires a complete organizational shift.

AI is here to stay, but before businesses can fully dive into everything it has to offer, they have to make sure their organization and employees are ready for it. This includes the reskilling of employees, centralizing company data and making teams comfortable with AI, among other things.

Here are three ways to prepare your business for a future with AI.

1. Make sure your data is AI-ready

Organizations today have hundreds of thousands of data points. Think, sales numbers, engagement with prospects, marketing stats, and so many others. The problem, however, lies in who has access to this data.

Majority of the data within organizations is siloed between teams and executives – the sales team only has access to the sales data, the marketing team to marketing data, and so on. And for teams with access to data – it's spread across different channels and tools. For example, the marketing team has to check every individual platform they use (i.e., HubSpot, Google Ads, social media channels) for data and manually put it together to understand the big picture.

All of this is to say that if employees can't even access their data easily, how is AI supposed to? Without data, AI cannot run.

Before companies can start their journey with AI, they need to centralize their data. One place where all of a company's data–or the metrics that performance, profitability, people and process–live and can be accessed by every employee.

Companies that centralize their data will see benefits beyond AI as well. With data now at the hands of every employee, they'll increasingly look at it to make business decisions–rather than relying on their gut or guessing what's right.

Related: AI May Not Take Your Job, But Someone Using AI Likely Will — Here's Why.

2. Be transparent about AI's role in the workplace

While AI may have gone mainstream, there is much we still don't know about it. This can, understandably, cause some uneasiness among employees.

Because it's still a new, developing technology, educating employees about AI and being transparent about how it will be used in the organization is important.

There will inevitably be employees who think that implementing AI means that they're out of their jobs–but that's not the case.

AI can help to complete the manual, time-consuming tasks that employees are responsible for daily, so employees can instead focus on more strategic and creative tasks. AI isn't taking their job – it's quite the opposite: AI is upleveling their role.

An ongoing conversation with employees about AI and how the technology will evolve is crucial to AI's success in the workplace. It will help employees understand the why behind the technology and excite them about its opportunity.

3. Take it step by step with AI

It's easy to get excited by AI and its capabilities. There's so much potential in AI and its impact on your business–it's tempting to want to implement it as much as possible in every business area. But don't get in over your head.

Start small with AI and then grow from there. There are new skills employees need to learn and tools they need to be onboarded to, not to mention getting used to AI in the workplace overall.

Introduce AI to small pieces of a project instead of having it automatically take over a task. This will not only give employees time to learn how to use the technology but also make them feel comfortable enough with it to know it's there to help–not take over their job.

Beyond onboarding employees to the technology and getting them to feel comfortable with it, it's critical to ensure that AI drives the success you want within the organization. There might be technology that doesn't work well for specific organizations, and that's ok, but it's better to figure that out before you move every aspect of your business to include AI.

Try introducing AI to specific departments or tasks for a few months and monitoring the success. If it's working, widen your work with AI. If it's not, it might be time to return to the drawing board.

Dean Guida

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder and CEO of Infragistics, Author of 'When Grit Is Not Enough'

Dean Guida is the 35+ year entrepreneur behind enterprise software company Infragistics. Dean has led his business through a series of tumultuous moments, crystallizing insights he’s gathered at each key moment in his journey. He shares his hard-won philosophy in his book, 'When Grit Is Not Enough'.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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