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Thinking about how to use AI in business management? Start with these three actions

Many business leaders struggle with getting started using generative AI. Sofigate’s Juho Nevalainen advises three practical steps every leader can take to start their AI journey.

It is already common knowledge in all organisations that AI can radically increase work productivity. But the practical application of ChatGPT and other AI services has not always got off to a smooth start. New tools have often been acquired, but it is not yet clear precisely what to do with them.

Every company is different, so the key is to find ways to make work more efficient with AI that fit the business, work culture, and even individual working practices. The best and most efficient practices are often found through experimentation, learning, and openly sharing experiences within the company.

From a business management perspective, experimentation also pays off. AI does not automate business planning, but it can provide blueprints for many projects, helping to generate ideas and speeding up work significantly.

In Sofigate’s open AI Living Lab workshops, business managers from different companies explore the potential of AI through a range of hands-on experiments. Based on the experience gained from the workshops, three actions emerge that we can recommend as a tip for every organisation embarking on its AI journey.

1. Identify the capabilities your organisation needs

It is natural to start with the needs of your business or organisation as a starting point for harnessing generative AI. You can tell ChatGPT the main characteristics of your company’s industry and business and ask it to define all the capabilities your company needs.

Even very general guidelines can yield useful results, but the more detailed the description of your company and its business, the more specific the descriptions of capabilities will be. For example, you can instruct ChatGPT by describing your company’s products and services, the customers to whom they are sold, the geographical area in which your company operates and the activities that it outsources to its subcontractors.

You can also explain how detailed the capabilities should be: for example, whether ChatGPT should only describe the main capabilities needed for marketing or list the different sub-capabilities, including the production of marketing materials and the different tasks of social marketing. ChatGPT can also describe which key capabilities can be found in the business platforms already in use by the company, for example Salesforce and its different modules.

In Sofigate’s AI workshops, participants have used the example of a fictional retail company selling luxury products both in a bricks-and-mortar store and online. Even a very general description has produced interesting results, opening the participants’ eyes to the practical possibilities of generative AI and business platforms. They have also been surprised by how easy it is to use the services and how quickly AI can perform large-scale tasks.

2. Draw up a change management plan

Once you have identified the capabilities that your company needs for its business, the next natural step is to look to the future. By telling ChatGPT about your company’s objectives, you can ask it to define what new capabilities are needed to achieve them.

Moving from the baseline to the target state obviously requires a change in the organisation. Thus, you can ask ChatGPT to describe the necessary change management process. The result is a plan that includes the different steps of the process in a logical order of implementation, including the necessary training and change communication at each stage.

Of course, you can also further develop the generic change management plan by providing more information to the AI. If you provide ChatGPT with information about the business and role priorities, the difficulties the organisation has encountered in previous change projects, and the desired speed of change, the result is already a much more detailed and useful basis for further work.

3. Describe the work processes

In AI workshops, we have often run an exercise where ChatGPT has visualised the instructions of an imaginary summer worker. We have given the AI the written instructions of the worker, which it has broken down into work steps and used them to create a clear work schema that facilitates the learning of the tasks.

Of course, the same can be done for any task. Once a company knows all the capabilities it needs now and in the future, AI can visualise the organisation’s entire operations as a set of visual process diagrams.

It can also take as a starting point the standard processes provided by technology platforms for different activities. For example, you can ask ChatGPT to describe a standard process for Salesforce and then give it additional instructions to modify it in the direction you want.

Try, learn, share

Of course, the sample exercises are only examples. They are not intended to outsource strategic business decisions to AI, as AI is just a tool. Decisions will continue to be the responsibility of the company’s management.

However, the examples illustrate the diversity of AI’s potential. Experience has taught us that after trying AI in one task, business leaders usually quickly come up with a large number of new things to which they can apply their new tool. The key is to experiment, learn and share successful experiences.

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Juho Nevalainen is Chief Technology Officer at Sofigate’s BT Integrator business, which provides end-to-end digitalisation services, especially for growth companies. The integrated services include engineering services, management services, basic IT services, and supplier network management services.  Juho has years of experience in IT management and business development consulting, concept development and commercialisation, and the use of artificial intelligence in business planning.