Powering AI Adoption that Moves the Needle: Think Rebuild, Not Retrofit 

By Audra Nichols | May 21, 2024

Planning with AI

Key Points

The powerful abilities of AI have prompted a call for these models to be integrated into most areas of business operations.

While I believe AI has much to offer businesses, I disagree with the view of these new technologies as mere tools to be retrofitted into existing operations. 

Organizations have the opportunity focus on how business processes can change because of AI rather than on who or what AI can replace.

Generative AI and other AI technologies based on large language models have seen an explosion in adoption since end users first encountered them. The powerful abilities of these models have prompted a call for AI to be integrated into most areas of business operations. For some leaders and pundits, this could be the solution to the current labor supply issues faced by the U.S. and the rest of the world.  

While enthusiasm for AI integration is high, corporate adoption has been slow. An estimated 5.4% of businesses are using any type of AI to produce goods or services. Lagging capability and issues regarding accuracy, privacy, copyright infringement, and cybersecurity have been attributed to factors affecting adoption rates.  

The Proper Use of AI in a Business Setting

While I believe AI has much to offer businesses regarding efficiency gains, I disagree with media coverage and the overall market, which have positioned these new technologies as mere tools to be retrofitted into existing business operations. 

Businesses must rebuild their processes to realize AI’s true potential. The focus should be on redesign: incorporating AI properly rather than simply using AI to replace or augment existing roles. 

One area in which AI could offer high value for businesses is talent onboarding, particularly for independent professionals. Most companies expect a new employee to spend several months just getting up to speed. Not so for independent contractors, who are often hired for a specific project and are expected to get started immediately. The result is a lack of access to their client’s institutional knowledge, which can hamper their work and impact their results. 

The ability to access legacy information in an organization would enable independents to become effective as quickly as possible, shortening the learning curve around the core knowledge, tools, and processes of the organization they’re working for. In most enterprises today, gaining this understanding might take significant hours of sifting through various documentation tools, emails, and unfilled notes. With properly trained generative AI, it can be as easy as asking a question.  

At MBO, we know the truth of this assertion. We’ve created a proprietary AI large language model instance that we have trained with documentation and information from longstanding team members. When we onboard a new team member, whether independent or employee, they are immediately plugged into our full corpus of legacy knowledge. They can quickly get answers and fill in contextual blind spots far more efficiently than would otherwise be possible. 

This isn’t an example of AI replacing members of our onboarding team or helping existing processes move more quickly. It’s an example of completely reimagining a process in light of what AI can do. 

A New Paradigm that Moves the Needle

AI tools offer organizations the opportunity to completely rethink their key business processes. Instead of shoving the technology into processes and operations that were designed long before these new technologies existed, organizations need to take a step back. Focus on how business processes can change because of AI rather than simply asking who or what AI can replace, Enterprises that take this approach will see AI adoption that moves the needle in a big way. 


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