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The Business of AI: Building an AI Ready Culture

Posted by Jason Richards on Jan 28, 2021 2:00:00 PM

The Business of AI: Building an AI Ready Culture

To build a successful AI strategy, one must consider cultural issues as well as business issues. Becoming an AI-ready organization requires a fundamental transformation in how you do things, how employees relate to each other, what skills they have, and what processes and principles guide your behaviors. This transformation goes to the core of an organization’s culture. It is vital for organizations to tackle such transformation with a holistic approach.

There are some requirements to foster an AI-ready culture. The first is to be a data-driven organization. Secondly, people in your organization need to be empowered to participate in the transformation, which creates an all-inclusive environment. Finally, an AI-ready culture requires a responsible approach in the implementation.

Data Driven Organization

Being a data-driven organization at its core is ensuring that you have the best and most complete data so that you can reason over your entire data estate. Ownership and/or storage issues have, in the past, utilized data in a siloed manner. This can result in delays in access and availability to everyone due to having incomplete data that is departmentalized. With a unified view, you can make better decisions, act more effectively and provide a better customer experience.

The quality of the data is also key. Too often, mistakes are made when data sets have missing, duplicated or inaccurate data. In addition, AI models are only as good as the data it can operate and learn from.

Empowerment and Inclusion

Fundamental to empowerment is enablement. Be sure to provide people with the space, resources, security and support to improve what they do with AI. Empowerment also includes allowing room for errors, encouraging experimentation, providing the skills and knowledge and celebrating accomplishments.

Inclusiveness is predicated on the willingness and ability of employees to work in cross-functional teams that cut across organizational boundaries. It means making those who best understand the business a central piece of the transformational process.

Responsible AI

As AI continues to evolve, it has the power to drive considerable changes to our lives. Organizations need to ask themselves how to design and use AI systems that create positive impact on individuals and society as well as how to ensure those systems treat everyone fairly.

Tools for Cultural Transformation

There are a couple of tools that can be used to prepare for change management. Change management techniques are most helpful when they use a framework that guides the organization in a structured manner. There are many approaches and frameworks on the market that cater to different types of organization and cultures. Here, we will provide a high-level overview of two such approaches.

ADKAR Framework



The acronym ADKAR refers to the five stages (or milestones) that an individual moves through to achieve change — or to put it a different way, to move from one set of habits and behaviors to a new one. These milestones are sequential because people need to fully understand, commit, and achieve one milestone before they can effectively tackle the next one. It is only when individuals reach the last milestone that transformation becomes a reality. It’s important to note that individuals may move back and forth among these stages as they learn the new implications of a change and understand how it impacts them. These are the five stages of the model:

  • Awareness
  • Desire
  • Knowledge
  • Ability
  • Reinforcement

AI Maturity Model Assessment


In order to start the change management process, it is good practice to find where your organization stands from a maturity standpoint. The following maturity model provides a reference to where an organization stands as it pertains to AI maturity. The four levels are:

  • Foundational
  • Approaching
  • Aspirational
  • Mature

The approaches shown in this article are extremely high-level overviews of the process. To get in-depth information, try some of Fast Lane’s Business of AI courses!

Topics: AI/IoT/DX, business, organization

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