Brianna White

Staff member
Jul 30, 2019
AI has taken the world by storm since ChatGPT’s much-lauded debut in late 2022. From veterinary offices using AI to streamline documentation to Facebook and Instagram replacing their search bars with Meta’s AI assistant, businesses are increasingly embracing AI to improve operations and enhance user experiences. 64% of business owners believe AI will improve customer relationships and boost internal productivity.

However, despite its remarkable popularity and rapid proliferation, AI in business poses specific challenges that leaders must navigate carefully. Companies should prioritize fortifying the core fundamentals of their products and services before incorporating AI enhancements. Rather than getting caught up in the AI arms race between firms like OpenAI and Anthropic, businesses must leverage AI judiciously to augment already strong offerings tailored to their customer base.

Focus on Fundamentals

Leaders can cut through the AI hype and identify genuinely productive use cases by answering fundamental questions: What are users' needs? What problems need to be solved? How can we deliver exceptional value? Adding AI into the mix will only complicate operations without answers to these questions. Many businesses see AI as the silver bullet that will solve all their problems, but if they haven’t even identified the problems, how can AI be the solution?

Key Areas to Focus On:
  1. Build a Solid Foundation: If you hope to layer an AI solution on top of messy data, think again. AI relies heavily on high-quality data to function effectively. If your tools and solutions aren’t properly integrated or information frameworks are unstructured, the data collected will be unreliable. This "dirty data" can lead AI astray, resulting in inaccurate outputs and potentially biased decisions.
  2. Clarify Problem Identification: Focusing on fundamental features helps businesses identify the specific problems they want to solve. This targeted approach ensures AI is used for the right purposes and delivers real value. Chasing the latest AI trend without a clear problem can lead to a scattered and ineffective implementation.
  3. Optimize Before Automating: Streamlining core functionalities can identify inefficiencies and areas for improvement within the business. Addressing these issues can enhance overall performance before introducing AI, guaranteeing that AI is layered onto a solid foundation and maximizing its impact.
  4. Focus on Value: When you understand the bread and butter of your business, you can prioritize which aspects will benefit most from AI. This targeted approach avoids wasting resources on AI solutions that don't address core customer needs or provide clear ROI.
  5. Prioritize: Jumping straight into AI can lead to chasing the latest technology trends instead of focusing on essential business challenges. Businesses with a strong grasp of their core functions are less likely to lose the plot and more likely to stay grounded in their purpose.
  6. Manage Expectations: Without a clear understanding of the crux of your business, you might have unrealistic expectations about AI's capabilities. Focusing on core functions helps set realistic goals for what AI can achieve and prevents disappointment or frustration.
Focusing on your business’s core functionalities first allows you to build a strong foundation, ensuring that when you implement AI solutions, you do it strategically, address real problems, deliver concrete value, and avoid common pitfalls associated with rushed adoption.

AI is here to stay, and establishing robust groundwork is critical to leveraging the technology in smart ways to improve business operations and make your products stronger and more effective for your customer base. Ultimately, perfecting your business's core functions is the most effective way to achieve long-term business success.

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