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AI: The Secret Weapon Top Companies are Using to Crush their Competition (And How You Can Too)

October 28, 2023
Posted in: AI, Consulting

At RTS Labs, we’ve seen firsthand how AI can drive tremendous value for organizations if implemented thoughtfully. But many companies struggle because they lack the in-house expertise needed to identify AI opportunities and integrate solutions effectively.

That’s where our AI consulting services come in – we have over a decade of experience helping clients across industries successfully adopt AI. In this guide, I’ll share insights from our work leveraging AI to help companies gain a competitive advantage.

Why Every Business Needs an AI Strategy

Since our founding in 2010, we’ve gone from most businesses dismissing AI to it now being essential for staying competitive. There are three big reasons why AI is strategically important:

1. Deeper Insights from Data

AI excels at finding hidden patterns and non-obvious correlations in vast amounts of data. Sophisticated machine learning algorithms can process mountains of data to surface valuable insights that enable more informed, strategic decision-making.

For example, one retail client wanted to understand why conversion rates were lagging for certain customer segments. By analyzing 5 years of customer data with AI, we identified specific friction points in the purchase process for these segments and recommended targeted interventions to overcome them. This drove a 12% increase in lead conversion rates.

Some additional examples:

  • A bank used AI to analyze internal data and better predict customers at risk of defaulting on loans. This allowed personalized outreach to guide customers to more favorable loan options before they defaulted.
  • A hospitality company applied natural language processing to analyze years of customer feedback data. This revealed key themes around pain points during the booking process, which they revamped based on AI insights.
  • A manufacturer built a predictive maintenance system using AI to analyze sensor data from machinery. This slashed unplanned downtime by over 30% by flagging potential issues before they caused breakdowns.

2. Automation of Manual, Repetitive Processes

Applying AI to automate repetitive, manual tasks that take up employees’ time drives major productivity gains and cost savings. We’ve helped clients automate diverse processes with AI, from customer service inquiries to financial reporting and more.

For one manufacturer we work with, their production line managers spent several hours each day performing routine quality checks. We built a computer vision system to automate these checks, reducing the burden on managers while improving the detection of defects. This AI automation generated over $3 million in additional annual profit for the manufacturer.

Additional examples:

  • An insurance company automated claim processing with AI, allowing faster payouts to customers and reducing staff hours on manual claim reviews by 20%.
  • A tech firm built an AI virtual agent that handles common customer support questions, freeing up human agents to focus on more complex issues.
  • A hospital automated radiology scan analysis using AI to prioritize critical cases, speeding diagnosis and treatment for patients.

3. Personalized, Predictive Customer Experiences

With AI capabilities like individual-level personalization, recommendations, and predictive analytics, businesses can deliver tailored experiences that anticipate customer needs and strengthen loyalty.

A national retailer we partner with wanted to improve their e-commerce experience. We designed and built an AI recommendation system that served up personalized product recommendations for each shopper. This drove a 15% jump in online sales by providing a more customized shopping experience.

Additional examples:

  • A streaming media company uses AI to recommend personalized content to each subscriber based on their viewing history and preferences. This increased engagement and reduced churn.
  • A credit card provider employs AI to analyze customer transaction data and proactively alert customers about suspicious activity. This improved security and customer trust.
  • A vehicle club offers AI-powered interactive guides to answer member questions 24/7 and make personalized offers of new products and services.

While the potential of AI is vast, realizing the benefits requires careful strategy. That’s where our consulting services come into play.

The Struggle of Going It Alone

In the early days of AI, attempting to implement projects internally made sense. But in our experience guiding clients, this rarely goes smoothly:

  • Lack of Internal Expertise: Even large companies struggle to recruit the scarce AI talent needed. For smaller firms, it’s nearly impossible.
  • Identifying the Right Use Cases: Leaders often don’t know where AI can be applied successfully and how to prioritize.
  • Integrating into Workflows: Deploying AI solutions that employees actually use is harder than it seems.
  • Underestimating Data Preparation: Getting data ready to train AI models requires vast amounts of time.

We once consulted with a fast food chain that spent 18 months and over $500k on an internal AI project that stalled completely. They wisely turned to specialist AI consultants like us.

The Benefits of Working with RTS Labs

Drawing on our experience guiding successful AI adoption, partnering with us allows companies to:

  • Augment Internal Capabilities: Our AI consultants fill skillset gaps and provide hard-to-hire talent.
  • Leverage Proven Methodologies: We have defined frameworks to ensure AI projects deliver results.
  • Get an Objective Assessment: Our unbiased consultants pinpoint the best AI applications for your business.
  • Manage Risks: We ensure ethical AI application and help avoid potential pitfalls.

For example, we once helped a retailer navigate a PR crisis that ensued when an internal team built biased AI models. Our experts can prevent such scenarios.

Evaluating AI Consultancies

The AI consultancy landscape has exploded, but firms vary enormously in their expertise. When researching consultants, be sure to evaluate:

AI Experience and Specialties

  • Years working with AI technology
  • Industries and use cases they have experience in
  • Specific AI techniques and services offered

Project Approach

  • How they scope engagements and assess AI applicability
  • Methods for integrating AI into business workflows
  • Change management and training services

Client References and Success Stories

  • Proof they deliver results for clients like you
  • Case studies and client references they can share

Ethics and Responsibilities

  • Standards they follow for ethical AI design
  • How they ensure transparency, accountability and oversight

Don’t hesitate to vet consultants thoroughly – RTS Labs welcomes this diligence.

Running a Successful AI Engagement

Once you’ve selected a consultancy, the real work begins. We focus on:

Clearly Defining Goals, Scope and Metrics

The best engagements start with clear objectives, parameters, and success metrics defined upfront.

Securing Internal Stakeholder Buy-In

Your team must understand why AI is needed and how they will participate. Getting input early drives engagement.

Maintaining Visibility into Progress

Require regular touchpoints and status reports. Catching problems early allows course correction.

Planning for Change Management

Guide stakeholders through transitions and be ready to tweak workflows to aid adoption.

With the right partner and approach, your first AI initiative will deliver results and momentum. The larger payoff comes from scaling AI across your organization.

Scaling AI for Transformational Impact

After early successes, we’ve seen clients pursue one of two paths:

1. Pausing and Losing Momentum

Some become complacent and fail to build on what they’ve learned.

2. Expanding AI Ambitiously

The most forward-thinking companies seek to amplify AI’s impact across the organization by:

  • Identifying new use cases to pursue
  • Building internal capabilities
  • Developing responsible AI practices

Organizations that take this second path are best positioned to transform their business with AI and outpace competitors.

The Future of AI Consulting

Having guided clients on AI strategy for over a decade, we see several trends emerging:

  • More industries will seek out AI expertise as adoption grows.
  • Consultants will evolve into ongoing strategic partners rather than tactical resources.
  • New frameworks will emerge around responsible and ethical AI design.

Firms that adapt to these trends will drive exceptional value for clients long into the future. The next phase of digital transformation led by AI is coming – our mission is to ensure our clients lead this change.

Leveraging AI is becoming imperative for business competitiveness. But realizing the benefits requires careful strategy and execution. Our AI consulting services at RTS Labs provide the expertise, perspective, and capabilities to implement AI solutions successfully.

I invite you to explore how our decade-plus of experience guiding AI adoption can help your organization gain a competitive advantage.

Let’s chart a path toward success together. Act now!

If you’re on the fence about diving into the world of AI, why not kick things off with our AI Readiness Assessment? It’s the perfect first step to gauge where you stand and how to move forward.

Here’s to your AI success!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is AI consulting? AI consulting involves partnering with external experts to help guide organizations through the process of successfully adopting AI solutions. Consultants provide strategic advice, technical capabilities, and best practices to identify, implement, and scale impactful AI.

Why should companies invest in AI consulting? AI consulting provides access to specialized AI expertise, proven frameworks, objective assessment of opportunities, and mitigation of implementation risks – all of which improve outcomes from AI adoption.

What are the benefits of AI consulting services? Key benefits of quality AI consulting include gaining strategic insights from data, automating processes to reduce costs, enhancing customer experiences with personalization, and managing risks of AI adoption.

How do I choose the right AI consultant? When selecting an AI consultancy, ensure they have extensive experience in your industry and with relevant use cases. Vet their client results, methodologies, capabilities, and ethical standards.

What does a successful AI consulting engagement look like? Successful AI consulting includes clearly defining goals/scope, securing internal stakeholder alignment, maintaining visibility into progress, and planning for change management during implementation.

How can AI consulting help scale AI across my organization? AI consultants can help expand AI to additional use cases by identifying opportunities, building internal capabilities through training, and instilling responsible AI practices.

What is the future outlook for AI consulting services? ADemand for strategic AI consulting will continue growing as more industries pursue adoption. Leading consultants will evolve into ongoing trusted advisors vs just project resources.