Skip the Management Consultants
When cars were first invented, misperceptions of the technology stoked fears they would be a menace to everything else using the roadway. As a result, “red flag” laws were enacted in the UK and US that required a person to walk ahead of the car waving a flag to warn others of the approaching vehicle, resulting in an obvious impact on the speed and scalability of this new resource.
Today, AI is a similar transformative technology entering the mainstream, and likewise creating uncertainty for many. Even though AI has been in use for decades, it has remained inaccessible to many enterprises due to its perceived high cost, challenges with data availability, and lack of critical expert resources. However, the undeniable market success of applied AI along with simplified data accessibility, and dramatically lower compute costs are driving many businesses to reconsider their AI strategies and invest in the successful use of these powerful technologies.
Despite their interest in new strategies and measurable results, many of these enterprises turn to the same big consulting firms that they have turned to in the past. We all know who they are. Big names that come with heavy, expensive teams and create multi-year “roadmaps” for companies to follow, yet barely have meaningful domain experience or the technical capabilities to truly understand and deliver on whatever strategy they concoct.
While it may seem a safe choice for management, relying on strategic consultants is the riskiest investment a company can make when trying to find its AI identity.
But what could be the harm of paying a management consulting firm? Aren’t they best positioned to understand developing technologies and market trends?
Before hiring Launchpad.AI, one of our clients did just that, asking strategy consultants to utilize their market knowledge to segment their customers. After conducting numerous interviews, marketing studies, and industry data analyses, the firm came back with five MECE (Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive) segments. The delivered a heavy presentation filled with all the background and the reasons that these segments were correct and the key to the company’s success. The problem was, they were almost entirely wrong, or more specifically, they barely scratched the surface.
With the recommendation in hand, the company then spent the next two years trying to align the MECE segments with what data scientists were actually discovering in the data. What they came to realize is that instead of five neat and tidy segments, the company had more than 100 distinct segments. The good news, however, was that these segments were uniquely addressable through the utilization of AI technologies that could provide personalized messaging and pricing.
Our work with other brands has reinforced the understanding that customers have extremely diverse needs, desires, and aspirations and these characterisitics, once properly discovered, can be harnessed and successfully addressed through the use of data science and AI. The time is past when you can get away with funneling everyone into three, five or even 100 segments. Today you have to find ways to reach people individually which makes every customer their own unique segment and requires models that can understand and deliver personalization. Generalized consulting recommendations on audience understanding and potential actions you can take just don’t provide real value anymore.
Even more importantly, our seven year journey with some of the world’s leading enterprises like Vodafone, PingAn, Levi Strauss & Co, AXA, and Change Healthcare has shown us that collaboration between subject matter/business experts inside the company and AI expertise offers the real roadmap to success. Even with the advent of powerful AI, there is no real replacement for the domain experts within the organization. Employees have years of domain knowledge that is hard won and offer unique insights into your organization, its operational attributes and diverse information about the business that often can’t be adequately captured by AI models. The real roadmap to success is forged by combining what your employees know about your business with the expert application of data science and AI technologies.
Empower your domain experts, team them with a skilled data science organization capable of delivering cutting edge performance, and you'll unock the exponential value of AI. Retire the red flag bearers, you don’t need them anymore!