What are the cultural building blocks that need to be in place to successfully make AI part of your business? At the latest in BIMA’s ‘Age of AI’ series with Microsoft UK, London’s The Ivy was packed with people wanting to find out.
The ‘How to Build An AI-Ready Culture’ Breakfast Briefing was hosted by BIMA co-president Natalie Gross, who was joined by industry experts to examine how companies can effectively prepare for and apply AI in their businesses - and the focus was squarely on people rather than tech.
Dean Corney, COO at the Pull Agency, reflected on his team’s experiences: “We weren't necessarily thinking of it as a culture, it sort of developed naturally.” He also spotlighted how team drivers/champions for AI can be the catalyst: “You need to make sure you have advocates within the company, you could almost call them translators. We had people… who could introduce the team to the tools we need to make Ai solutions happen and then once we’d had our ‘fun’ with those tools and experimented, we flipped the switch and made sure we were ready to make things happen. If you have those people, and I’m sure most tech-savvy businesses do, just get started even if it’s at a small capacity because the longer you leave it then the further you are left behind.”
Kate Rosenshine, Head of Azure Cloud Solution Architecture at Microsoft UK stressed the point of knowing your business first before looking at AI: “ It’s about finding that ROI that you can translate very easily. We see companies try to grow too big, taking on a lot of new staff to tackle AI without first identifying that ROI, when it should be the other way round. You should first identify whether you can take on the basic stuff and produce that ROI before just bringing a bunch of people in.”
Roshan Rohatgi, Senior Scout and Syndication Lead at RBS-Natwest looked more towards practical solutions: “In my perspective there are three ‘bubbles’: cultural willingness, technical feasibility and financial viability. At RBS, these 3 are always in constant change but the most difficult one for us is that technical feasibility aspect. We have legacy systems that make things bloody hard, but it’s up to us to adopt that cultural willingness to make the change. It’s that approach to change that makes us ready to face all the technology on the horizon that AI brings.”
Leanne Page, Programme Director at Wunderman Thompson stressed that, to be AI ready and to create that culture, businesses need to know what they stand for: “It’s us that are responsible for building the product, so we have to know what product we are building, asking ourselves does it reflect our society, does it build towards a future that we want? We need to put ourselves and our responsibilities before AI before we build anything as this is such an important step for our society. I think another huge aspect of building an AI culture is not being afraid to be a student again, learning from your peers and understanding that this is a collaborative effort.”
Roshan - Cultural willingness, technical feasibility and financial viability are the three key pillars of implementing AI.
Kate – Start with the ROI, not the AI.
Dean - AI is not just an IT project, so you need advocates/translators to introduce the team to the tools we need to make AI solutions
Leanne – AI is collaborative. Don’t be afraid to be a student again and learn from peers.