Unleashing the power of AI: Three key steps for strategic scaling

Kirstie Tiernan, Go-to-Market Leader, BDO Digital

The Gen AI opportunity is here, and businesses need to seize it or risk getting left behind.

The imminent threat is not people being replaced by AI but being outpaced by those who fully embrace its potential. And the same goes for companies; the organisations that sit and wait for others to act first risk losing their competitive edge.

The AI imperative

Our recent Techtonic States research revealed that the adoption of AI and other advanced digital solutions is the number one strategy organisations are pursuing to gain a competitive advantage over the next 12 months. And this certainly rings true for me. Every day I see innovative AI use cases driving productivity and business value across industries.

One industry quick to embrace the transformational potential of AI is Private Equity (PE). PE firms are leveraging AI tools to streamline critical processes – from rapidly summarising and analysing lengthy documents to conducting investigative due diligence on business portfolios, and even optimising contract renewal procedures. AI is revolutionising how these firms operate, with tasks that once took someone days to complete now completed within minutes.

Healthcare is another prime example where AI is changing the game. This is much more than chatbots providing answers to patient questions; AI models can analyse patient symptoms in line with their medical history to provide a list of possible conditions. From there, they can recommend tailored treatment plans and provide up-to-date clinical guidelines. 

Despite the growing number of use cases, business leaders are rightly recognising the risk of failing to fully leverage the benefits of AI. This resonates with many starting out on their journey with clients asking: “Now that I've started using AI, how do I scale?”


Developing an AI scaling strategy

With AI technologies advancing by the hour, navigating this evolving landscape can seem daunting, particularly for business leaders lacking a technical background. So how can leaders cultivate confidence in embracing innovation and guarantee the seamless integration of AI platforms across their organisation to optimise scalability and maximise benefits?

Ensuring top-down AI adoption: At a recent roundtable discussion, we asked CFOs and their employees if they were currently using AI in their roles. Unsurprisingly, 60% of the employees raised their hands. Surprisingly, not one CFO did.

The main differentiator between the success and failure of any new technology is user adoption. Buy-in is needed at every level of the business, and this starts with the education of senior team members. Leaders must have a strong understanding of AI capabilities and pitfalls, and experience in using it themselves.

Aligning AI initiatives with business goals: It’s only when AI use cases are aligned with the broader business strategy that its true potential is unleashed. Start by identifying your organisation's core business objectives and understanding how AI can support and enhance these goals. Whether helping improve customer experiences or streamlining internal processes, your AI projects can directly contribute to driving tangible business outcomes.

Prioritising AI projects based on feasibility and potential impact: Do you have the necessary resources, data, and skills available? And is the use case scalable? Can it be replicated across different parts of the business? Can you undertake this use case safely? This strategic focus and proper prioritisation will ensure you’re investing in the projects that are both achievable and will deliver the greatest impact. Through high-impact projects which demonstrate what AI can really do, you will build momentum for further scaling.

The worst thing leaders can do at this point is bury their heads in the sand. Every organisation needs an AI strategy, and those which fully leverage the benefits of this technology will not only stay relevant but drive growth and innovation.

Please keep a look out for the next blog on AI ethics!