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AI Has Arrived. Now What?

Take these steps now or risk being left behind.

I recently spoke with a friend who works at a large AI company. He said there are three types of people in the world:

  • Those working full-time on AI
  • Those actively experimenting with AI
  • And those who have no idea what’s about to hit them
Artificial Intelligence - AI

Artificial intelligence is the real deal, poised to turn everything we know about business on its head. And the CI channel will be no exception. In the months and years to come, we can expect:

  • Sophisticated chatbots that can resolve complex customer issues
  • “Co-pilot” apps that will train and assist our teams in real-time
  • Proposal tools that will generate personalized estimates with the click of a button
  • Financial analysis platforms that will spot trends and identify issues and opportunities in our books
  • And a host of other AI-powered solutions no one has imagined yet

There will be winners and losers in this game. If you want to come out on top, there are a few things you can start doing right now.

Get Your Hands Dirty

AI has exploded into mainstream awareness, but many people I speak with have barely engaged with these tools. So, if you are looking to build a head start, getting some hands-on experience is a no-brainer.

OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Gemini, and Anthropic’s Claude are all great entry points. They are ridiculously simple to use and they all offer free or low-cost plans.

Also by Jason Griffing: The Dangers of the ‘Not Invented Here’ Syndrome

Use your model of choice to brainstorm business development strategies, write a marketing email campaign, create a project management plan, analyze some financial data, or build a complex spreadsheet. The specifics don’t matter — building a sense of the capabilities and limitations does.

Scope Out Your Business Use Cases

Finding ways to use these tools on a personal level will be easy, but really getting ahead of the curve with AI will require finding use cases to deploy across your organization.

For example, imagine a system that could send you a summary report of all actions taken in the field on a given day. Or being able to chat with a bot that understands everything happening in your sales pipeline. The possibilities are endless. The trick is getting specific. Focus on areas where AI can deliver real value to your unique business.

A helpful tip is to look for areas where large amounts of written language are routinely used; for example, customer service, sales communications, and project management correspondence. Anywhere the written word plays an important role will be ripe for the picking as large language models continue their advance.

Get Command of Your Data

Once you identify your target use cases, the next step is to think critically about the state of your internal company data. With all the hype surrounding emerging AI technologies, the importance of simple data hygiene is easy to overlook. But if you take one thing away from this piece, let it be this — if AI is an engine for your business, data is the fuel.

Unlocking AI’s full potential will require that tools like large language models can interact with your proprietary data. And if that data is stuck in people’s heads, scattered across various unorganized drives, or intermingled with outdated and inaccurate information, you will be at a serious disadvantage.

So, audit your data processes:

  • Ensure your CRM is being kept up to date
  • Tighten up your project management documentation
  • Ensure work orders are being filled out consistently
  • Review your client system documentation practices
  • Make sure you have a support ticketing system in place

The value of the data that lives in these systems will increase exponentially in the age of AI. Companies that recognize this now will have a significant head start.

Also by Jason Griffing: The Art of Unlearning

AI will be a massively disruptive force that will tip the scales heavily in favor of those who move quickly to adopt it. But for all the hype surrounding this technology, it can be hard to know what steps to take right now. Taking the foundational actions outlined here will ensure that you and your company are poised to take the lead as the tools mature and the overall strategic landscape comes into focus.