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Whether you are an HR professional, an IT head, or a businessman, chances are you will need to delve into the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) sooner or later. As with any other tool, it is critical to understand the underlying technology before employing a tool, whether pre-packaged or custom developed.  

Like it or not, AI will be a part of your business or work-life sooner rather than 

later, and you must understand both AI as a discipline and a business tool that you need help with.

As we speak, businesses are swimming in unstructured data, and a very selected few know how to utilize that data to our advantage. Due to the barrage of information about AI and big data on the Internet, everyone assumes that data analysis and AI consulting is the key to most of their data-related issues. And to tackle this trove of data, most companies are running over to AI consultants to make sense of it.

Match Your Problem with Possible Solutions

Generally speaking, data science and AI solutions are used to gain valuable insights from the available data. Enterprises recruit data science consultants to build products meant for employing machine learning to either disseminate incoming data or gain insights into the data they already have. These insights will then be utilized in automating workflows. Other organizations may want to develop a customized analytical and visualization platform that controls their operations and makes strategic decisions based on the insights.

You can apply data science to gain insights into your business operations and enhance your operational efficiency, or you may want to develop AI-driven applications for your end customers. In the above example, the former represents your company as the end-consumer and the latter – your customers.

Matching your problem to your solution is job #1. If you fail to do this, you will be left with complaints about your consultant like:

  • They made things more complex than they need to be.
  • They didn’t meet deadlines and stay on budget, or even
  • They failed to deliver on their promise of a working ML solution altogether.

Look For People That Are Quick On Their Feet

A seasoned consultant, in most cases, can give you a “Yes, this could work” or a confident “No” within 15 minutes of you explaining the problem you are seeking a solution to.

Granted, a consultant can’t guarantee whether you’ll get meaningful results ahead of time. However, a seasoned professional understands the value of time and money, and they should be able to evaluate which ideas are worth pursuing beforehand. 

Understand that every solution needs to build out a proof of concept to verify that what you want your insights to deliver can be done accurately with the data you have available. But, it does not take months to get to a clear consensus on what is doable and if it, in fact, will deliver the results predicted in short order.

Professionals Are Transparent About Their Work

Privacy is a top priority in any business to stay competitive. However, a well-heeled AI consultant should still be able to maneuver enough to give you some specific projects and talk about some real people and numbers.

Every firm employs NDAs with their clients, but they can still tell you who they have worked with, what challenges were solved, and its impact.

All mentions of experience should come with names and contact details of the project managers of the outfits.

You must choose a trusted AI agency with solid references and answers and insights they’ve developed for specific projects, how they approached those projects, and what outcomes they generated. Be sure to ask if those projects are in operation or were developed as Proof Of Concept.

People Who Are Pros Know the Questions to Ask

Ever had a feeling of being duped after a meeting, or did you leave a session feeling like they asked all the right questions? Were follow-up questions asked, and did they dig and probe until they got right to the heart of your problem? If they didn’t, it’s another red flag.

An excellent AI consulting firm has a vested interest in getting things right the first time, and they feel an intense need to learn as much as possible about your business and your business sector—what you thrive on, your vocabulary, what your data looks like, and why the insight that you seek is meaningful to you.

They should feel like a partner whose interests are your interests.

Throughout the project, the AI consulting team you hire will make critical decisions that will determine the outcome of your project. They should also be able to bring you ideas or make suggestions for improvement. This is only possible when they truly understand your business and your goals.

Every consultancy you hire should be more focused on understanding your problem than selling you their services.

Every tiny miscommunication, in the beginning, can lead to expensive, hard-to-fix mistakes later on. Don’t allow it to happen just because you want to be nice.

In conclusion, hiring a competent, well-heeled consulting company is a difficult decision, but one that will become easy if you fulfill your responsibilities as a client.

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