Why do AI projects fail? For example, because there is no real AI strategy in the company, because of poor data quality, or simply because expectations are too high. However, companies often disregard a key factor in their change process: change management. The AI experts Dr.-Ing. Akhauri Prakash Kumar and Ralf Hülsmann explain how the consistent involvement of employees contributes significantly to the success of AI projects.
Dr.-Ing. Akhauri Prakash Kumar: I would not go so far as to say that interest in artificial intelligence is already declining. On the contrary: we are only at the beginning of the AI career. The technologies now are more mature and the costs are manageable thanks to low-cost computing power from the cloud. But what we are currently experiencing is a certain frustration that is becoming widespread in practice. However, this has less to do with the benefits of AI or the lack of solutions, but rather with the way companies introduce AI. Artificial intelligence which bypasses people, i.e. which doesn’t involve the employees in the specialist departments, does not work.
Ralf Hülsmann: Artificial intelligence is nothing more than new software or a new machine that a company installs. These kinds of projects have also failed in the past if they were implemented from the top down, by a manager. The employees directly affected by the introduction of new technologies were not informed or were informed too late in the process, and they then switched to blockade. There are a number of projects that have clearly failed because people refused to cooperate. Companies should learn from this.
Dr.-Ing. Akhauri Prakash Kumar: Actually, it's quite simple. One factor for important success is being transparent from the outset and forming a team that reflects all roles, hierarchies, and tasks of a department, process, product, or service. Only this team will be able to determine which adjustments could possibly be made with an AI solution. Together, they develop starting points and define common goals. Experts in artificial intelligence and data analytics should then be available to answer questions around which AI solution and which data will be used, i.e. the technical side of the project.
Ralf Hülsmann: It is important to understand that AI applications – no matter how specific – can affect all areas of a company. This is why the involvement of employees from several areas is so crucial. AI touches on corporate strategy, corporate culture, technology, leadership, organization, and communication.
Ralf Hülsmann is a proven IT and AI expert. In the Strategy & CTO Office in the area of Public Cloud Managed Services at T-Systems, his current thematic focus is on the use of artificial intelligence in the cloud. Since 2010 he has been working as an Enterprise Architect at T-Systems in various roles on the development of the cloud portfolio, partnering and strategy.
Dr.-Ing. Akhauri Prakash Kumar is Head of Artificial Intelligence and Senior Sales Evangelist at T-Systems. With more than 35 years of experience in the semiconductor industry, Dr. Kumar also holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, a diploma in electrical engineering, as well as holding doctorates in artificial intelligence, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering.