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The Benefits of Getting an AI Assessment 

These days, it seems artificial intelligence solutions are emerging from every corner of the tech world. For those of you who follow industry news, each day brings exciting new announcements about tools to increase efficiency, reduce costs, enable new never-before-seen features in software, and potentially bring benevolent robot overlords to life.  But wait—before you jump into the fray, it’s crucial to carefully assess your business needs and analyze how AI can actually make a meaningful difference.

You need to start with an AI Assessment.

Let’s look at what an AI Assessment is and how your organization can really benefit from getting one. We’ve been getting a lot of questions about AI and AI assessments from our clients, so we’re taking this chance to go over what an AI assessment actually looks like and how we create them here at Plan A Technologies.

So… What is An AI Assessment?

In a nutshell, an AI Assessment is when a team of AI experts and business consultants take a close look at your operations and technology infrastructure to figure out how AI and machine learning could help you. There are a lot of ways to approach this, but when our team from Plan A dives in, we carefully review documents and architecture, we do interviews with key leaders at our client, and we often do site visits to understand how everything fits together.

The goal? We help our clients find opportunities to introduce AI functionality into different parts of their business to improve countless elements of their day-to-day work. Very often there’s a great off-the-shelf solution available to address a specific issue or unlock additional value. Other times a business wants or needs to create something more unique that doesn’t exist yet, or is ridiculously priced. Either way, our initial task is to understand how the business or non-profit is operating today, where potential issues are, and then identify areas where we can introduce AI solutions to make things better.

At Plan A, we end up creating a detailed report (often 50 to 100+ pages long) that shows which parts of your organization could most benefit from the latest AI solutions, how these solutions could be integrated into your business, and the costs and timelines involved.

Why Bother Getting An AI Assessment First?

The AI market today is extremely fast-moving and new solutions are being announced constantly. Most leaders are pretty focused on running their businesses and just don’t have the time to stay up-to-date on all the latest and greatest in the space. They often randomly hear about a cool solution, maybe see a demo, then sometimes sign up. There’s rarely a careful vetting and evaluation that is done holistically across the enterprise.

An AI Assessment enables this more thoughtful, systematic approach. Hiring a team of unbiased experts who closely follow all the latest AI news and who analyze multiple departments across a business means you get far better, far more customized recommendations drawn from companies around the world. You get help sorting out the genuinely great solutions from the not-so-great ones.

Quick side note. One key piece of advice when selecting a company to help you with an AI Assessment. Remember that many companies that offer to do AI assessments have their own software that they’re trying to sell again and again, so they tend to give recommendations that recommend their solutions above other solutions. We believe that it’s important to make sure you work with a firm that is truly unbiased—at Plan A, for example, we accept no advertising dollars, no sponsorships, and no kick-back fees from other AI software companies to recommend them. We also don’t sell off-the-shelf software…we only get paid by the hour for either doing the analysis, or setting up whatever solution you choose, or building a brand new custom solution from scratch if you prefer that.

Another benefit of doing an AI assessment up front? You avoid paying for duplicative solutions. Without a coordinated effort, many organizations end up buying multiple tools that often have overlapping functionality. One client we worked with recently discovered that they were paying for six different platforms that were each intended to send out more customized, AI-driven marketing offers.

Hiring a company to help with the assessment also ensures you purchase AI solutions you can actually adopt. Sadly, many companies end up signing up for solutions that they either can’t quite figure out or set up correctly, or that charge them for far more functionality than they really need. A solid AI Assessment can pinpoint precisely where AI can make the most significant impact on your operations, and then custom-tailor solutions to match your unique goals and challenges.

An assessment also includes thinking about scalability; we help our clients figure out how their chosen solutions will need to evolve over time as the organization grows and changes.

Finally, an AI Assessment gives you a menu of options to select from that could each be useful. With the insights that a good assessment provides, you can make informed decisions that are based on real numbers, and not gut feelings or marketing mantras. You can then select the solutions you like the most and set everything up yourself, or we can help you set up and integrate whichever solutions you select. What’s more, if we can’t find the right off-the-shelf solution, we can always build something custom for you.

What Exactly Happens During an AI Assessment?

Here’s how an AI Assessment comes together  at Plan A. We start with a discovery stage, where we conduct a thorough examination of your business, processes, products and services, the makeup of your teams and leadership, and your competition. This can entail anything from reviewing your documentation to interviewing key stakeholders and employees, to walking your factory floor, visiting your hotel or hospital or store or offices, and more. As part of the discovery stage, we consider the broader AI landscape—innovation is happening so fast that the data we found in previous assessments is going to be incomplete.

Next, we assemble the data we collect through careful analysis. We examine the pain points of your business, bottlenecks where things might be slowing down or causing inefficiencies, and how the tech available in the current AI landscape is relevant to those pain points.

We also analyze how customers interact with your business, so that we can identify points of differentiation that don’t necessarily involve any pain points. We dig into customer engagements, feedback mechanisms, user experiences, and areas that might be intricate to unravel without a systematic approach.

Evaluating the effectiveness of your data management systems requires technical and business expertise. We assess how well your systems organize, store, and utilize data—a task that involves navigating complex data structures and technologies. We also need to analyze how your organization functions and how your employees, customers and other stakeholders interact with the enterprise. It’s a nuanced analysis that requires expertise in both current technology capabilities and an understanding of how things like, say, computer vision tools or generative AI tools or sensor-based tools can make your life easier and open up new opportunities.

Following our detailed analysis, our expert business analysts roll up their sleeves to design practical recommendations that leverage the latest AI technology across specific areas of your business. These solutions can be off-the-shelf and provided by a third party, or custom solutions developed by the Plan A team if you prefer that.

Let’s look at some examples: to streamline operational efficiency, we might recommend tools to enable AI-driven process automation to reduce manual tasks and enhance workflow speed. To address cost reduction opportunities and customer service enhancements at a call center, we could recommend AI-based predictive analytics chatbots to interact with customers, and AI-based coaches to give additional help and insights about the caller and the products being discussed to the call center staff during their conversations.

The key lies in pinpointing precise areas for improvement and tailoring AI solutions to bring about tangible enhancements.

As exciting as these solutions may be, they aren’t meant to be implemented all at once—there is a right time for every step. An AI Assessment includes creating a detailed roadmap that takes into account your current business goals, capacities and timeframes as well as any dependencies between processes. Laying out a roadmap for a full AI transformation of your business is a complex task that requires not just the work of experienced business analysts, but the coordination of an interdisciplinary team.

Finally, it’s time to craft and present a detailed report that highlights the proposed solutions and AI approaches we believe can solve the issues you want to target. We’re then available to brainstorm as much or as little as you wish about the next steps. Sometimes the assessment is done purely for informational purposes, and our work is done. Other groups ask Plan A Technologies to actually implement some or all of the changes. Still other groups decide that they want to build something completely new, and we can help there as well.

Artificial Intelligence is a wave of innovation that is going to impact nearly every organization in one way or another in the coming years. We believe it’s worth taking the time to understand how your organization can use it wisely to get ahead… because those companies that ignore it are in danger of being left behind entirely.




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