Why 95% of AI transformations fail? This is what I did to suceed.

Decoding AI - Unlocking Insights and Winning Strategies for Decision Makers

Manuela-Bianca Steinhuebel

7/31/20234 min read

Dear Decision Maker,

The stakes are high. In today's fast-paced and saturated market, finding a unique innovation that sets your company apart from the competition has become an arduous and expensive task. Companies often deliver innovative products, only to see similar offerings from their competitors shortly after. The era of having a truly exclusive product seems to be slipping away.

As an executive in the technology sector, I have witnessed this unsettling trend firsthand. The pressure to stay ahead is relentless, and the quest for that special spark of originality can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. But amidst these turbulent waters, there is hope - hope in transforming your business, so that your competitors simply cannot replicate.

This key lies in your company's own data, a treasure trove resulting from your very own products. The power to leverage this data is the key to unlocking unparalleled insights and advantages that competitors simply cannot compete with. But it's not as simple as it sounds. Defining the right data to be collected from your products is a crucial step, and if not done right, that hope for success will remain just that - a hope that won't materialize.

You might argue that it's easy or your company is already doing it. However, the harsh reality is that 90% of AI adoptions fail to reach their planned business benefits. The reason behind this staggering statistic is often a combination of factors, including the lack of understanding and strategic use of our own data, the financial aspect, the challenge of obtaining buy-in from shareholders, and the need to inspire employees rather than scare them.

Indeed, the strategic use of data can be a complex and challenging task, particularly for non-technical companies. Many are unsure where to start or how to identify the specific benefits they can derive from their data. This issue is crucial as the potential advantages are individualized per industry and, even more so, per company.

I am excited to share that I have recognized this vital need, and I am taking action to address it. Stay tuned for my upcoming carousel series, starting next days, which will run in parallel to my newsletter. In this series, I will delve into the strategic use of data for different industries, including healthcare, banking, logistics, and even less known use as in gas & oil industry.

When it comes to the financial aspect of AI adoption, a successful strategy must strike a balance between maximizing short-term ROI and ensuring long-term profitability. Often, many CEOs tend to prioritize delivering immediate results and perceive AI transformation as an expensive endeavor, leading them to think, "Perhaps it's best not to implement it now!" It's a common misconception that AI is an expensive endeavor. However, it is true that many CTOs/CDOs struggle to comprehend the complexities of the business or translate technologies into tangible business benefits. On the other hand, numerous CFOs/COOs fail to grasp the impact of disruptive technologies on traditional budget planning and tracking. One crucial aspect of the CEO role is facilitating effective communication and understanding between various stakeholders, including CTOs/CDOs and CFOs.

Navigating the challenge of obtaining buy-in from shareholders can be a daunting task for any CEO. The pressures and indecisions from various stakeholders can lead to moments of uncertainty, causing the CEO to feel torn between short-term impulses and the long-term strategic vision. The secret to success lies in finding the right support - an internal or external guide who possesses a unique blend of technology expertise and a CEO's perspective. This guide can support you in crafting a compelling case for buy-in from stakeholders.

As someone who has already successfully adopted AI, I understand the intricacies of both the technological landscape and the business objectives. I can personally attest that this blend of skills was essential to navigate the complexities of AI implementation, address concerns, and communicate the benefits effectively. As a result, we witnessed transformative changes, increased efficiency, and gained a competitive edge in the market.

The fourth aspect of AI adoption revolves around the emotional response from employees. While tech employees often get excited about the possibilities AI brings, non-technical employees can become nervous, fearing potential job losses due to automation. As a CEO, I can empathize with this challenge, as I too faced a similar situation.

To address these concerns, I spent a year engaging in weekly conversations with my teams and key people, aiming to inspire them and alleviating their fears. Actions speak louder than words, and it was essential for me to lead by example - to say what I do and do what I say. This level of commitment was necessary to create a culture of trust and openness within the organization.

Moreover, I realized the importance of having a comprehensive plan to reskill employees. This plan focused on three critical areas as suggested below.

Empowering employees potentially at risk of job displacement: Providing them with the necessary training and support to transition into new roles within the company or explore alternative opportunities.

Training employees on data collection: Equipping all employees, regardless of their technical background, with the skills to collect relevant data. This data is the cornerstone of our unique competitive edge, and it is vital for everyone to contribute to its creation.

Teaching employees to embrace efficient processes: Often, executives view processes as overhead, while employees believe they already know the processes they follow. However, neither chaos nor excessive bureaucracy is conducive to success. The key lies in identifying and implementing helpful processes that lay the foundation for revolutionizing internal workflows and gaining a competitive edge.

So, I urge you to rethink your approach and prioritize your employees' development. By nurturing a culture of continuous learning and skill enhancement, we can ensure that everyone in the organization is equipped to embrace AI and contribute to its success. Together, we can foster an environment of collaboration and growth, where our employees are empowered to thrive in this new era of technological advancement.

Every week, I extend an invitation to C-level executives who aspire to become Visionary Chief Technology Architects and own the strategy of their companies. Join me for free idea exchange sessions, where we can discuss and collaborate on shaping the future of technology leadership. The stakes are high.


Wishing you continuous success,