MNP Digital’s AI and ML Prioritization Framework delivers results

This is the final article in a five-part series that examines the successful adoption of enterprise Artificial Intelligence (AI). This blog discusses MNP Digital’s AI Prioritization Framework – a comprehensive seven-stage AI project delivery process built on industry-tested best practices. The other articles in the series addressed AI strategy, building a foundation for AI success, AI governance, and ethics in AI. If you missed the earlier blogs, start from the beginning with An Introduction to Building an Artificial Intelligence Strategy.

What’s trending in business? According to Gartner, intelligent composable business models.

What does an intelligent composable business look like? It’s a model that “radically re-engineers decision making by accessing better information and responding more nimbly to it. For example, machines will enhance decision making in the future, enabled by a rich fabric of data and insights.” [1] That means leaning on AI and Machine Learning (ML).

It makes sense, as Brian Burke, research vice president at Gartner points out, “Static business processes that were built for efficiency were so brittle that they shattered under the shock of the pandemic.” He continues, “As CIOs and IT leaders struggle to pick up the pieces, they’re beginning to understand the importance of business capabilities that adapt to the pace of business change.” [2]

Becoming a more intelligent business

If you’re resolute in becoming a more intelligent composable business by embedding AI and ML into your business model, then you’ll need an expertly crafted AI/ML delivery framework. The previous blogs touched on other aspects critical to successful AI/ML implementation, such as strategy and governance. A delivery framework encompasses strategy, governance, ethics, technology, people, processes, and more. Without a framework, organizations often do not get the results that they expect from their AI/ML projects.

Gartner reports that only 53% of projects make it from AI prototypes to production, and IT leaders find it difficult to scale AI projects. [3] We’ve come to understand that there are three primary reasons why AI projects fall short of expectations:

  1. Clients did not understand the key risk factors and the need for a process to assess risk and reward
  2. Clients did not understand the arc of an AI/ML project and were entering at the incorrect point
  3. Clients expected that data scientists alone could do the job

Successful adoption of AI/ML comes down to risk management. With proper strategy and opportunity assessments, the risk of the overall program and program costs can be effectively managed, and companies can achieve their goals.

A comprehensive 7-stage AI/ML project delivery framework

At MNP Digital, we use a seven stage AI/ML project delivery process to help our clients avoid obstacles, manage risks, and get the results they want. What follows is a brief description of the seven stages

Stage One: Education, discovery, and scoping workshop

This workshop affords an opportunity to both educate key stakeholders and align on AI/ML concepts and organizational goals. At this time, the team can identify pain points or functions that the AI will solve and have preliminary discussions around platform, data, and infrastructure.  

Stage Two: Opportunity identification and ranking

Here we identify and explore possible candidate projects and interview key stakeholders to rank those as per value creation, feasibility, and alignment with overall organizational strategy. This stage involves a high-level discussion of the opportunity and what success would look like.

Stage Three: Opportunity assessments

This involves a mid-to-deep level exploration of the technical feasibility, cost, and value of selected use cases employing a success criterion. At this point we conduct a realistic examination of sustainability and the capacity of the infrastructure to support the initiative.

Stage Four: Iterative development (Proof of Concept)

Here we create POCs for approved use cases based on the Opportunity Assessment stage, and build the best statistical model to solve the business problem. This involves validating data availability/quality and ensuring the ability to apply the output and cost-effectively scale production.

Stage Five: Semi-production pilot (Proof of Value)

POV is the analysis of value, where we start by creating the minimum viable product by moving selected POCs into the production environment in a controlled fashion, such as a Dev or UAT server. At this point, we must analyze the impact on technology, people, processes, governance, and security.

Stage Six: Operationalization and deployment

At this point we can move the POV to the production environment by creating the required pipeline, integration, security, data governance and reporting, etc. DevOps and MLOps best practices are applied to ensure an automated model life cycle in a highly available setting.

Stage Seven: Model management

This phase is concerned with ensuring the ongoing measurement of the accuracy of the model driving the AI/ML solution and implementing tuning mechanisms as needed.

The framework entry point pitfall

Many companies attempt to enter AI/ML projects at the Iterative Development stage – not an ideal entry point. Costs increase as you move through the framework, so the choice to enter late means the business is entering when costs are relatively high, which results in higher losses if the project fails.

Other potential issues with starting the project without the necessary preliminary work are the multitude of “what ifs” and unanswered questions. Did we choose the right use case or opportunity? Do we have sufficient data to drive an AI/ML solution? Do we have any idea of what it will cost to operationalize and run the application in production? All questions that would have been addressed in the ranking and assessment stages.

The benefits to entering the framework at an earlier point is that you gain the knowledge from a deeper dive early in the process and therefore have less uncertainty moving forward. You’re also able to:

  • select the right candidates to go deeper into the assessment
  • increase your ability to achieve quick wins to see value and get sponsorship
  • identify gaps in the environment and the data maturity of the organization through a clear strategy roadmap
  • avoid wasting time and money on unimportant or unrealistic use cases.

To gain a deeper understanding of an effective delivery framework and the benefits of employing one, consider joining us for our five-day immersive AI workshop. The workshop will cover how to assess and build an AI strategy customized for your organization as well as how to get full value from your implementation and avoid unnecessary risk. It will also detail how to create and employ a comprehensive delivery framework. 

Learn more about MNP Digital’s AI Workshop Series >

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Our team of dedicated professionals can help you understand what options are best for you and how adopting these kinds of technology could help transform the way your processes function. For more information, and for extra support along the way, contact our team.