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  • Writer's pictureOliver Nowak

Sample AI Maturity Journey in Plain English

As I mentioned in a previous article, AI is here to stay and it won't be long before it's as ubiquitous as cloud technology. But the magnitude of the journey can't be underestimated. It is a journey of transformation, not a plug-and-play upgrade. As businesses start to integrate and apply AI, understanding the different stages of AI maturity is going to be crucial. In this article I aim to outline what a sample AI maturity journey looks like in as simple terms as possible.

Foundational Stage: Recognition of AI’s Potential

Most organisations are at this stage. They know of AI, but it hasn't fully dawned on them exactly how it's going to impact their industry, and impact their organisation more specifically. If this is you, it's about building awareness, setting reasonable expectations, and laying the groundwork for developing a data-driven culture. At this point, the most important thing is educating yourself by demystifying what AI means to you and your organisation. Stay grounded and think about how you can practically apply the technology into your day-to-day operations.

Approaching Stage: Preparing for the Future

As organisations move to the approaching stage, they start to align AI with strategic goals. Tell-tale signs to look out for are characteristics like excitement growing around AI, with specific use cases starting to crop up more and more. Here, the emphasis shifts towards practical experimentation and setting the stage for more complex AI integrations. For fear of sounding boring already, organisations should concentrate on data more than anything else.

Aspirational Stage: Experimentation and Application

Aspirational businesses have already dipped their toes into AI waters. With higher digitalisation and a strong desire for innovating existing business models, experimentation is rife. The focus is on leveraging AI to drive business transformation, requiring a balance between ambition and operational capability. At this stage, the value of AI as a transformational technology is clear but there's concern over losing control. Significant investments are now made to set a dedicated business-wide vision and strategy for AI.

Mature Stage: AI as a Strategic Differentiator

At the mature stage, AI is no longer a novelty but a core element of the business strategy. These organisations exhibit a deep understanding of how to harness the potential of AI while establishing clear governance and control guardrails. In particular, a robust data architecture. The culture has evolved to embrace continuous learning and agile experimentation. Mature businesses lead the way in ethical AI practices and leverage AI not just for operational efficiency but as a strategic differentiator in the marketplace.

Navigating Your Own AI Journey

At the end of the day, every stage of the AI maturity model offers unique challenges and opportunities, and no two AI journeys are going to look the same. With this in mind, it has to start with understanding your business and your industry first. Where can AI add the most value whilst remaining a sustainable solution as you business continues to evolve? I'm not trying to put you off! All I'm saying is embrace the journey but remain vigilant with a commitment to strategic alignment and data governance. Be patient, and don't run before you can walk.

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