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Blog September 19, 2019

Overwhelmed by Machine Learning? Don’t Be

Ben Harden
Ben Harden

We live in an era where you probably hear about new technologies and new advanced business tools every single day. It’s awesome. And, it’s overwhelming.

Yes, you want to drive progress and advance the goals of your business, but how do you wade through all the Machine Learning (ML) possibilities to find the digital strategies that best work for you? ML is one tool among many, and within Artificial Intelligence (AI), the options feel almost limitless.

Yes, this technology is world-changing, but what if your employees don’t have any experience with Machine Learning?

Yes, AI can be cool and sophisticated, but is it worth the effort and cost if technologies are continuing to come and go?

37% of businesses have already implemented some form of Artificial Intelligence. We’ve talked about the organizational considerations for Machine Learning from data availability and connectivity to employee skillsets, but when you’re ready to make a move with Machine Learning (perhaps before your competitors do), you must have the right mindset and the right plan.

Here’s How to Get Started with Machine Learning

  • Just Dip in Your Toe – Think less risky experimentation first. You don’t need to come in guns blazing, ready to revolutionize every internal process in one fell swoop. Experiment with use cases that are simpler so that you can test your new methodologies, allowing for your own learning curve. Once you feel comfortable with your new Machine Learning capabilities, then you can think about delivering changes incrementally and larger applications.
  • Recognize Where You Are & What This Means for Your Machine Learning Transition – Shifting to newer technologies is often harder for more established businesses who have their infrastructure and longstanding processes in place. Newer companies, without these hindrances, can often move to embrace new technologies faster because it’s not a matter of rebuilding; it’s simply a matter of creating anew. But this doesn’t mean it’s impossible for larger organizations or that it shouldn’t be done. Your competitors might be old, or your competitors might be new. Everyone is coming from a different place, but no matter where you are, Machine Learning can exponentially expand your possibilities.
  • Embrace the Unexpected – Maybe your data will surprise you, and you’ll realize you need to redirect your efforts. Don’t be afraid to fail, to fail fast, to experiment, to fail again, and through these efforts to discover new things. No predictive model is 100% accurate, so it’s all about what you do with what you get back. As you experiment with new Machine Learning applications, remember these tools are advanced but not something to approach with a set-it-and-forget-it attitude. Learn to challenge your results to both fine-tune them and to push your possibilities further. It is here where the human element is essential in the Machine Learning process.
  • Scale, Support, and Succeed – When you’re ready, the sky’s the limit. Start small, but when you feel like your data is there, connectivity is working as it should be, and your team is up-to-speed, the possibilities of what you can achieve are truly limitless.

What does Machine Learning Look Like in Action?

Machine learning allows a transportation company to use data science for route optimization and delivery success like never before. It enables car insurance companies to rely not just on customer surveys but the tangible recording of a driver’s habits behind the wheel. Machine learning can allow for predictive medical treatment before a problem arises based on a patient’s history, and it can revolutionize the marketing potential of home improvement tools to not just similar customers but to existing customers’ neighbors and friends.

What can it do in your sector? Time will only tell.

The most exciting part of getting started is seeing your new business tools in action. What are you waiting for? (Remember, your competitors probably aren’t waiting. According to a recent Gartner survey, leading organizations are expected to double the number of active AI projects within the next year.)

There’s not a business in the world that couldn’t take advantage of Machine Learning. It’s not a “nice to have”; it’s a new essential. Every industry and every niche is beginning to be impacted by Artificial Intelligence, so it’s up to you whether you want to be part of the disruption or to just feel the effects of the world changing dramatically around you. You have a choice. Don’t let your business fall behind.