Expectations of increased efficiency, profitability, and enhanced customer experience have brought you to the decision that now is the right time to begin taking advantage of AI/ Machine Learning (ML).
Where to begin? We are here to help and ensure your success in taking this exciting step.
The good news is that it has never been easier and more affordable to get the benefits of these advanced analytic approaches. Of course, there are numerous factors to consider when choosing an AutoML platform that is right for your organization, especially with the state of AutoML ever-changing and with new options available almost monthly. The better news is that we are here to share our experience to help ensure your success in taking this exciting step.
Lityx has been in the advanced analytics and machine learning business for more than a decade, and as the developers of the leading LityxIQ AutoML platform (and one of the first on the market), we are not completely unbiased. But the experience gained working with organizations of all types has led us to identify three critical areas that you must have a handle on before making a platform decision:
1. Ease-of use for those of varying experience and skill levels from across the organization
The decision to add AI and machine learning capabilities is, of course, based on a set of anticipated outcomes that can positively impact your business. However, if your new AutoML platform is overly complicated for the average team member, then efficiency, adoption and results will falter.
When exploring your AutoML platform options, we recommend getting answers to a few key questions from those platforms you are considering:
- How easily can the average user begin to see value from the platform? Every member of your team has value to offer therefore the platform must be easy to engage with from the outset — across the entire team.
- Is it possible to run a Proof of Concept (POC) with the new platform before committing to a long-term contract? Utilizing your own data and directly addressing needs important to your team BEFORE you lock-in a long-term agreement creates an ideal pathway to understanding the usability and potential of any new platform, while also providing an opportunity to gain executive buy-in during your decision-making process.
- What user experience levels does the platform require and for which tasks? Yes, the platform should satisfy the needs of experienced model builders and Data Scientists, but it should also allow for engagement and increased efficiency for the less experienced team member.
Ultimately a platform that is easy to use for all members of your analytics team (including Business Analysts and Data Scientists) required to achieve the greatest analytics efficiency. A platform that is not utilized and languishes is a missed opportunity to drive desired results.
2. Availability of expert services, training, and support
How long will it take to begin to see real value from my new AutoML platform?
There are many examples of organizations failing to adopt a new platform and there are many reasons for the failure. Our experience shows that success is best achieved following a roadmap that includes expert training to ensure a positive launch and Customer Success support to drive results and team adoption.
While many platforms offer some variation of the above, it is important to understand the level of expertise and associated industry experience offered. For example, collaborating with a team of highly experienced Data Scientists to conduct a POC on an important internal or client need can lead to discovering new approaches or better avenues to achieve success while also getting to test-drive the new platform.
With onboarding and training, the goal is for your organization to achieve a higher level of efficiency and strong working knowledge of the platform and its capabilities. Too often, training is merely a box that is checked at the outset without regard to actual impact on the team and the organization.
Finally, while it may be that you have team members who have been delivering analytics for your organization for some time, it is also important to recognize that you may lack a full complement of analysts given the challenges with hiring and retaining talent. Be sure to clarify a platform vendor’s ability to fill the expertise void on a limited basis if not for an extended period. Often, managed services at the outset can have a tremendous impact on successful adoption as the additional resources can drive early successes while enhancing the overall training and abilities of your in-house team.
3. ROI and cost considerations
Of course, cost is always an important factor. Some key factors that impact platform cost include seat licenses versus an organizational license, usage volume and associated server requirements, user base and product update cycles. We believe it should be viewed in two parts:
- First, will you be able to achieve value that offsets the investment and, if so, how much can you project?
- Second, is the cost basically a fixed cost or will it substantially increase on a regular basis including the purchase of additional add-on products or services?
Regarding an AutoML platform’s impact on your business, we have consistently seen returns on investment that far exceeds the total cost of the license and any services – with 10x or even 50x being achievable, depending on the problems/needs being addressed at your organization. For example, an international process manufacturer is achieving more than $10 million in previously unrealized revenue less than a year after adopting a new AutoML platform (LityxIQ in this case).
A key to managing the cost is to understand what you are paying for from the outset. Are you purchasing a single license based on the needs projected or is the vendor offering only a seat license with increasing price points? This is another place where following a roadmap is important. Often, a POC phase allows for both vendor and adopting organization to fine-tune cost expectations including gaining an understanding of any discounts being offered as well as the extra value inherent in multi-year contracts.
Good luck to you as you move toward your AutoML future. Our team here at LityxIQ always welcomes conversations with those in the process of moving to a new platform so just reach out and we can discuss your situation. You might also enjoy this video featuring Bill Sandblom, Chief Information Officer at IGI International and his journey toward adopting AutoML.