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3 Steps Before You Explore Artificial Intelligence Technology

3 Steps Before You Explore Artificial Intelligence Technology

Artificial intelligence is exploding across industries right now. Research indicates the market for AI could grow from $40 billion in 2022 to $1.3 trillion by 2032 — a compound annual rate of 42%.

Today, AI is finding use in banking and financial services, education, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, and a host of other industries. It has the power to solve real-world problems in the supply chain, logistics, and transportation space, but there’s just one problem: There’s far more AI hype than reality in the industry right now.

At Optimal Dynamics, we’re changing that with our Artificial Decision Intelligence platform that empowers enterprise trucking companies to make the best decisions, drive more revenue, and grow their margins. To assist companies that are interested in exploring AI as a solution to their day-to-day challenges, we’ve outlined three steps to take before you start your search for a vendor. 

After exploring the three steps below, move to the next stage by downloading our ebook on the seven questions to ask vendors as you search for AI-powered technology.

Step 1: Understand AI Hype vs. Reality

The launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in November 2022 started a months-long artificial intelligence frenzy. At first, businesses and consumers alike bought into AI as a tool that would transform operations and lives. Halfway through 2024, few vendors have been able to create value for the organizations they serve. That disconnect has led to some disappointment and a sense that AI’s “hype doesn’t always match reality.”

This gap between expectations and AI performance is the result of a simple issue: Most AI technologies aren’t designed to solve the unique and specific problems and challenges of their target markets. This issue was central to the conversation at McLeod’s first-ever AI conference earlier this year.

At Optimal Dynamics, we took a different approach by designing a platform that uses AI to solve everyday problems for enterprise trucking companies: automating the best driver and freight matches, increasing revenue without increasing fleet size, filling network gaps with optimal spot freight, and more. Unfortunately, this approach is the exception rather than the rule as some vendors incorporate AI without much direction or experience. Conversely, the Optimal Dynamics platform used by trucking companies today is the result of 40-plus years of extensive research using mathematical concepts to solve complex logistics problems within the transportation industry.

Because of the persistent gap between AI’s promise and what’s available in today’s technologies, it’s important to discern between AI hype and reality before exploring AI technologies.

Step 2: Outline the Problem to Be Solved

In a recent webinar, Optimal Dynamics CEO Daniel Powell discussed AI as a set of “math tools to solve specific problems.” A lack of specificity contributes to the widespread AI hype that fails to match reality today. To avoid the hype and find the reality, it’s important that you articulate the specific problem your organization needs to solve.

The trucking industry has no shortage of problems that require solutions in the modern age. With a so-called freight recession lingering into 2024, rates are lower and margins tighter than ever before. To survive and thrive, trucking companies need to maximize revenue per truck and empower their team members to work efficiently and accomplish more than ever before. Our planning, bidding, and executing solutions are carefully designed to apply Artificial Decision Intelligence to solve those specific problems.

When you can fully describe the organizational problems that AI is uniquely suited to solve, you’re better prepared to begin your search for the right tech vendor. Our ebook on the seven questions to ask AI technology vendors goes deeper into outlining the problems you need to solve — and asking vendors how they specifically solve those problems. Download the ebook here.

Step 3: Clean Your Data

No matter where you are in the exploration of AI technology, focus on cleaning and standardizing your data so that you enjoy the best possible results. This is true for all organizations, from those that can’t afford to make investments in technology right now but expect to in the future all the way to organizations that think they’re ready to start shopping.

As Optimal Dynamics CEO Daniel Powell said on the recent webinar, “Start thinking about how you’re entering data. Start thinking about how your operators are putting information in the comments fields versus updating your driver or facility hours or the pickup appointments. The better the data that goes into a system, the higher adoption and adherence levels will be, and that yields a bigger, faster business impact.”

Doug Schrier from McLeod, an Optimal Dynamics partner, said that his team always emphasizes “clean and good data and being able to connect to that data in near real-time” when talking to prospective customers. Without clean data, getting optimal results from AI technology is nearly impossible.

If you implement AI tech without good and clean data, you risk:

  • Less-than-optimized decision-making.
  • Longer implementation periods.
  • A smaller or longer return on your investment in technology.

The opposite is also true. When you take the time to clean your data before implementing new technology, your team is poised to make better decisions, you spend less time on implementation, and you maximize your ROI. Our ebook on questions to ask AI technology vendors goes into detail on how to start preparing. Download it here.

Ask the Right Questions as You Search for AI Tech

These three steps are just the beginning of your journey toward AI-powered technology that solves real problems for your organization. As you talk to vendors, make sure you’re asking the right questions so that you ultimately choose the best option for your business.

We’ve written an ebook that explores the questions any business should ask when meeting with vendors and considering different technology options. Download the ebook here, and get in touch with us if you have any questions about securing the best solutions for your business.

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