Transforming operations with AI: Drinking our own Champagne

13 June 2024 04:07 PM By Ray

AI is integral to our own business strategy, enhancing meetings, document discovery, and routine processes. Successful AI integration not only benefits our operations but also equips us to guide clients through their own AI transformations, ensuring significant efficiency gains. 

It is not uncommon for companies providing a service to excel in delivering their services to customers, but falter in applying the same standards to their own operations. This is often encapsulated in phrases like “the builder’s house is always in need of repair.” In the tech industry, the term for using one’s own products is “dogfooding,” but we prefer the concept of “drinking our own wine.”

While our primary focus is not exclusively on AI, we firmly believe that a strategic approach to AI must be an integral part of any organisation’s digital strategy. Hence, we have committed ourselves to putting our principles to the test.

I have been discussing the impending impact of AI for quite some time—long before it became a mainstream topic. For a retrospective on my thoughts, you can refer to these past blogs here and here.

We have moved way beyond mere speculation on this subject. Those who attended our recent webinar would have heard the phrase, “the future is here; it’s just not evenly distributed.” For the first time, we are truly able to liberate our thinking from the constraints of what can and cannot be achieved. AI offers nearly limitless potential for efficiency and productivity gains. We can choose to ignore its potential, but we understand that doing so risks being outpaced by those who embrace it.

Below is a brief summary of our journey thus far. Stay tuned for more updates as we continue our journey into the future.

Meetings are a vital component of our consultancy work. Clients often provide detailed and insightful information verbally, in both one-on-one and group settings. Capturing the nuances of these conversations is challenging, as anyone in this line of work knows. For years, we relied on traditional note-taking methods and high-tech tools like post-it notes and electronic versions such as Miro.

However, utilising large language models to interpret meeting recordings has proven incredibly useful. While verbatim transcription remains imperfect, this is not the critical aspect. Human speech is riddled with “ums” and “ers,” repeated words or phrases, incomplete sentences, and false starts. We overlook these “disfluencies” when listening, and a good AI tool does the same. Numerous tools excel at interpreting the essence of conversations, though one must be wary of “hallucinations.” For instance, one of our team members, Angela, was often misinterpreted as “Agile” by our voice recording AI until we retrained it.

Overall, the use of LLMs for audio recordings has significantly expedited our analysis process and arguably improved its quality, although this is harder to quantify. Ideas are retained, documentation is thorough (crucial over time as memories fade), and follow-ups are efficient and detailed.

Document discovery
Workshops and collaborative sessions generate a wealth of documents and insights. Sifting through these to find relevant information can be time-consuming. Our early adoption of AI for document discovery has already shown the capability to rapidly analyse and synthesise various document formats. This not only speeds up the process but also allows our advisors to focus on high-value tasks like analysis and strategy development, rather than spending hours on document review. The result is a more efficient workflow and quicker delivery of insights to our clients.

Automating routine processes
Many tasks that were once manual and repetitive are now automated, freeing up valuable time for our staff to engage in more strategic activities. For example, achieving a zero-inbox has become a reality for many of us. Employing smart techniques to curate and organise email streams eliminates the chore of sorting inboxes and searching for missed items. We now often find ourselves responding to an AI version of the classic Executive Assistant’s prompt, “Excuse me, boss, you may have noticed that...”

Our gain is your gain
The implementation of AI across our operations has led to significant efficiency gains. By leveraging AI for meetings, document discovery, and process automation, we have streamlined our workflows and enhanced our productivity. These improvements have enabled us to deliver faster, more accurate, and higher-quality services to our clients.

While we take pride in our internal successes with AI, the broader implication is clear: these advancements are not confined to our own operations. The methodologies and technologies we have employed can be tailored and implemented to meet the unique needs of any organisation. Our experience positions us perfectly to guide our clients through their own AI transformation journeys, helping them achieve similar, if not greater, efficiency gains.

And we are only just beginning. We have commissioned work that will take us to the next level of sophistication, further enhancing our capabilities over the next six to twelve months.

As mentioned earlier, the future is here. We are working to better distribute it within our organisation for our benefit, but also to lead by example. AI is not just a tool for the future; it is a vital component of modern business strategy. As we continue to innovate and refine our processes, we remain committed to helping our clients unlock the full potential of AI in their own operations.

Ray Delany
Founder, CIO Studio