While digital transformation has been a key growth concept for startups and SMBs since the mid-2010s, recent leaps forward in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies have been a sharp wake-up call for companies pressing snooze on implementation.
Although strategically dangerous, holding off on implementation is understandable. Aside from the perceived budget requirements, the somewhat bleeding-edge nature of AI and ML makes it difficult to be absolutely confident you’ve got the information needed to conceive a potentially useful or successful application, let alone sign off on the project.
In this quick roadmap guide, we’ll explain what the journey from initial ideas through to presentation of a minimum viable product looks like when you work with a globally trusted Amazon Web Services Advanced Partner like 3Gi - and how implementing the full power of AI and ML in your business could be just days away.
We’re not the only AWS Advanced Partner supporting businesses through digital transformation and AI/ML projects - so you’d be right to wonder why we consider our SMB or start-up roadmap to be the best and most effective.
The answer is simple - it’s proven to work.
We have a rich history of helping start-ups make the right choices around their technology strategy. We’ve also put our money where our mouth is - successfully launching our own cyber management SaaS start-up on AWS. We know the barriers to entry and challenges your business may face because we’ve found our way through them first-hand hundreds of times.
The team at 3Gi is built on a passion for technology and service - and our combined expertise and experience has brought countless AI/ML ideas to successful fruition for SMBs and start-ups across a broad range of industries.
From First Concept to MVP - The Roadmap
The process we’ve developed for taking an AI/ML project from conception to delivery spans 3 full days, broken down into 6 distinct steps.
We call this our Cloud Accelerator Programme - and businesses are generally surprised to discover that it’s completely cost neutral for clients whose digital transformation project will require a $750 monthly spend on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform moving forward.
Here, we’ll take a look at what each of those steps entails - as well as the time investment required for each part of the process.
Step 1: Discovery Call - Exploring Ideas (1 Hour)
If you’re reading this, you’re thinking about what artificial intelligence or machine learning could bring to your business. We can transition into your process at any stage, whether you’ve got fleshed-out ideas about how you could use AI/ML, some work done with another provider, or even if you’re just beginning to be aware of a buzz around AI in your industry and want to make sure you’re keeping pace.
However developed your ideas are, we recommend starting with a ‘discovery’ call. This is a chance for us to get to know your product, the technical capabilities you have in-house or through an external service provider, and your vision for how AI or ML can be deployed and scaled.
At this stage, it’s important not to worry about any absence of ideas. Unless you’re working with AI and machine learning on a day-to-day basis, it’s difficult to truly appreciate what’s possible. This is a chance for our teams to share ideas, drawing on your industry knowledge and our AI/ML knowledge.
Step 2: Consultancy - Developing Ideas (1 Hour)
From a single discovery call, we’ll typically be able to suggest 3-4 different project ideas - outlining how we believe AI/ML can be used to handle data, streamline services, automate processes, enhance manufacture, inform policy creation, support communication, and potentially much, much more.
At this stage, our teams will connect again - talking you through how products could fit into your business and the technology required.
Assuming there’s a product idea that fits with your digital transformation goals, we’ll wrap this stage up by agreeing a target operating model - then begin working towards a proof of concept (POC) or minimum viable product (MVP) delivery.
Step 3: Best Practices - Safeguarding Your Digital Transformation (2 Hours)
AI and ML solutions are almost certainly going to be working hand-in-hand with intellectual property and sensitive data. As such, it’s never too early to think about best practices around security and recovery.
At this stage, we’ll connect again to discuss your existing security, disaster recovery, and data integrity infrastructure and compare it to the best practices and automation we’ve created to develop and streamline these essential factors.
Of course, managing future billing and cost optimisation in cloud-based AI/ML is also a crucial part of any decision-making process. By sharing our extensive knowledge of pricing models, effective resource management and the strategic use of cost-saving practices, we’ll help you to make sure the numbers are also kept in check.
Step 4: Immersion - Aligning Technology and Knowledge (4 Hours)
Embarking on an AI/ML project isn’t just about having the right tools - it’s about making sure your team is fully equipped to use them.
To ensure this is the case, we’ll design a half-day immersion programme specifically designed for your in-house team. The session will focus on relevant technologies that are part of your AI/ML journey and will blend theoretical understanding with hands-on practice.
By creating these bespoke hands-on, immersive labs, your team will be able to apply new skills and understanding in real-time - transforming staff into proficient and agile assets in your digital transformation project.
Step 5: POC Delivery - Bringing Ideas to Life (1 Day)
With ideas developed, proven best practices in place and your team’s knowledge honed, we’ll spend a full day creating a tangible, working model of your AI/ML project within your AWS environment.
We’ll work with you to make sure the proof of concept (POC) or minimum viable product (MVP) that’s delivered aligns perfectly with your digital transformation objectives.
This stage also includes forward thinking about efficacy and scalability of your AI/ML solution. Instead of simply ticking a digital transformation box, the POC or MVP comes with a host of future development ideas - helping you understand what onward steps in your could look like for your business.
Step 6: Well Architectured Framework Review Process (1 Day)
Where prior immersion training was a simulator session, the final step of the process sees your project take flight and focuses on handing over the controls to your team.
To do this, we’ll use AWS’s exceptionally effective “Well Architectured Framework Review” (WAFR). The process looks at key concepts, design principles and structural best practices for running AI/ML workloads in the cloud.
WAFR is the final step in giving your business the confidence to manage your project on a day-to-day basis. Of course, proactive strategies are comprehensively covered too - with mechanisms for regularly evaluating workloads, recognising risks, recording improvements and identifying future developments.
Demonstrating Business Value
Regardless of the excitement and potential surrounding the subject of artificial intelligence and machine learning, AI/ML projects should - like any other business development area - bring value to your company.
This requirement of risk-free proof of value is what makes our Cloud Accelerator Programme so valuable to SMBs and start-ups. With 3Gi’s ability to leverage AWS’s Tech Start-Up support funds, all that’s required is a small investment of time before you have a proof of concept that demonstrates clear business value to your stakeholders.
Get in Touch
If you think there’s scope for an AI/ML project within your business and our proven roadmap feels like it could be a good fit for you and your team, we’d love to talk to you.
Whether an informal chat about whether our Cloud Accelerator Programme would align with your initial AI/ML thoughts - or a press-forward plan to schedule a discovery call as soon as possible, you’ll have to go a long way to find another team with our enthusiasm, drive and passion for supporting your digital transformation.