There’s a lot of buzz about artificial intelligence (AI) and the many benefits it offers to the organizations that use it. Most recently, AI has been leveraged in the healthcare industry in response to the global pandemic for mapping, to accelerate diagnoses, and to predict health outcomes. Although the technology is not brand-new (it has been around since the 1950s), the concept of AI still feels inaccessible to many.
However, the truth is that most people interact with AI on a regular basis without even realizing it. If you have ever shopped on Amazon, you have interacted with AI. The question is, how can you make AI more accessible to your organization? Most companies don’t have in-house AI expertise, but that doesn’t mean the technology is off-limits. AI consulting is a low-risk way to dip your toe into the waters of artificial intelligence.
What Is an AI Consultant?
An AI consultant is an individual or organization with expertise in artificial intelligence. They might provide advisory services, end-to-end development, or both. Advisory services are centered around helping you determine whether AI is the right fit for your organization, integrating AI into your existing software solutions, and evaluating the performance of any existing AI systems. End-to-end development, which is more hands-on, includes consulting activities from proof of concept to deployment and maintenance, and everything in between.
In addition to providing guidance, AI consultants can also do the work required to get your AI project off the ground, including setting up the infrastructure, creating models, implementing workflows, and handling all the data.
When Do You Need an AI Consultant?
Ideally, an AI consultant is involved in your AI project from start to finish, but in reality, this isn’t always the case. It is not uncommon for an organization to start an AI project on its own, only to realize that it’s not as simple as they expected it to be. One survey showed that 25 percent of the companies that use AI have reported up to a 50 percent failure rate. The reasons behind these failures include lack of skilled staff and unrealistic expectations.
Outsourcing can help eliminate both of these challenges by bringing skilled resources to the table and setting realistic expectations from the outset to increase success rates of AI projects.
An AI consultant can provide guidance at any stage of your AI project, whether you are starting from square one or have already implemented a solution and are not sure why it’s not working as expected. The scope of AI consulting can vary depending on your specific needs.
For example, at one end of the spectrum, you might notice a gap in your in-house data analysis expertise and need a data scientist to join the team for a defined period of time. At the other end of the spectrum, you might want to hire an entire team to integrate AI into various organizational processes.
Of course, there are countless scenarios between these two extremes, and an AI consultant can help you determine the scope of work that will be most beneficial to your project. It is important to remember that AI consulting is not just limited to writing machine learning code and the other technical aspects of a project. It encompasses all the ancillary services that make an AI project successful—monitoring, data management, feature engineering, infrastructure setup, and so on.
Some examples of when you might want to bring an AI consultant onboard include:
- Goal setting for an AI project
- Cleaning up your training data
- Labeling or annotating data
- Deploying models and MLOps
- Retraining your data models
- Maintaining your data models
- Expanding your AI solutions after a successful pilot project
- Integrating AI with other solutions
- Executing an AI project from start to finish
What Are the Benefits of Hiring an AI Consultant?
Perhaps the No. 1 reason to hire an AI consultant is to increase the likelihood of success. An Alegion survey showed that almost 80 percent of AI projects never get fully deployed. The majority of respondents said that training AI was more challenging than they expected. Most of them also tried to label training data on their own, and 63 percent tried to build their own labeling technology. Ultimately, 71 percent of respondents ended up outsourcing training data and other aspects of their machine learning projects. Had they started with a qualified consultant from the beginning, they could have saved money and completed their projects faster.
Some of the benefits of hiring an AI consultant include the following.
AI consultants have completed numerous projects and have the expertise to ensure that yours goes smoothly. Whereas your in-house team might have a steep learning curve for executing an AI project, consultants already know the best practices and processes that will keep your project on time and on budget.
Outsourcing can be more cost-effective than hiring employees, especially in the competitive AI marketplace. With AI consulting, you only pay for what you need, whether it’s a data scientist to supplement your team for a few months or a dedicated team that can implement your project without the distraction of other tasks.
AI consultants have the benefit of being exposed to a broad range of industries, including e-commerce, healthcare, banking, insurance, and so on. When you hire an AI consultant, you can look for an individual or organization that has worked in your field before, so they bring targeted expertise to the table.
New, Innovative Ideas
Because they typically have broader and deeper experience than an in-house team, AI consultants often suggest solutions you didn’t even know existed. They can leverage their experience solving other types of problems to make your AI project as successful as possible.
In-House vs. Outsourcing AI Consulting
It is not safe to assume that your in-house software development team has the necessary skill set for AI development. AI projects require specialized expertise, including data science, data analysis, data labeling, and machine learning ops. Hiring for AI skills can also be expensive, especially in the US market. When you outsource, you get more work for less, and you don’t have the burden of additional overhead costs and long-term hires to implement the AI solutions that will help you grow your business.
How Skyl Can Help
The Skyl.ai platform is designed to help you solve specific problems related to unstructured data using computer vision and natural language processing, but these are not the only aspects of AI that can help you grow your business. Whether you choose to use the Skyl.ai platform or need support for another type of AI platform or project, we’ll help you execute AI projects on time and on budget.
Skyl.ai employs the best data scientists, data analysts, QA experts, developers, and engineering experts to help you with any type of AI solution. Our onshore/offshore model with experts both in the US and around the world allows us to deliver services at an optimized cost so you can get the most from your investment.
If you don’t already have a solution in place and your AI project is based on unstructured data, we’ll use the Skyl.ai platform. However, our team has expertise in all of the commonly used AI platforms, so you don’t have to be on our platform to engage us for AI consulting. Our service offering includes:
- AI adoption assessment
- AI systems integration
- AI performance evaluation
End-to-end development services:
- Proof of concept development
- Production pilot
- AI-enabled software development
- AI model and application integration
- Extended teams for AI and ML projects
- Machine learning ops
- Data management
If you’re just getting started with machine learning, even a small project can feel overwhelming. No matter what type of data you have or what type of outcomes you’re seeking, Skyl.ai’s AI consultants have the expertise you need to make your AI project a success. We’re always here to help, but if you want a handy reference, download our free machine learning cheat sheet.