On Thursday, June 20, I had the privilege of presenting to a group of razor-sharp professionals at The Mill co-working space in downtown Fort Smith. If you’re in the area and haven’t dropped in on them yet, you really should.

(High-powered technology, comfortable co-working locations, and lots of other amenities all start at $100 a month.)

While there, I realized there are a LOT of people implementing AI in their workflows. There is also significant hesitancy at the top to go company-wide with it.

I get that. This is relatively new in the grand scheme of things, and Big Tech doesn’t have the best track record managing our data.

However, your enterprise can move forward with a bit more confidence if you know the right questions to ask. In this post, we’ll be looking at 16 critical questions to ask companies before you let them into your house.

You’ll also notice that there are links within this relatively short post to some Google Docs that I’m working on. Please feel free to follow those through for some related questions on that particular topic.

Okay, let’s roll.

Security and Privacy

  1. How is data secured?
  2. What are your data privacy practices?
    • Understand how the provider handles data privacy and complies with relevant regulations like GDPR, CCPA, etc.
    • Ask if they have any certifications or audits (e.g., SOC 2, ISO 27001) that demonstrate their commitment to data privacy.
  3. How is data deprovisioned and deleted?
    • Clarify the processes in place for data deletion when services are terminated or when specific data is no longer needed.

Compliance and Legal

  1. What compliance standards do you adhere to?
  2. How do you handle data ownership and IP rights?
    • Determine who owns the data and any insights generated by the AI tool.
    • Understand the intellectual property rights associated with the AI models and any customizations.

Performance and Reliability

  1. What are the performance metrics of your AI tools?
    • Ask for metrics such as accuracy, precision, recall, and any other relevant performance indicators.
    • Request case studies or examples of how the AI tool has performed in similar use cases.
  2. How do you ensure reliability and uptime?
    • Inquire about the provider’s service level agreements (SLAs) regarding uptime and reliability.
    • Understand their incident response and resolution processes.

Integration and Implementation

  1. How will the AI tool integrate with our existing systems?
    • Ask about APIs, connectors, and other integration methods.
    • Clarify the level of support provided during the integration process.
  2. What is the implementation timeline and process?
    • Understand the steps involved in implementing the AI tool and the expected timeline.
    • Ask about training and support during the implementation phase.

Support and Maintenance

  1. What support services do you offer?
    • Inquire about the availability of customer support, including hours of operation and response times.
    • Ask if there are dedicated account managers or technical support teams.
  2. How are updates and maintenance handled?

Cost and ROI

  1. What are the costs involved?
    • Get a detailed breakdown of all costs, including initial setup, subscription fees, and any additional charges.
    • Ask about any potential hidden costs.
  2. What ROI can we expect?
    • Request examples or case studies that illustrate the return on investment (ROI) for similar businesses.
    • Discuss how success will be measured and what metrics will be used to evaluate the AI tool’s impact.

Ethical Considerations

  1. How do you address ethical concerns in AI?

Customization and Scalability

  1. Can the AI tool be customized to meet our specific needs?
  2. How scalable is the solution?
    • Discuss how the AI tool can scale with your business as it grows.
    • Ask about the provider’s experience with scaling their solutions for larger operations.

By asking these questions, enterprises like yours can make more informed decisions. This will help ensure the AI tools you do adopt are aligned with your enterprise’s security, compliance, performance, and business goals. Good luck, and please let me know if I can work with your enterprise on safe AI implementation.

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