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7 Strategic Tips for Startup CMOs to Stay on Top

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Abeer Raza


We all are in a race, striving to get ahead of everyone and anyone. Sometimes, we invent new strategies to propel ourselves further, and we mostly rely on proven tactics to improve our scores.

Who Bears the Heaviest Responsibility in Your Startup to Stay on Top?

In this rat race of acquiring growth — Chief Marketers Officers (CMOs) are the ones who bear the most burden, which eventually cascades down the hierarchy. Marketing has never been an easy job, but since the latest startup boom, SEO and Marketing have become even more challenging.

Today, startups are looking for competent individuals for their teams (read rocket ships) to drive growth at insane rates. While this strategy might work out sometimes, it becomes hectic eventually and burns out team members – resulting in unwanted performance lapses.

Retain and Build a Clear Vision in Strategic Planning

To mitigate the threats before the building begins to tremble — CMOs need a clear and focused strategic plan.

Strategic plans differ significantly – depending on the industry, consumer behavior, or nature of the business. Here are 7 strategic tips for contemporary CMOs to stay on top of their game.

1. Synergize your growth strategy

Synergizing your growth strategy is pretty straightforward when the goals are clear, and the pathway is defined. However, this is often not the case. Companies that shout culture at every intersection must learn to ideate better and implement strategies to direct efforts in a uniform direction.

At the end of the day, the task is to drive sustainable growth, ensure customer contentment and allow the champion narrative to reflect on the actions.

Every company asks for new channels to utilize and grow, but many lack alignment – which usually plays a critical role in a company’s success.

Chief Marketing Officers are the bearers of the responsibility of driving growth. They must understand marketing’s contribution from a broader perspective and develop the necessary strategic vision to excel beyond imagination.

Furthermore, aligning your efforts alone won’t cut it. The ability to turn customer insights into valuable products or services is among the top traits of marketers, as per a study; it must be suitably channeled for the utmost benefit. There needs to be proper identification of market gaps which should then be mapped through pertinent insights to make them useful.

2. Strengthen your brand’s image

In the current market, one of many requirements for a brand to take the lead is through its image, vision, and voice. CMOs are responsible for carrying the brand’s vision forward, portraying it to its merit, and ideating to perfection. A brand’s projection is merely not a means to capture eyes but the medium to complement marketing goals with subtlety.

Although it is not feasible to expect growth through brand management – CMOs need to direct energy in the correct direction and work in unison to improve brand awareness, enhance engagement metrics, uplift consumer experience standards and deliver to the actual cause of the brand.

For a brand, you cannot ever say if the efforts suffice. Certain challenges and risks may hinder the seamless process. For that, the brand management team and CMOs must ideate and implement a strategy to categorically inject a series of activities that drive results through set KPIs.

Many early-age brands blunder with their messaging and voice, which, in the long-term, adversely affects them. For that, brands are usually asked to navigate various approaches to understand their audiences and adjust their campaigns accordingly.

3. Adjust to changing consumer demands

Modern brands must be on their toes, ready to accept and adapt to changing consumer demands. Today, consumer behavior is significantly impacted by surrounding events, and to address the shifting behavioral trends – CMOs need to craft flexible procedures that are easy to get in and out of.

One way to cater to the changing needs is by creating audience-centric content that educates and assists the users in becoming customers during the complete customer lifecycle. Though, no matter if the conversion pipeline is inefficient, the customer-focused approach will see you home.

Moreover, conversion chances skyrocket when marketing and sales efforts align and target the right audience simultaneously. The data collected also plays a vital role in identifying the critical pain points and results in more likely outcomes.

Also, strategic planning aids in mitigating potential threats and supplements building processes that are more personalized and make your users feel at ease. In addition, creating promotions at the right time can act as a much-needed catalyst for any CMO.

4. Leverage the latest technology

Where we stand today is all because technology has enabled us to propel ourselves forward and build solutions that provide end-to-end coverage and resolve all the underlying issues. All CMOs should know that without accepting the change and leveraging technological advancement, they won’t stand a chance.

But not only CMOs should be spearheading the initiative. It is the responsibility of the top brass to acknowledge and understand the market needs and map their services and products to ensure customers get the technology-enabled solutions that genuinely add value to their lives.

The role of Chief Marketing Officers has become increasingly complex, so much so that everyone sees marketing as the sole revenue driver – which must enable CMOs to start looking at the factors that might come in handy. When all the technical measures are in place and the systems begin to function together, favorable outcomes usually become a reality.

While it may not be as easy and seamless as it sounds, putting the effort in the right direction through the appropriate technology stack can do wonders.

5. Optimize content strategy

Optimizing a content strategy is of utmost importance in the broader scheme of things, which often gets overshadowed by some other glittery techniques. Optimizing a content strategy is significant for growth metrics. When CMOs work for exponential growth, they must optimize their content production process.

It may involve strategizing and addressing the right audience, keeping a balance between educating and promoting, partnering with other internal and external channels and initiatives to extend the reach, and creating transparent processes to accomplish goals.

At this point, it is noteworthy that in startups, CMOs are the ones that must be leading the content distribution, addressing content gaps, and pouring in to enhance operations. The digital marketing domain relies heavily on content to achieve its targets; hence, it must not be brushed under the carpet.

Startup progress and its positioning is usually an essential factor in driving revenue, and when content portrays a lucrative picture, there is no way it can go wrong. Communicating with key stakeholders and customers sets an initial impression which helps in the long term.

6. Enhance traceability & measurement

CMOs can do everything in the world, launch the fanciest campaigns and fail to leave a mark if they don’t measure their efforts. Today’s marketing is all about data – whether the insights tell you the buying pattern or enrich you regarding the priority shifts – data tells you all.

Cosmetically, numerous tools are available that process data to produce valuable insights and graphs and churn out spectacular numbers. But these will be no good if they don’t see the linkage with marketing or business goals.

Knowing your small steps and planning them strategically and based on data findings can be more helpful than dedicating resources without proper accountability.

CMOs must always be aware of the ground realities so that they can make decisions that are realistic and will drive practical results. Based on what you are trying to achieve, performance parameters or key performance indicators (KPIs) must be established to remain informed.

7. Provide context and make sense

People tend to catch pace with you and align with your vision when they understand what you are trying to achieve. Whatever your plans, keeping your team in the shadows and not providing the complete picture would never help in the long run.

Providing context and going beyond a vague idea regarding a decision will enable others to join you in your journey.

This way, they will realize your expertise by having trust in the leadership and begin to foresee the long-term results and put more diligent efforts into attaining the objectives. It will make sense even if you restructure, define new hierarchies, and build newer roles.

Now when you are working from up above, you cannot always make sense, and not everyone can understand your position. Still, as a Chief Marketing Officer, you must be strategically leading the marketing efforts as well as ensuring that the team is putting in an equal amount of effort to materialize the end goals.

Takeaway

The 21st century has made the Chief Marketing Officer role more demanding and complex. The fierce competition globally has pushed them to be on their toes all the time and execute plans that drive revenue.

CMOs, in most organizations, are involved in strategizing future steps and finalizing goals. In this piece, I have tried to tap the most important factors contributing to a startup’s growth involving CMOs.

These steps will enable Chief Marketers to stay ahead and deliver more than expected. Given the current financial turmoil, pushing boundaries and adapting to efficient practices are all that the startups require.

Featured Image Credit: Mario Gogh; Unsplash; Thank you!

Abeer Raza

Founding Partner

A Serial Entrepreneur, Author, Growth Hacker, Business Consultant and Keynote Speaker.
I’m on a mission to revolutionize the world by helping other entrepreneurs disrupt their domains using emerging technology solutions. I enjoy guiding today’s leaders and revolutionary thinkers by making sure their visions are brought to life in the most effective way possible.

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The Power of Human Touch in Software Development and AI Environments

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Igor Bergman


Necessity is the mother of invention — a principle that has defined technological advancement and design for generations. We innovate and create new products, services, and processes based on human needs that arise. Just as these needs evolve with each generation, so too must the way we approach the innovation required to address them, and that requires a human touch in software development.

Digitalization Driving Productivity and Collaboration

In today’s era of digitalization, companies are turning to new technologies, specifically software applications, to drive efficiency, productivity, lowered costs, and smarter collaboration. As the adoption of digital transformation has increased, so has the number of software solutions enabling and supporting it.

Companies are looking to software developers for new ways to integrate technology. Operations demand process automation, improved communications, and the delivery of more value to their customers.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been an influential part of this progression and an enabler for many capabilities today; however, we must exercise restraint in relying too much on technology alone to reach business goals.

Restraint With AI Makes Better Sense Today

There’s power in the human touch that can set the stage for meaningful transformation when embraced during the software development process. As we continue to integrate digital technology into nearly every facet of work and life, we need intelligent software design to incorporate more of the human experience to thrive.

The key is finding a measured balance between purpose-driven software design and human touch and understanding how to execute this collaboration successfully and ethically.

AI’s Role in the Consumerization of Software

Historically, enterprise software was initially designed with a particular persona and a very specific set of requirements in mind. As a result, it was built to serve simply as a tool with no focus on the user’s experience, behavior, or even the potential ability of the user to change behaviors.

For example, if a person were using a software program to search for fruit, that software would need to be coded to show each specific fruit. Then, if a user searched for a peach, the software would display a peach. If they wanted to search for an orange instead, the software would need to be hard-coded to show an orange. This is a very cut-and-dry process leaves little room for interpretation.

Software Designed to Consider User’s Behavior

Today, AI-powered software is designed with realistic human values in mind, defining a set of user stories and use cases that proactively adjust to potential user behavior, with a strict focus on providing and maximizing end-user value and experience. Explained differently, rather than designing software around who a user is or what they do, the software is designed to consider the user’s behavior and the value the product can provide for an optimum user experience.

Revisiting the example above, if a user in Florida is seeking “fruit,” the initial result the software is likely to show them would be an orange. Alternatively, if the user lives in Georgia, it would likely show them a peach — since these fruits are indigenous to their respective regions.

Software Built With Human Touch Provides an Experience

In this example, the software was built to look for an outcome and design an experience that considers several factors to present the most likely desired result. This is how AI algorithms are used to design an environment meant to improve the customer experience by anticipating needs based on trends. This is also how software developers automate an experience.

Several different inputs are analyzed to the point where an assumption can be made based on a person’s behavior over time. Content is then populated, or an action taken that the program deems would be most useful for that person, all in the name of improving the user experience. But what if the person in Florida doesn’t like oranges and the person in Georgia doesn’t like peaches? This is where the human touch comes into play

Finding the Ethical Balance Between Smart Personalization and Human Privacy

AI algorithms require and collect personal user data to customize the experience in a unique and valuable way for a specific user. However, they can sometimes be too rigid when analyzing only the data without considering personal preference, free will, or choice.

AI alone, without any oversight, can also go too far, as there’s a fine line between personalization and privacy, and AI can’t make the distinction on its own. A human developer addresses this issue by providing the guardrails necessary to ensure ethical design and desired behavior while also incorporating the flexibility needed to give users a greater sense of choice.

How Do You Protect Your Customers?

Software must be built so the user can determine what data they want to provide to improve their life or minimize evasiveness. On the front end, as software is being designed, developers can build flexible architecture with certain constraints in mind to provide an ethical and secure framework around how the AI algorithm works. This allows users to define where the line is or how much personal data they allow into the architecture or the cloud.

Ultimately, users want AI to optimize the tasks they need to perform but don’t want the AI to make decisions for them without approval. This idea of choice is another critical element of why the human touch is so imperative in the development process, even as the industry has sought faster and more efficient ways of writing software programs.

The Artistry of Software Engineering From the Human Touch

As a means of automating code writing, code generators were introduced several decades ago to quickly write new code and get applications to market faster. Requiring minimal human intervention, the developer would simply set what it needed the app to do, and then code was generated for that specific purpose. It was easy to write code that would solve a particular problem and take the user from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible.

However, the lack of human touch is the issue with this model. There’s no consideration for the user experience or innovation that excites and delights; the software is simply working to solve the problem without room for interpretation. Alternatively, the human coder can push boundaries and determine how to interpret the user requirements to decide the best path between the two points.

Flexible Code Environments Make Efficient Programming

For example, if a program were coded to simply draw a tree, a code generator would produce the same tree over and over with no differentiation in color, leaf type, size, etc. There would be no artistry behind it, and users wouldn’t have the ability to choose from various tree designs. Instead, they’d have to accept the tree the generator produced. But when an engineer has the ability to integrate their personal touch, the artistry of software design is unveiled, and the experience becomes something very different.

Today, our industry has evolved even further, and low-code/no-code environments have emerged as the next generation of modern and efficient programming. Developers can now quickly build the foundation of a program from existing services and functions that have already been written by other coders, easily defining the path the user takes to get from point A to B.

This type of coding is a much more flexible way of designing software that allows engineers to adopt the preferences of the end-user and change functions as the end user changes. However, the various functions are still being coded by an individual and, thus, are constrained to the preferences of that person.

Reusable Templates Boost Productivity

So, to revisit the previous “tree” example, software developer A designs a single tree which developer B can now take and, in about the same amount of time as it took to create just one original tree, reuses as a copy over and over but in different ways.

Several copies can be placed side by side to depict a forest, or a single copy can be placed in front of an abandoned building or on a deserted island to create different applications entirely. However, because they’re all using the same original tree design, all of the trees in each environment still look the same — the artistry is limited to that of the person who originally designed the tree.

Decide and Improve the End Product to Customize

Where the human element comes into play is when the software engineer can have the ability to decide how they want their tree to look and can add features along the entire design process to augment it.

Then, the next engineer can come in and change or improve it to meet the needs of their users, and so on. Now, instead of one tree that everyone has to use repeatedly in different ways, there are hundreds of different trees that all came from the same initial version but have been customized and improved upon.

How Does AI Build a Tree?

If we relied on AI to build the perfect tree, it would calculate only one way to do so, but what if you don’t like it? It’s no longer perfect for you. So, rather than relying on AI completely, developers can choose how to embed AI capabilities into their programs to drive the best customer experience.

These AI integrations have to be customized to fit the environment, however, and this requires an actual engineer to be part of the process, which ensures the human element is preserved.

Ultimately, software engineers have to find the right balance of enabling smarter technology that can proactively anticipate and solve our problems while also ensuring end users have the ability to exercise their right to choose and decide what’s right for them based on the facts presented.

Human Touch at the Heart of Modern Software Design

No longer are software solutions built for a single defined purpose. Instead, they are built to learn and evolve based on the creativity, artistry, and ethics of the human touch. As emerging technologies have helped enable modern innovation with unprecedented speed, and invention can now be born out of demand and pursuit of progress rather than out of necessity.

As AI continues to be integrated into the software development process, the human touch will play an integral role in teaching the software how to adapt to each user’s needs, values, behavior, and privacy priorities.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels; Thank you!

Igor Bergman

A Software and Cloud transformation engineering and product leader, Igor Bergman has extensive experience in software businesses, product management, startups, and business development. He is currently heading Lenovo’s $750M Global Software and Cloud business unit.

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5 Ways to Find Balance at a Startup

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Startup founders and employees find that achieving work-life balance can be challenging. 43% of entrepreneurs agree that work-life balance is one of their biggest challenges. As the start-up grows, demands will also grow. Founders and employees need constant motivation and fresh ideas to keep up.

As challenging as a good work-life balance is to achieve, it is very important for your personal and professional lives. It can be as important as a business plan for your startup. This article gives a better understanding of work-life balance, what it means, and why it is important. It also highlights a few ways to find work-life balance at a startup.

work life balance office setting

Work-life balance meaning

So what is work-life balance all about? In simple words, the term work-life balance is about how you manage your time between work and outside of work. It gives you the flexibility to get things done in your professional life while still having time and energy to enjoy your personal life.

There is no perfect work-life balance template to follow. We are all different, and so what a healthy work-life balance looks like will differ between us. However, the primary goal of a better balance is that you should have a greater sense of well-being and lead a better quality of life.

Why work-life balance is important

Work-life balance is important for many reasons. Some people are willing to give up money for a better work-life balance. This is a true testament to the stress levels of the modern workplace. In a 2020 Deloitte survey, it was found that 44% of millennials say they are stressed all or most of the time. Companies that help their employees have a good work-life balance in their professional and personal lives have higher retention rates.

A good work-life balance has many perks. Some of these include:

  • Fewer health issues
  • Higher productivity levels
  • Fewer burnouts
  • More mindfulness

Poor work-life balance has some dire consequences. It can wreak havoc on your health, home life, and personal relationships. Some of the drawbacks include:

  • High-stress levels
  • Feelings of dissatisfaction with life
  • Increased rates of family issues and divorces
  • Escalation of substance abuse
  • Low productivity levels
  • Dissatisfaction at work
  • Lower levels of motivation, commitment, and loyalty.

work life balance girl outdoor

5 ways to find balance at a startup

To create a better work-life balance, think about how you can achieve balance in your personal and professional life. What works for someone else may not work for you. However, here are some tips you can try to improve your work-life balance.

Develop some time management skills

Many entrepreneurs struggle to manage their time correctly. This is because they spend most of their time working long hours to complete their to-do list. There are only 24 hours in a day, so prioritizing may be the best way to manage your time better.

Create a daily, weekly, and monthly to-do list. Try focusing on the most important tasks on your priority list. Doing so can increase the chances of things being done with greater care and focus.

Another thing you can try to do is to say no to the less important stuff. You can simplify your work and delegate the less important stuff. Also, turn off your phone and email notifications. Set a scheduled time to respond to emails and make phone calls. Replying to emails and checking messages as they come in can be distracting. It can make you lose focus and mess with your productivity.

Try to leave work at work

How often do you find yourself taking work home and working remotely from home? The answer is probably too often. You may find yourself working on weekends and holidays. This leaves you with little to no time to relax or spend with loved ones. Try to do work during work hours and stop once those hours are up.

It is important to have a strict policy when it comes to work and other areas of your life. You can try having a no-work-on-the-weekend rule. Having the rule is one thing, but sticking to it can be hard. Try your best to follow this rule and make no exceptions. The weekend can help to reduce stress from all the issues you dealt with during the week. It can even give you time for ideas and solutions to emerge. It is vital to give your body and mind a chance to rest and recover.

Set aside family time

Making time for your family with a busy schedule can be hard. However, you need to remember that your family is your main support system. When things aren’t going smoothly at the startup, your need for support is greater. This is where your family comes in.

Work decisions and responsibilities become easier to manage with your family’s support. Spending quality time with family members can relieve stress, nurture positive behaviors and promote a healthy lifestyle. Time spent with family can improve both your professional and personal life. Plan family trips, game nights, and other activities. These can help build quality relationships with your family.

Schedule personal time

In today’s fast-paced world, it can be hard to find time to indulge in personal interests. However, one’s personal life is as important as one’s professional life. When you unplug and take a step back, you will experience a whole new perspective.

If you feel overwhelmed with everyday life, it may be time to take some time off work. Take your vacation time to rest and recover. Choose an activity that you love and one that relaxes and rejuvenates you.

You can try to make time to meditate, travel and do things you love. Personal time is best for self-reflection and setting goals. Self-care is also essential for your mental health.

If you cannot get much time off, simply ensuring you sleep and eat well can help. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the Sleep Research Society (SRS) say to aim for at least six to seven hours of sleep. You should also be mindful of what you’re putting into your body. Constantly chugging coffee and eating junk food will eventually affect your health. Try to eat at least one or two healthy meals a day.

Outsource when possible

Technology has come a long way. It has gone to great lengths that we can now replace much of the work necessary to run a business. Try to outsource repetitive tasks that take up too much of your time. This can allow you to focus on your goals and have more time to deal with personal matters. For your personal reading, here are 10 reasons you should be outsourcing your marketing.

Bonus Tips

SET FLEXIBLE HOURS

A flexible work environment can lead to a healthier work-life balance. Flexible hours, telecommuting opportunities, and other systems can relieve stress. They also allow you to attend to personal matters and spend time with your family. At the same time, it can also help to increase your productivity levels and effectiveness.

EXERCISE

Exercise can improve your physical health and mental health. It can also help to improve your productivity. Exercising for just 30 minutes a day can keep your body and mind active and fresh. This can lead to higher energy levels, increased focus, and completion of tasks faster. Exercise can also help with creativity, so when you’re faced with a challenge, exercise. It doesn’t have to be anything too intense; a simple 30-minute walk may help.

MAKE WORK FUN

The only way to make an 80-hour work week bearable is to integrate some fun. Play is crucial when it comes to working. It can improve employees’ work-life balance as well as founders. Some fun can make you both more productive and lead to a more engaged workforce. It can keep everybody motivated and happier. Try to keep the happy spirit alive as much as possible. You can do this by promoting play, encouraging hobbies at work, etc.

TRAVEL

A change in scenery can work wonders. It is great for your mental and emotional well-being. Traveling to new places can free your mind, body, and soul from stress. It can help you reflect on personal goals and interests. Aside from these, it can enrich and transform your perspective on life. Traveling can also improve productivity, sharpen problem-solving skills and increase creativity.

STAY POSITIVE

Staying positive when dealing with entrepreneurial failures and threats can be hard. However, a positive mindset may be able to help you pull through. It allows you to focus on the positives of the situation and help you visualize your goals. Focusing on the positives and having a clear idea of your goals can result in you meeting them. A positive attitude is awesome, even though it can be tough to maintain.

Inner Image and Featured Image Credits: Provided by the Author; Pexels; Thank you!

Joe Martin

Joe Martin

VP of Marketing

Joe Martin is currently the VP of marketing at Scorpion, a leading provider of technology and marketing to help small businesses grow. Formerly he was CloudApp’s GM and CMO and a Head of Marketing at Adobe. With over 15 years of experience in the industry and tech that makes it run, he provides strategic guidance on how to build and use the right stack and marketing for businesses to grow. Joe believes marketers need smart training and leadership to scale company growth. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter @joeDmarti.

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The Impact of AI as Companies Address the Skilled Labor Shortage

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The Impact of AI as Companies Address the Skilled Labor Shortage


Due to a combination of Baby Boomer retirements and a declining birthrate leading to smaller subsequent generations like Gen Z — employment firms predict that the talent shortage we’re experiencing now is likely to last for years to come. While this has the potential to be disastrous news for the economy, it doesn’t have to be, thanks to another growing trend in business: AI acceleration.

We’re currently seeing an increase in the application of AI in the workplace that moves beyond typical machines and into areas of law, medicine, software, and even art. While many have predicted that the acceleration of AI would lead to the demise of human labor, it may very well be this technology that solves the labor problem — at least for those willing to work in tandem with these AI solutions.

Taking Advantage of AI

So what does working with these AI solutions look like? What challenges are businesses facing due to this labor shortage, and how can AI help solve them? I’ll answer these questions and offer some strategies on how organizations can best position themselves to take advantage of AI and combat the continued labor shortage.

Bridging the Gap

The growing skilled labor shortage is already baked into the next 15 to 20 years, thanks to existing and continuing demographic trends. However, the opportunities to innovate within the labor shortage space are massive in the areas of cloud computing, AI, and robotics. Investment in these areas can help U.S. companies compete in a world that’s increasingly fractured and regional.

Robotics and AI systems have already proven reliable in repetitive, precise, and dangerous tasks. Businesses transitioning their supply chain away from globalization and toward more regional approaches can use AI to automate many of the tasks necessary in warehouse and factory environments.

Plenty of Use Cases

In construction, AI is being adopted to complete tasks such as drywall installation and painting, allowing humans to focus on more complex jobs such as plumbing and electrical installation.

In industrial projects, remote-controlled machines handle the more dangerous duties, like demolition and movement of heavy materials. For office environments, artificial intelligence and automation are handling repetitive occupations — taking over tasks like data gathering, clean up, and prep.

More Than Mundane

However, repetitive tasks aren’t the only places in which AI prioritization is making a difference. It is being employed to help existing workers do their jobs more effectively and efficiently.

A great example of this is OpenAI’s Codex. Codex is an AI solution that scans and analyzes petabytes of code, questions, and answers from websites like Stack Overflow. With this tool, developers no longer need to search for answers or examples of code. Instead, Codex is directly integrated into the code completion of their IDE, saving them hundreds of hours of searching and increasing their productivity.

Creating More Creative AI

Meanwhile, systems such as Stable Diffusion and ChatGPT show how AI can take over, creating more derivative works and freeing employees up to tackle creative tasks that are still well out of reach of AI.

This isn’t to suggest that AI is an eternal solution to the skilled labor shortage. But it is a critical stop-gap that can be leaned on until the workforce grows again — something that’s projected to happen sometime in the early 2040s.

In the meantime, for organizations to maintain competitiveness as the talent shortage continues, it will be necessary to strategically integrate AI into the labor force wherever possible.

1. Don’t build your entire strategy on top of a third-party AI platform.

While there are speed-to-market benefits to third-party solutions, using the same platforms as your competitors means you’re relying on the same data and, consequently, will wind up with the same business model as everyone else.

By developing your own platform — at least in some use cases — and focusing on the data within your niche instead, you can create a cone of differentiation that protects your business and creates long-term opportunities within your niche market. This will also ensure you don’t get trapped within the vision of a third-party company rather than following your own.

2. Invest in skills acquisition over education.

To combat the skilled labor shortage, you don’t need more employees with general education. Instead, you need candidates with specific skills who can help you close the widening skills gap. Technology certifications such as AWS, Azure, and GCP are great examples of the skills required to build the necessary cloud solutions and AI platforms you’ll need to compete.

This focus on skills isn’t just about hiring. It’s also about changing your focus on internal employee training. Apprentice and licensing approaches like those used for electricians and plumbers are great models for training people in new skills as they’re needed.

3. Align your investments with global shifts in geopolitics, economy, supply chain, and demographics.

As the U.S. and the rest of the world move toward more regionalized supply chains and manufacturing, the combination of human creativity and advanced technology, such as AI and robotics, will be critical. But that will only be true if this combination is pointed in the right direction.

Make sure that your investments in AI and skills acquisition are guided by your environment rather than a desire to invest in technology for technology’s sake.

The Necessary Human Touch

In summary, labor shortages, the current supply chain crisis, and inflation that organizations and leaders face will continue to impact their operations over the next few years. The rise of AI-based solutions could be a key technology to help organizations combat those challenges and maintain a competitive edge if they adopt AI solutions and integrate them effectively with their greatest assets: human creativity and problem-solving.

The strategies I outlined will help leaders prioritize as they begin selecting and adopting those AI solutions and navigate the current and growing issues associated with the shift from globalization to regionalized supply chains and labor.

Realizing AI’s Vast Potential

It’s important to remember that today’s artificial intelligence and automation solutions are designed to enhance human capabilities and improve their potential to solve problems and create explainable knowledge. They aren’t meant to replace humans in the workforce.

Leaders who remember this and focus on the symbiosis of human creativity and AI rather than on using AI to replace people will have a strategic advantage in the decades to come.

Featured Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Unsplash; Thank you!

Daniel Williams

Principal with Pariveda Solutions

Daniel Williams is a principal with Pariveda Solutions, specializing in digital strategy, implementation, and analytics. With B.S. and M.S. degrees in Computer Science and Technology Management, he has become an expert in digital transformation and AI/ML.

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