To build a solid data foundation and embark on an AI journey, businesses should take these four steps:
1. Streamline data processes
The first step for businesses must be to streamline data processes. “This is critical if businesses want to avoid a data disconnect,” Campbell says. For example, it’s unusual for tax teams to know where their data comes from. They usually issue a request to IT, but IT often doesn’t know why tax needs this information or how it will be used. These kinds of disconnected processes can lead to errors, confusion and incorrect data.
2. Make certain that data is AI-ready
Companies must secure a strong, standardized data pipeline that delivers clean, AI-ready data. This can be a challenge for complex organizations that struggle with convoluted IT systems forged in the aftermath of M&A activity.
In the survey, 93% of respondents reported dealing with multiple ERP systems. Those with six or more ERP systems spend six times more on data collection, cleansing and manipulation. Conversely, a strong data pipeline is often a big advantage enjoyed by fintech disruptors who don’t have to contend with legacy systems.
3. Enlighten key stakeholders
Education is another key stepping stone to AI adoption. Campbell says this doesn’t mean tax practitioners need to learn how to code, but it’s advantageous if they understand what’s possible with AI and the kinds of problems it can solve.
4. Don’t overthink, just get started
“There are so many quick wins, and the barriers to entry are now so low that it’s important not to overthink all this,” says Campbell. “The world is moving fast, so a five-year plan will be outdated very quickly. Begin using some simple AI tools to crack common problems and just get started.”