Technology experts make no bones about it: High-tech solutions are an essential tool for helping you stay one step ahead of the competition – and one step ahead the curve. Luckily, they’re also becoming more cost-affordable and easier to implement than at any point in history as well. Wondering how these cutting-edge tools can help you build your business? As it turns out, you don’t need help from management consultants or technology experts to make them work for you. For example:

Topic: Using AI to Build Competitive Advantage

Scenario: Business leaders frequently talk about the pending move to AI, but – given that most executives are largely unfamiliar with the technology – can use guidance on how it can help them stay ahead of the curve, types of actionable insights it can provide, and where to implement it for best effect.

Insight: We now have access to millions of data points (big data), but as technology experts point out, learning to identify a much smaller subset of key performance indicators (KPIs, or “small data”) and how to both read and leverage them to positive effect is crucial. AI can tell you where customers spend their time, which features of new initiatives resonate, how to price or package offers, when to make outreach, which audiences and demographics are responding to your promotions, etc. and even help you predict what customers want before they know they want it themselves.

Topic: How to Make Your Business More Agile and Adaptable

Scenario: Flexibility is the essence of future-proofing and to keep up with change, your organization needs to think several steps ahead and stay in constant motion. That requires you to adopt a more agile and resourceful approach to doing business and put a constant focus on taking action and learning from the results of steady experimentation so you can course-correct in time with market shifts.

Insight: Like technology experts remind, data is the lifeblood of any organization, and can help you quickly deploy, test, and refine ideas. But in addition, you’ve also got to structure your business in such a way that internal programs and processes help accelerate, not inhibit innovation. Likewise, it’s important to play a portfolio of new strategic ventures at any given time, and constantly roll out and experiment with new solutions, learning as you go. And employees need to be empowered to make things happen, and speak up and share ideas as they go as well.