Align Cross-Functional Teams and Implement Change Management for Success

Arun Shastri, Jason Brown and Erin Liman

Targeting the right advisor, in the right channel, with the right message at the right time can be a challenge – but AI can help. In this video excerpt from our webinar, The Human Aspects of Implementing AI-Augmented Distribution, ZS’s Arun Shastri, Jason Brown and Erin Liman discuss how change management within an organization factors into AI’s success. Below is an edited transcript of the video.

Arun Shastri: A common pitfall is when you are throwing too many technology tools and too many data scientists at a problem. That doesn’t work, because solutions that you created in an ivory tower don’t normally get implemented, and worse, if they are implemented and they are ineffective, that just creates a legacy of not working. In these new working models, which need to leverage across multiple business units, there are some critical elements that we think are required. One is that we have to find better ways to get cross-functional teams working together. Sales heads have to come together, marketing has to come together, product has to come together with business technology. So, we have to get better at making cross-functional teams work together. [The second thing is] data. We have to get clever and aggressive about data strategy that can work for us as a whole because good artificial intelligence systems require data to be fed into them in order for [them] to be effective, and data has to come from multiple sources. Third is, in terms of implementation, it will be good if you find ways to realize value quickly. [Find] smaller chunks [that] prove value and build on them. And, last but not least, none of these things will work unless the sales organization and the distribution organization adopts this, and so some level of attention and energy towards early user experience, adoption and enablement are critical aspects of success.

Jason Brown: Yes, so Arun you talked about the kind of user experience for sales and the need for cross functions to come together. Erin, what do you have seen in those sorts of topics?

Erin Linman: Yeah, that really resonates well with me as well. I think the biggest barrier or opportunity is the culture of the organization. [Whether] people embrace or resist [implementing AI] depends on how much involvement cross-functional teams have in this. In order to really make it work, everyone needs to have their sights on that common vision. So what we try to deliver in terms of customer experience is, that function needs to lie above all the different silos. The kind of culture that can bring forth challenges that I’ve seen in a lot of industries, not just financial services, is [that in] businesses, normally, we are very reluctant to bring a problem forward because we all think we’d be able to handle it. The challenge is, in this complex environment, no one person can handle all this. It is a cross-disciplinary challenge.

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