How to get ROI in AI projects: From Hype to ROI

How to get ROI in AI projects: From Hype to ROI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is buzzing everywhere. The tech world is rife with grand promises and futuristic visions. But how much of this is reality and how much is mere hype?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is buzzing everywhere.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is buzzing everywhere. The tech world is rife with grand promises and futuristic visions. But how much of this is reality and how much is mere hype?

Forbes sheds light on a startling fact: 85.4% of AI projects don’t impact commercial returns. With only 14.6% of firms globally deploying AI in production, the gap between expectation and reality is vast.

Yet, the importance of ROI in AI projects can’t be overstated. For businesses, investments in AI aren’t just about embracing technology. They’re about tangible outcomes, driving value, and creating a competitive edge.

Again, a mere 14.6% of AI projects seeing widespread production tells a story. The majority remain in experimental phases or fail to deliver real business value.

Harnessing the potential of AI for business success isn’t just about adopting the technology. It’s about effective implementation, strategy alignment, and ensuring that AI projects yield a positive return on investment.

The challenge is clear: move from mere hype to genuine ROI. And the journey, while sometimes daunting, is pivotal for future success.

The Hype Cycle of AI

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AI’s journey has been a roller coaster of emotions for many businesses. Initially, there’s often immense excitement. Bold promises are made. Expectations skyrocket. However, like many emerging technologies, AI has its own hype cycle. Many projects start with inflated expectations, only to crash into a wall of reality.

Enter the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’. This phase sees many AI projects falter. Reasons vary, but they often stem from a lack of understanding of AI as a technology.

AI isn’t just a tool; it’s an ecosystem. Recognising the end-to-end AI lifecycle is crucial. It’s not a mere plug-and-play solution, but a transformative journey.

Having the right skills in-house or within your partner ecosystem is pivotal. Your approach to AI needs expertise, strategy, and forward thinking. Additionally, change management becomes vital. AI offers new insights, methods, and challenges.

Is your business ready to absorb and act on this knowledge?

The goal is clear: transcend the hype. Leap from lab experiments to AI solutions integrated into your business processes. Understanding, preparation, and commitment are your keys to navigating the AI hype cycle successfully.

Models of AI in Today’s World

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In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, AI models come in various forms, catering to diverse business needs. Three prominent models stand out: Off the Shelf, Model as a Service (MaaS), and Open Source Models.

‘Off the Shelf’ AI solutions offer businesses ready-made tools. They are often faster to deploy and cater to generic business needs. Think of them as one-size-fits-all tools, quick but not necessarily unique.

‘Model as a Service’ or MaaS, on the other hand, is more tailored. Businesses can access specific AI functionalities without the overhead of development. It offers a balance between customization and convenience.

Open Source AI Models push the boundaries. They’re for businesses ready to invest in true AI development projects, offering the utmost flexibility. With open source, customization is limitless, but it demands the right skills.

Knowing which AI model fits best can be the difference between mere AI adoption and transformative AI integration.

Open-Source AI Models

Open-source AI models represent the frontier of AI development. These models, available to the public, can be tailored, refined, and adapted to meet unique business requirements.

They empower businesses to create distinct solutions while promoting collaboration and knowledge-sharing in the AI community.


  • Customization: Open-source models can be tailored to fit specific business needs.
  • IP Ownership: Businesses retain intellectual property rights to their modifications.
  • Security & Regulatory Control: Ensures compliance as businesses can modify security measures according to their needs.


  • Higher Costs: Initial investment can be steep due to development and training requirements.
  • Specialist Skills: Expertise in AI and machine learning is required for effective deployment.
  • Time-Consuming: Models often require more time to train and optimize for specific tasks.


  • Meta Llama 2: A shining example of open-source AI’s potential. Llama 2, developed by Meta, has revolutionized the way machines understand human language. Its open nature means businesses can adapt it for specific language tasks Although it was originally conceived as an AI-as-a-service model, it has recently become open source.

In essence, while open-source AI models come with their own set of challenges, their unparalleled flexibility and adaptability offer businesses a pathway to genuine AI-driven transformation.

AI Models As a Service

In the realm of AI, “on-demand” refers to accessing AI capabilities without the need for in-house infrastructure or development.

Much like cloud services, AI MaaS provides businesses with specific AI functionalities as and when required, eliminating the need for full-scale AI deployment on-premises.


  • Cost-Effective: MaaS is typically priced based on consumption, making it more cost-efficient for many businesses.
  • Quick Deployment: With pre-built models, implementation is faster than starting from scratch with open-source models.
  • Resource Efficiency: MaaS requires fewer resources as the heavy lifting of model training and development is already done.
  • Custom Approach: While not entirely bespoke, MaaS offers an accelerated route to customizing AI functionalities for specific tasks.


  • IP Limitations: Businesses usually don’t own the intellectual property rights to MaaS solutions.
  • Data Concerns: Using MaaS means data often leaves your control, potentially posing security and regulatory challenges.


  • OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 & 4: Advanced language models available on-demand, facilitating tasks like text generation, summarization, and more.
  • Baidu’s ERNIE: A pre-trained model for various NLP tasks, it’s another stellar example of MaaS offerings.
  • OpenAI’s DALL·E: An on-demand model capable of generating unique images from textual descriptions.

To sum up, AI Models As a Service offer businesses a middle ground – more customization than off-the-shelf solutions but without the complexities of full-scale open-source model development.

Off the Shelf AI

Off the Shelf AI solutions are pre-packaged AI tools or software designed for immediate use. They provide out-of-the-box functionalities, making them suitable for businesses looking for quick AI integration without the intricacies of custom development.


  • Cost-Effective: Being pre-made solutions, they usually come at a lower cost compared to tailored AI models.
  • Quick Execution: Ready to deploy immediately, they boast fast execution speeds, enabling businesses to integrate AI without delay.
  • Ease of Use: Often designed for simplicity, they require minimal technical knowledge, making them accessible to a broader audience.


  • Limited Differentiation: As they’re designed for mass consumption, they offer less room for unique business customizations.
  • IP Constraints: Businesses don’t own the intellectual property rights, limiting customization and differentiation.
  • Security & Regulatory Concerns: While these tools usually pose minimal security risks, they don’t offer the same level of control as custom solutions, which can be a concern for some businesses.


  • Adobe Firefly: A user-friendly tool that offers AI-powered graphic design capabilities without the need for deep technical knowledge.
  • ChatGPT by OpenAI: A chatbot solution that can be easily integrated into various platforms for enhanced customer engagement.
  • Einstein GPT: An AI-driven customer relationship management tool designed for quick deployment and ease of use.
  • IIEleven Labs: Providing lifelike voiceovers for content creation and an AI voice generator that serves as an intuitive text reader.

In essence, Off the Shelf AI offers businesses a straightforward path to AI integration, balancing ease of use with standardized functionalities. It’s the go-to choice for businesses wanting immediate AI benefits without the associated development complexities.

Strategies to Maximize ROI in AI Projects

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Navigating the complex world of AI can seem daunting, but with carefully crafted strategies, businesses can ensure they achieve a substantial return on investment (ROI).

Starting small is often the best approach. Instead of aiming for a large-scale, transformative AI project right out of the gate, consider pilot projects and iterative development.

By testing the waters with smaller initiatives, businesses can assess the viability of AI solutions in their specific contexts and make necessary adjustments. This way, potential risks are managed more effectively, and scaling up is based on validated successes.

The dynamic nature of AI demands continuous training and updating. AI isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it solution. As data changes and business needs evolve, it’s imperative to retrain and refine AI models.

This not only ensures the model’s accuracy and relevance but also optimizes its efficiency, leading to a better ROI in the long run.

Lastly, the human aspect shouldn’t be underestimated. Engaging stakeholders and emphasizing change management can be the linchpin in an AI project’s success.

By ensuring everyone involved understands the value, functionality, and potential of AI, businesses can foster a culture of acceptance and enthusiasm, which can dramatically increase the chances of a project’s success.

Future Trends: Sustaining ROI in Evolving AI Landscape

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As we peer into the horizon of AI advancements, it’s evident that the landscape is in a state of perpetual evolution. From newer algorithms to groundbreaking applications, the AI world is bustling with innovations, each carrying the potential to redefine business paradigms.

With the relentless pace of AI development, sustaining a consistent ROI demands agility and foresight. Businesses that once rode the initial wave of AI enthusiasm might find that yesterday’s revolutionary solutions become today’s industry standards.

Adapting to these changes, therefore, becomes not just an advantage but a necessity. Staying ahead of the curve ensures that investments made in AI today continue to deliver dividends tomorrow.

Reflecting on the journey of AI projects, many enterprises have navigated the path from undue hype to genuine ROI.

The allure of groundbreaking technologies can sometimes overshadow the fundamental question: “How does this drive value for my business?” Thus, it’s imperative to distill the noise, focusing on what genuinely aligns with business objectives.

In conclusion, as the AI tapestry continues to expand and diversify, businesses must foster a realistic, goal-oriented approach. It’s not about jumping on the latest AI trend but discerning which innovations align with long-term goals.

By maintaining this focus and staying adaptable, enterprises can ensure that their AI endeavors continue to provide substantial returns, irrespective of the ever-shifting technological sands.


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