Fostering internal AI expertise

Businesses looking to remain competitive must now include artificial intelligence (AI) into their operations due to the ever-changing nature of technology. The question of whether to purchase AI capabilities or make an internal investment in developing AI talents is frequently prompted by the decision to integrate AI into organizational processes. Acquiring off-the-shelf AI solutions could seem like a convenient choice, but developing internal AI expertise ends up being more beneficial and long-lasting.


Developing AI expertise within a company improves customization and adaptability to start. Commercial AI products are made with general-purpose features to serve a wide range of markets and uses. Pre-packaged AI solutions, however, are typically insufficient to meet the specific needs of businesses because they operate in unique environments. Organizations can customize AI algorithms to meet their unique needs by building in-house AI capabilities, which will guarantee a smoother integration into current workflows. For example, businesses such as Netflix and Amazon have prospered by creating their own internal recommendation algorithms, which enable them to offer tailored content recommendations that align with specific user tastes.


Moreover, developing internal AI capabilities encourages creativity and a constant improvement mindset. Employers who put money into training their staff in AI are encouraging their staff to come up with original solutions to challenging issues. This focus on innovation may result in the creation of exclusive AI algorithms that distinguish the company from rivals.

Consider Google, which has made significant investments to develop its AI capabilities. Google has a competitive edge in the information technology (IT) sector, thanks to its own AI projects, including Google Brain, which have produced ground-breaking breakthroughs in image recognition, natural language processing and other AI applications.


Developing internal AI skills not only promotes creativity but also fosters a deeper comprehension of business operations. Because off-the-shelf AI solutions frequently act as “black boxes,” it can be difficult for businesses to understand the nuances of these algorithms. On the other hand, companies that develop internal AI expertise learn more about the fundamental ideas and subtleties of their AI systems. Staff members are more equipped to make educated judgments on the integration of AI into different business functions, thanks to this knowledge, which also improves the organization’s capacity to debug and optimize AI applications.


Additionally, developing AI expertise inside helps to save costs over time. While buying AI solutions could make you feel good right away, the long-term expenses of updates, license fees and vendor reliance can add up over time. Organizations can reduce these continuing costs and regain more control over their AI infrastructure by investing in the development of internal AI capabilities. An exemplary case in point is the Swedish furniture retailer Ikea, which has been able to improve customer satisfaction and supply chain efficiency without incurring the long-term financial burden of depending on outside AI vendors by setting up an internal AI lab.

Even while developing internal AI skills has many benefits, some contend that many firms cannot afford to do so due to a lack of AI ability. But with the right talent acquisition, training initiatives and partnerships with academic institutions, this problem can be solved.


Forming alliances with academic institutions and research centers is a useful tactic for accessing up-and-coming talent pools. Organizations can draw in bright students and researchers who are enthusiastic about artificial intelligence by providing internships, research collaborations and scholarships. These collaborations enable information sharing and cooperation on cutting edge AI research initiatives in addition to giving access to elite personnel.

Organizations need to engage in reskilling and upskilling programs in addition to external talent acquisition to equip current staff with the requisite AI competencies. Entire training courses, workshops and certification programs can give staff members the technical know-how and fundamental AI understanding they need to make significant contributions to the organization’s AI development projects.


Additionally, companies can use online learning tools and platforms to support employees’ self-paced education and skill development. Many AI-related courses and specialties are available on platforms like Coursera, Udacity and edX taught by academics and professionals in the field. Organizations can enable employees to take charge of their learning process and develop AI abilities at their own pace by giving them access to these tools.

Moreover, internal knowledge-sharing programs like cross-functional cooperation projects, hackathons and AI reading groups can promote a collaborative and knowledge-sharing culture inside the company. These programs accelerate skill development and promote creativity by giving staff members the chance to work together on practical AI projects, exchange best practices and learn from one another.


In conclusion, the necessity of incorporating AI into organizational procedures makes it crucial to carefully assess whether to develop AI capabilities internally or buy them. The long-term advantages of building in-house AI skills, such as adaptability, customization, creativity, cost-effectiveness and a deeper grasp of business processes, exceed the ease of the former, even though it might provide quick fixes. Organizations can build a workforce capable of spearheading AI innovation, promoting a culture of ongoing learning and development, and setting themselves up for long-term success in the digital age by investing in the development of internal AI expertise. For enterprises hoping to prosper in the digital age, the strategic choice to develop rather than acquire AI talents is becoming increasingly important as the demand for AI grows.

The author is the founder and CEO of Hungry Workhorse, a digital, culture and customer experience transformation consulting firm. He is a fellow at the US-based Institute for Digital Transformation. He teaches strategic management and digital transformation in the MBA Program of De La Salle University. The author may be emailed at