Artificial intelligence (AI) is the future of business innovation. It gives organizations the power to analyze and leverage data at a higher velocity to make more informed and accurate decisions. It drives the connected customer experience to provide more meaningful and direct engagement, and it can seamlessly connect devices across the enterprise to streamline operations. Many small and mid-sized businesses, however, are still learning how to manage the increased data with AI in a way that builds customer trust and ensures compliance with various laws and regulations.

According to a recent survey, 47% of executives are unsure what data compliance standards apply to their organizations.[1] The ethical and legal landscape of AI presents some unique challenges for compliance teams in business. It’s important, therefore, that businesses equip themselves with the skills and knowledge to guide their teams through the process of leveraging this innovative technology.

So, how can companies maximize innovation, keep up with customer expectations at a higher velocity, and maintain tight security standards that protect their customers and their business?

Understand evolving regulations

Organizations of all sizes need to be hyper-vigilant about how their business models and tech infrastructure line up with new regulations. New regulations, like the GDPR, stipulate such things as how long a company must hold on to data, how they may store it, and how they can utilize it. Non-compliance fees for the GDPR can rise to over 22 million dollars or 4 percent of annual global revenue, whichever is higher.[2]

Compliance to new regulations is easier when working with a cloud solution integrated with AI capabilities. Modern technology solutions enable organizations to build a catalog of sensitive data types, rather than bury them in on-premises database silos. A cloud platform also gives businesses greater control over how data is managed and shared across functional teams.

Build transparency and trust

Organizations need to be aware of the contracts they have with customers and be explicitly clear on types of data they are collecting and how they are using it.    

One opportunity for companies to utilize AI technology and improve interaction with customers is through bots. Chatbots are becoming a growing trend in customer service. A chatbot can answer customer questions, track shipments, take orders, etc., all while keeping customer data confidential and secure. But, for bots to continue to gain traction, businesses need to focus on building responsible bots that inspire trust in their customer base. Articulating the purpose behind bots and clearly communicating how they are being used as part of a service or product is critical in helping them continue to gain popularity.

Conduct AI due diligence

Companies of all sizes should evaluate the opportunities associated with AI. AI is a major technology breaking through right now that will cause a digital transformation that will echo for decades to come. Businesses need to understand how AI is spreading through their industries and markets, evaluating it from an ethical, legal, and compliance perspective.

Set a framework for policies and data classifications

Setting up a data classification system that will allow businesses to handle the increase in data effectively is crucial. From sensitive data to informal data, it all needs to be managed. Set up data retention and deletion policies throughout the data lifecycle. Get software that enables systems to alert compliance specialists when something out of the ordinary happens, such as an employee deleting a large amount of data.

Build a culture of compliance

Building a culture of compliance across your organization starts with boards and CEOs taking a serious look at the skills and knowledge their teams have regarding rules and regulations on data security. Dealing with the pressing questions surrounding AI demands that legal and compliance teams be equipped to take on the challenges.

AI inhabits a vastly complex space when it comes to innovative practices and aligning to new and evolving regulations. Business leaders must commit to adapting their business models and digital strategy to fully optimize their operations with AI.

Are you ready to take the next step in innovation with best practices and solutions around compliance? Join us at the Microsoft Technology Center near you for the Data Privacy and Compliance Workshop. Register today.

[1] Microsoft GDPR survey – November 2017