Succeeding with AI
How to make AI work for your business 
Veljko Krunic
  • March 2020
  • ISBN 9781617296932
  • 288 pages
  • printed in black & white

Chock-full of illuminating examples that will dramatically improve your success with AI projects.

Zarak Mahmud, Techflo
Companies small and large are initiating AI projects, investing vast sums of money on software, developers, and data scientists. Too often, these AI projects focus on technology at the expense of actionable or tangible business results, resulting in scattershot results and wasted investment. Succeeding with AI sets out a blueprint for AI projects to ensure they are predictable, successful, and profitable. It’s filled with practical techniques for running data science programs that ensure they’re cost effective and focused on the right business goals.

About the Technology

Succeeding with AI requires talent, tools, and money. So why do many well-funded, state-of-the-art projects fail to deliver meaningful business value? Because talent, tools, and money aren’t enough: You also need to know how to ask the right questions. In this unique book, AI consultant Veljko Krunic reveals a tested process to start AI projects right, so you’ll get the results you want.

About the book

Succeeding with AI sets out a framework for planning and running cost-effective, reliable AI projects that produce real business results. This practical guide reveals secrets forged during the author’s experience with dozens of startups, established businesses, and Fortune 500 giants that will help you establish meaningful, achievable goals. In it you’ll master a repeatable process to maximize the return on data-scientist hours and learn to implement effectiveness metrics for keeping projects on track and resistant to calcification.
Table of Contents detailed table of contents

PART 1 Title


1.1 Whom is this book for?

1.2 AI and the Age of Implementation

1.3 How do you make money with AI?

1.4 What matters for your project to succeed?

1.5 Machine learning from 10,000 feet

1.6 Start by understanding the possible business actions

1.7 Don’t fish for “something in the data”

1.8 AI finds correlations, not causes!

1.9 Business results must be measurable!

1.10 What is CLUE?

1.11 Overview of how to select and run AI projects

1.12 Exercises

1.12.1 True/False questions

1.12.2 Longer exercises: Identify the problem


2 How to use AI in your business

2.1 What do you need to know about AI?

2.2 How is AI used?

2.3 What’s new with AI?

2.4 Making money with AI

2.4.1 AI applied to medical diagnosis

2.4.2 General principles for monetizing AI

2.5 Finding domain actions

2.5.1 AI as part of the decision support system

2.5.2 AI as a part of a larger product

2.5.3 Using AI to automate part of the business process

2.5.4 AI as the product

2.6 Overview of AI capabilities

2.7 Introducing Unicorns

2.7.1 Data science unicorns

2.7.2 What about data engineers?

2.7.3 So where are the unicorns?

2.8 Exercises

2.8.1 Short answer questions

2.8.2 Scenario-based questions

2.9 Summary

3 Choosing your first AI project

3.1 Choosing the right projects for a young AI team

3.1.1 The look of success

3.1.2 The look of failure

3.2 Prioritizing AI projects

3.2.1 React: Finding business questions for AI to answer

3.2.2 Sense/Analyze: AI methods and data

3.2.3 Measuring AI project success with business metrics

3.2.4 Estimating AI project difficulty

3.3 Your first project and first research question

3.3.1 Define the research question

3.3.2 If you fail, fail fast

3.4 Pitfalls to Avoid

3.4.1 Failing to build a relationship with the business team

3.4.2 Using transplants

3.4.3 Trying moonshots without the rockets

3.4.4 It is about using advanced tools to look at the sea of data

3.4.5 Using your gut feeling instead of CLUE

3.5 Exercises


4 Linking business and technology

4.1 A project can’t be stopped midair

4.1.1 What constitutes a good recommendation engine?

4.1.2 What is gut feeling?

4.2 Linking business problems and research questions

4.2.1 Introducing the L part of CLUE

4.2.2 Do you have the right research question?

4.2.3 What questions should a metric be able to answer?

4.2.4 Can you make business decisions based on a technical metric?

4.2.5 A metric you don’t understand is a poor business metric

4.2.6 You need the right business metric

4.3 Measuring progress on AI projects

4.4 Linking technical progress with a business metric

4.4.1 Why do we need technical metrics?

4.4.2 What is the profit curve?

4.4.3 Constructing a profit curve for bike rentals

4.4.4 Why is this not taught in college?

4.4.5 Can’t businesses define the profit curve themselves?

4.4.6 Understanding technical results in business terms

4.5 Organizational considerations

4.5.1 Profit curve precision depends on the business problem

4.5.2 A profit curve improves over time

4.5.3 It’s about learning, not about being right

4.5.4 Dealing with information hoarding

4.5.5 But we can’t measure that!

4.6 Exercises


5 What is an ML pipeline, and how does it affect an AI project?

5.1 How is an AI project different?

5.1.1 The ML pipeline in AI projects

5.1.2 Challenges the AI system shares with a traditional software system

5.1.3 Challenges amplified in AI projects

5.1.4 Ossification of the ML pipeline

5.1.5 Example of ossification of an ML pipeline

5.1.6 How to address ossification of the ML pipeline

5.2 Why we need to analyze the ML pipeline

5.2.1 Algorithm improvement: MNIST example

5.2.2 Further examples of improving the ML pipeline

5.2.3 You must analyze the ML pipeline!

5.3 What’s the role of AI methods?

5.4 Balancing data, AI methods, and infrastructure

5.5 Exercises


6 Analyzing an ML pipeline

6.1 Why you should care about analyzing your ML pipeline

6.2 Economizing resources: The E part of CLUE

6.3 MinMax analysis: Do you have the right ML pipeline?

6.4 How to interpret MinMax analysis results

6.4.1 Scenario: The ML pipeline for a smart parking meter

6.4.2 What if your ML pipeline needs improvement?

6.4.3 Rules for interpreting the results of MinMax analysis

6.5 How to perform an analysis of the ML pipeline

6.5.1 Performing the Min part of MinMax analysis

6.5.2 Performing the Max part of MinMax analysis

6.5.3 Estimates and safety factors in MinMax analysis

6.5.4 Categories of profit curves

6.5.5 Dealing with complex profit curves

6.6 FAQs about MinMax analysis

6.6.1 Should MinMax be the first analysis of the ML pipeline?

6.6.2 Which analysis should you perform first? Min or Max?

6.6.3 Should a small company or small team skip the MinMax analysis?

6.6.4 Why do you use the term MinMax analysis?

6.7 Exercises


7 Guiding an AI project to success

7.1 Improving your ML pipeline with sensitivity analysis

7.1.1 Performing local sensitivity analysis

7.1.2 Global sensitivity analysis

7.1.3 Example of using sensitivity analysis results

7.2 We’ve completed CLUE

7.3 Advanced methods for sensitivity analysis

7.3.1 Is local sensitivity analysis appropriate for your ML pipeline?

7.3.2 How to address the interactions between ML pipeline stages

7.3.3 Should I use design of experiments?

7.3.4 One common objection you might encounter

7.3.5 How to analyze the stage that produces data

7.3.6 What types of sensitivity analysis apply to my project?

7.4 How your AI project evolves through time

7.4.1 Time affects your business results

7.4.2 Improving the ML pipeline over time

7.4.3 Timing diagrams: How business value changes over time

7.5 Concluding your AI project

7.6 Exercises


8 AI trends that may affect you

8.1 What is AI?

8.2 AI in physical systems

8.2.1 First, do no harm

8.2.2 IoT devices and AI systems must play well together

8.2.3 The security of AI is an emerging topic

8.3 AI doesn’t learn causality, only correlations

8.4 Not all data is created equal

8.5 How are AI errors different from human mistakes?

8.5.1 The actuarial view

8.5.2 Domesticating AI

8.6 AutoML is approaching

8.7 What you’ve learned isn’t limited to AI

8.8 Guiding AI to business results

8.9 Exercises



Appendix A: Glossary of terms

Appendix B: Exercise solutions

B.1 Answers to chapter 1 exercises

B.1.1 True/False questions

B.1.2 Longer exercises: Identify the problem

B.2 Answers to chapter 2 exercises

B.2.1 Short answer questions

B.2.2 Answers to the scenario-based questions

B.3 Answers to chapter 3 exercises

B.4 Answers to chapter 4 exercises

B.5 Answers to chapter 5 exercises

B.6 Answers to chapter 6 exercises

B.7 Answers to chapter 7 exercises

B.8 Answers to chapter 8 exercises

Appendix C: Bibliography

What's inside

  • Where to invest for maximum payoff
  • How AI projects are different from other software projects
  • Catching early warnings in time to correct course
  • Exercises and examples based on real-world business dilemmas

About the reader

For project and business leadership, result-focused data scientists, and engineering teams. No AI knowledge required.

About the author

Veljko Krunic is a data science consultant, has a computer science PhD, and is a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt.

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