Building Successful Artificial Intelligence Systems Using Strategic Assessments

By Thomas B. Cross @techtionary

As part of any development process for an artificial intelligence system, I would like to offer some thoughts on successfully achieving a viable business solution beginning with building a visual strategic customer assessment.

NOTE: Each assessment is unique to the customer and hence these comments are designed to provide an introduction, not indepth analysis of the each topic.  This is a 10-step process (not all included here).  If you want help in building Strategic Assessments, please contact me at cross@gocross.comAll 10-steps are included in MindMeld: CEO & AI ibook.

Building Visual Strategic Customer Assessments

Abstract: A strategic customer assessment is a systematic evaluation of ten key factors and presenting the findings in a means for action and deliberation. Focused on key customer trends, uses, mobile applications, technology and vision, the strategic assessment is designed to yield specific corporate tactical and strategic strengths and weaknesses. Once completed, specific tasks, functions, organizational, marketing, operational and technical tasks will be created.

Here are the first two steps:

1 – Customer – customer, customer – it is now and will always be about the customer. The simplest way to understand customer is that if you are not talking, being with, selling the customer to, your competitor will be. Or worse, customers will do nothing, not buy anything and not think about you either. If you don’t know anything about your customer or would-be customer, then go ask them. Not, a focus group, ask them as individual unique and a most-valued customer. What do they like, dislike, want improved upon and what-when they want to buy next. Everything that follows in this paper “circles back,” intersects or crosses back to the customer.

Assessment Process: Contact ten or more customers (including channel partners) at their location, not with survey’s or focus group but individually and personally by a senior consultant. That is, go see them and listen to what they have to say and most importantly, not sell them anything. Certainly ask about what they like, want improved but this is not a selling meeting but an information gathering session. After analysis of interviews we will determine if more are needed.


2 – Content – is simply the words or messages you use to communicate to the customer. Brand is the concept/image and will address that in a moment. Content is the message, the way you use the message and the way, the customer uses and thinks about what you are saying is the meaning of content. “Four score and seven years ago” sets the tone as an introduction to the message and “shall not perish from the earth” sets the tone for the end of the message. Your job is to say something like “Never was so much owed by so many to so few” and be as remembered by so many who have read these most famous citations. Content development uses by management (C-level, full-disclose and leadership), organizational (uses in web, print, etc.), distribution (via media channels and channel partners) and diffusion (common understanding and experience) are critical to “lifting all boats” and ensuring common understanding by all involved.

Assessment Process: Review and evaluate all relevant content in use and under development. The approach is to take an independent view “outside the forest” to analyze messages and determine key words/tags that are used internally and externally to develop “model messages.” For example, one company used a term so ingrained to them they didn’t realize the industry had moved passed the term and customers really didn’t understand what the term actually meant.
The following and others are examples of findings after the Assessment. Assessment findings show Acceptable performance levels and Alert areas for improvement.


Summary – Strategic customer’s assessments have been used successfully for more than twenty years. They have worked in building a strategy for more than 17 office parks, an effective educational strategy for colleges and universities in 10 states, a highly successful corporate economic development model, a capital expenditure (CAPEX) forecasting saving literally hundreds of millions, building a nationwide channel partner strategy and others. These business models can now be replicated faster, easier and more effectively with new social media tools and methods. This is just one kind of VS that attempts to bring many different thought concepts together. In our analysis AI must begin with bring together not one or a few concepts but global concepts to have meaningful value.