Oakland Group

AI Consulting

Down to earth, hands-on and driven by a love of data-enabled transformation, our people have delivered radical results for some of the UK’s leading businesses. So, whether you’re just starting your AI journey or preparing to embark on a major transformation, our expert consultants are here to help. We offer a range of flexible consulting services tailored to your needs.

AI Tech Advisory

Businesses investing in AI technologies are spoilt for choice. There’s a huge array of powerful technologies with new ones hitting the market almost daily. AI models and services like Chat GPT, Co-pilot and Azure Cognitive Services are some of the biggest names. But what do they do? Which technologies are right for you? How do you implement them and ensure you get value, and how do you sensitively integrate this new technology with your existing technology, people and processes?

Our experts can help.

With deep technical knowledge and an independent perspective, we’ll guide you through the maze and find what works for you.

These are the services we offer:

AI Technology Selectionharness Oakland’s expertise to demystify AI technologies. Pragmatic and value-led, our structured assessment will guide cut through the noise and find the AI technology that your business needs.

AI Architecturedeeply integrate AI solutions into your existing data and technology landscape with the support of our architects. We’ll craft a vision and roadmap that puts AI at the heart of your transformation effort.

AI Engineeringbuild, deploy and support powerful AI technologies in your IT estate with the support of our expert engineers. We’ll work hand in hand with your teams to make change happen fast.

Your AI Transformation Partner

We don’t just stop at the technology. Oakland is dedicated to driving enterprise-wide transformation. We partner with you to develop bespoke AI strategies and solutions, ensuring your entire organisation can be one step ahead by harnessing the full potential of Artificial Intelligence. Our services are designed to guide you through every step of your AI journey, from strategy development to implementation and beyond.

 

Data and AI Strategy

Craft a comprehensive roadmap that aligns with your business goals, ensuring a clear path to AI integration and growth.

Custom AI Solutions

Design and implement high-impact AI projects that serve as models for future initiatives, demonstrating the power and potential of AI in your organisation.

AI Governance

Design and implement robust frameworks for AI governance, ensuring ethical, compliant, and effective AI usage across your enterprise.

Data and AI Platform

Build scalable, secure data platforms that support AI capabilities and services, providing a strong foundation for your AI initiatives.

AI Adoption and Culture

Foster a culture of AI readiness through comprehensive training and change management programs, empowering your team to embrace and leverage AI technologies.

Why Choose Oakland?

Tailored Solutions

Tailored Solutions

With over 40 years of making business change stick we understand that every business is unique. Our bespoke AI strategies and solutions are designed to meet your specific needs and challenges.

Expertise and Experience

Expertise and Experience

Our team of AI consultants brings deep industry knowledge and technical expertise, ensuring you receive the highest quality service and support.

End-to-End Partnership

End-to-End Partnership

From strategy to implementation, we partner with you throughout your AI journey, providing ongoing support to ensure sustained success.

Ideal for Strategic Change and Capability Building 

Our services are perfect for enterprises undertaking major strategic changes or building robust AI capabilities. We help you stay ahead of the curve, ensuring you are well-positioned to take advantage of emerging AI technologies and maintain a competitive edge

Let’s Get Your Data Talking with our Free AI Workshop

AI is hugely exciting but confusing. It’s so easy to get wrong. We hear from so many businesses who have created proof-of-concepts that have created initial excitement but then quickly run out of steam. Others just aren’t sure where to start.

With our AI consulting services and free AI workshop, you can discover how the latest generation of AI technologies (like Generative AI) can leverage your data and streamline your business operations.

The Oakland AI Workshop

This free half-day workshop will explore what AI could do for your organisation, delving into various techniques, use cases, and implementations. We’ll look into the potency of natural language processing, machine learning, and innovative approaches that redefine the landscape of artificial intelligence. Recognise the pivotal role of use cases in demonstrating AI’s value, conducting a thorough analysis of your business to pinpoint areas where AI can make a substantial impact.

Meet our AI experts

Joe

Joe

Chris

Chris

Zareene

Zareene

FAQs

So, what is Artificial Intelligence?

In simple terms, AI involves using algorithms and software to carry out tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as understanding natural language, recognising patterns in data, and making predictions or decisions based on data.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have been in use for decades. However, recent developments have fuelled accelerating awareness and adoption:

  1. Availability of algorithms: advances in algorithms allow AI to perform thought-like tasks with greater accuracy, from image and speech recognition to natural language processing and decision-making.
  2. Volume and velocity of data: the digitisation of many aspects of life and business resulted in a huge increase in data availability, providing fuel for AI.
  3. Cloud computing has made accessing powerful computing resources and large storage capacities on demand easier and more affordable, lowering the barrier to AI adoption.
  4. Commercial Applications (and ROI): with the advent of commercially affordable and accessible AI services (e.g., ChatGPT, Google Gemini, Azure Cognitive Services), the adoption and interest in AI have exploded. Moreover, far more businesses are beginning to showcase tangible gains.
  5. Data and IT transformation: AI is only possible with the right data, strategy and infrastructure. As more leaders invested in IT modernisation, integrating AI into operations has become a natural progression.

What is Generative AI?

Recently, Large Language Models (LLMs)    such as Chat GPT have gained huge publicity. LLMs represent a huge advance in AI’s ability to process and interpret natural language. This allows them to work with far less structured data, such as free text and cope with far more ambiguous instructions than previous generations of AI.

Powered by LLMs or other technologies such as computer vision, the latest generation of AI can perform a wide range of repeatable, thinking-based tasks that previously required humans to complete them. This opens up a wide range of new possibilities for businesses to improve their performance and productivity.

What is an Intelligent Agent?

At Oakland, we’ve created an innovative approach to AI development, centred around ‘Intelligent Agents’. Intelligent Agents are AI programs powered by large language models, but further equipped with tools, task orientation and careful training. This means they can reason. Intelligent Agents can interpret, plan and execute complex tasks, even in fast moving business environments.

Intelligent Agents can take powerful AI capabilities to the heart of client problems, without any need to distort processes to accommodate them. With Intelligent Agents, organisations can build ‘process native’ AI solutions that are at home in the pace and complexity of their business. This means they will realise lasting value from the solutions.

How do I ensure a successful AI project?

Step 1: Be choiceful when choosing the problem you want to solve

  • Focus on acknowledged issues: Look for problems your organisation already recognises and wants to solve.
  • Target tasks with high impact: Identify repetitive tasks that affect many people..
  • Consider data availability: Make sure your organisation has the data and process information required for your chosen problem.

Step 2: Clearly Define the Problem

  • Precise articulation is key: Be specific about the problem you want to AI to address.
  • Technical expertise matters: Collaborate with technical specialists to ensure your solution is feasible and uses the right AI approach.

Step 3: Think Beyond the Problem

  • Solution matters as much as problem: Consider how you want AI to solve your problem. Would a simple Q&A solution suffice? Or is a more in-depth approach needed for a real impact?
  • Imagine the “human” solution: Ask yourself, “How would I tackle this problem if I weren’t using AI?” This can guide you towards a more meaningful solution strategy.

What are the hurdles to implementing a successful AI project?

Whilst GenAI is genuinely ground-breaking and not just another new technology on Gartner’s hype cycle, it’s also not quite as easy as it sounds. Many of the clients we speak to may be thinking about their first GenAI project, or they might even have done a proof of concept by combining some of their data with some off-the-shelf AI tools.

This is great; it generated some excitement and gave everybody a demo that started to bring to life the power of AI to your stakeholders. But the questions that quickly follow are:

  • What next?
  • What is the ROI?
  • How am I actually going to make a difference with this?
  • How am I going to get value out of this technology?

It’s all too easy to get dragged into what Oakland calls the ‘proof of concept trap’. This happens when organisations get their first projects out there, and people start to become excited, but then that initial buzz of excitement starts to fizzle out. And then we almost go back to the start of that cycle. You have another idea you do another proof of concept. Everyone gets really excited, and then it fizzles out again.

This technology is really powerful, but a lot of companies aren’t making that next step, where they are really getting value and making a difference for their customers. So you need to look at the preparedness of the AI for working in your organisation. Your business is unique; you have your own process, your own challenges, and your own complexity.

So, really, the question that we’ve been thinking about here at Oakland is how do we get AI ready for you because your business is complicated, and you can’t wait for a huge digital transformation to get yourself ready for AI.

How to avoid getting stuck at the POC Level 

This is so common from the organisations we speak to, and we believe there are two main reasons for this:

Number 1

What we call the ‘imagination gap’ think really hard about the capability of the AI solutions that you’re building. If we put this into a human context, chatbots are a really powerful example of how AI can be put to work, but they’re just one example of a huge range of tasks that might exist in a business.

If you think about it, you had a new employee who came in, read all of your documentation, and then sat slumped in the chair until you asked them a question. They would answer that question and then slump back in their chair you wouldn’t be that impressed.

The same is really true of AI. Here at Oakland we’re really serious about activating the potential of this technology in a commercial context. We encourage all of our clients to ask, ‘How is it going to make a difference for me?’. That’s not to say there isn’t a powerful place for chatbots in service environments, but if you want to get to the big stuff and move the dial on the big problem your business is facing, you need to think beyond the chatbot.

Number 2

This comes down to the knowledge that you equip these AI solutions with, and the influence that you give them. The task orientation that you create around them, and the way you train and educate people to use them. So, we’re back to people, process, and technology. We know in our own lives that the technology that fits most seamlessly into what we’re doing is what we adopt and the ones that don’t, and the ones where you get friction everyone gets really frustrated with or they just ignore.

So that’s one part of it. The other part is thinking the right way about what the opportunity for my business is, and where does the value lie? You know, we’re all in the business of making money. Here at Oakland, unstructured data is the prize.

Take a simple stat from Gartner: 90% of the data that businesses hold is unstructured. It’s not in rows or columns, in a data warehouse or spreadsheets, or in audio files, free text, images, and photographs. Think about all the data you have safety reports, customer feedback, email correspondence. Your insights are all here, but it’s just been too expensive and time consuming to really analyse.

Suddenly, with AI you have these almost endlessly scalable virtual workers that you can use to access that data. If you can unlock this data, you can make huge gains.

Work out what business problems are costing you time, money, and customers. This isn’t the next blockchain. This is huge. The capability that is on offer is like nothing we’ve had access to before in a commercial environment. But you have to use it in meaningful ways to solve real problems.