Armanino opens AI lab

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Armanino LLP, a top 25 firm based in California, has opened an AI Lab. The lab is aimed at demystifying artificial intelligence for executives looking to implement the technology in their businesses.

Months in the making, the Armanino AI Lab will provide a practical way to approach integrating AI in business using the three core components of the technology: predictive analytics, robotic process automation (RPA) and virtual assistants. Members can attend peer-to-peer meetings; have exclusive access to product and vendor reviews; connect with Armanino’s data scientists, AI developers and consultants; learn about AI best practices; and execute on AI proofs of concept.

“AI today is really popular at a headline news level, but when you have conversations with executives, there are not a lot of details, information or even vision that is shared on that level,” said Tom Mescall, partner-in-charge of Armanino’s consulting practice. “CFOs are grappling with how they should even be thinking about AI, and what will be some of the impacts on their business or industry specifically.”

Armanino spent months researching the most common business cases for implementing AI across the enterprise from finance, supply chain, customer experience and talent management to compliance and privacy. This business case research resulted in providing members with access to ready-to-deploy, proof-of-concept AI models that can be modified and customized to their specific organizational needs.

The lab will also have a data scientist on staff. As Mescall explained, not every organization will have the resources to invest in a data scientist on their own staff, so the AI Lab will enable them to access this expertise at will.

Armanino will be providing software reviews as a part of the lab’s work, evaluating the AI components of different accounting-related software products that claim to incorporate the technology. The AI Lab will assess the AI component, how it works and what benefits organizations can glean from it.

“Software companies make lots of claims, but not everyone can live up to them,” Mescall said. “Software companies that deliver business apps may embed some AI capabilities in them, and we want to make sure we understand what's being embedded, how to take advantage, what value is it really providing, and then tell our clients what AI capabilities they own that may not have been deployed yet.”

Referring to a survey conducted by Armanino at the firm’s Artificial Intelligence Executive Roundtable, Mescall said that more than 75 percent of companies believe AI is fundamental to their future success, but the majority of those aren’t taking advantage of AI technology today and don’t know how. “Armanino’s AI Lab will serve as a one-stop shop that enables its members to harness the opportunities that AI offers without being left behind by their competitors,” he stated.

In the same survey, more than 75 percent of executives ranked predictive analytics as most important to their organizations. Eighty-three percent believe their data infrastructure will need further improvement to achieve optimal results from their AI initiatives. As of today, 60 percent of event attendees have not embarked on their first initiative.

“These results indicate a huge opportunity for businesses to join Armanino’s AI Lab for use case identification, model proof of concept, education and technology reviews,” said Mescall. “We are happy to help our client begin their AI journey.”

Armanino has already accepted several existing clients into the Armanino AI Lab and will continue to add more members. To submit a membership application, visit Applications are screened based on organizational needs and the kind of AI projects a business is considering.

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Artificial intelligence Cognitive computing RPA Predictive analytics Armanino