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Moving Beyond Artificial Intelligence Pilots to Achieve AI at Scale

Scaling artificial intelligence can create a massive competitive advantage, but it’s not enough to invest in cutting-edge technologies and algorithms. You need to rewire decision making and operations to extract value—and invest in human capabilities to make it stick. At BCG, we refer to this as the 10, 20, 70 rule.

The pioneers of AI at scale—the companies that have scaled AI across the business and achieved meaningful value from their investments—typically dedicate 10% of their AI investment to algorithms, 20% to technologies, and 70% to embedding AI into business processes and new ways of working. In other words, these organizations invest twice as much in people and processes as they do in technologies.

When companies underinvest in people and processes, they quickly lose momentum with AI. That’s because it’s deceptively easy to launch a series of successful AI pilots. Without the right approach and focus on change management strategy, it’s nearly impossible to scale AI across the business.

Are You Making the Most Out of Your Relationship with AI - Gradient

Are You Making the Most of Your Relationship with AI?

A recent BCG-MIT Sloan Management Review study suggests that in order to achieve significant financial benefits from their machines, companies will have to look beyond automation—and focus instead on learning and organizational transformation.


How We Work with Clients

We help clients quickly launch and scale AI-driven initiatives using a variety of techniques, including machine learning, large-scale optimization, and simulations. Our approach—built on lessons from hundreds of client engagements—is to think big, start small, and grow fast. With this framework, companies deliver results in weeks or months, rather than years.

Think Big


Start by setting ambitious business objectives, targeting large value pools, and identifying capability gaps. Our AI consulting teams zero in on the initiatives with the highest potential impact.

Supporting expertise and offerings:

  • Our Data Capability Maturity Survey establishes benchmarks so companies can precisely assess their data maturity and AI capabilities against those of their peers.

Start Small


Select high-value use cases, launch focused pilots, then build, test, and iterate. Using an agile, sprint-based approach, cross-functional teams drive change in an integrated way.

Supporting expertise and offerings:

  • Our use case acceleration tool allows AI use cases to go live in as little as 6 months and have a major P&L impact in as little as 12 months.
  • Source AI, a BCG product acquired by DataRobot, helps data scientists write code in unrestricted ways and allows organizations to build industrial-grade AI solutions.
  • Our rapid AI app and prototype development tool, dais, ensures results are delivered quickly and right to users’ fingertips.

Grow Fast


It is crucial for organizations to build the digital and human capabilities needed to sustain and scale their AI strategy. Companies should be prepared to develop new ways of working, create opportunities for reskilling and upskilling, reimagine processes to facilitate true human–machine collaboration, and deploy a robust AI architecture.

Supporting expertise and offerings:

  • Our responsible AI approach bridges the gap between overarching AI ethics principles and tangible strategies companies can take to access the untapped value of leveraging AI responsibly.
  • Our data analytics platform, part of BCG’s data and digital platform offering, accelerates use cases from proof-of-concept to companywide rollout.
  • Our Build-Operate-Transfer methodology allows clients to build internal capabilities, both digital and nondigital, to generate long-term AI advantage while delivering value for the organization along the way.
  • Lighthouse, BCG’s high-frequency data and analytics platform, allows companies to understand rapid shifts in demand, enabling dynamic planning and resource allocation for AI in business.

AI at the Core of Your Business

Our AI consultants, working in hybrid, cross-functional teams, ensure that companies have the full range of expertise to drive a companywide digital transformation. Here are just some of the capabilities we bring to AI-at-scale engagements:

  • For AI strategy, we leverage deep domain experts as well as digital and analytics strategists.
  • To drive use cases, we engage product owners, data scientists, data engineers, machine learning engineers, and AI architects.
  • To deliver data and analytics, we deploy product owners, data engineers, and platform and cloud architects.
  • To ensure fast execution, we activate agile coaches and scrum masters, project managers, business analysts, and subject matter experts.

Learn More About Our Impact in AI

Using AI to Detect Imminent Health Risks

Using AI to Detect Imminent Health Risks

Using AI to Detect Imminent Health Risks

Reducing Operational Complexity with AI

Reducing Operational Complexity with AI

AI Tools Bring Transparency to Company Spending

AI Tools Bring Transparency to Company Spending

Leveraging AI to Create Personalized, Automated Offers

Leveraging AI to Create Personalized, Automated Offers

Meet Our Artificial Intelligence Consultants

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BCG GAMMA - Advanced Analytics & Data Science Consulting

Growing business through applied data science and advanced technology.

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Companies are encountering the “AI paradox”: it is deceptively easy to launch projects with AI but fiendishly hard to reach scale.

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