The integration of AI and ML algorithms leads to optimization, modernization, and automation. For example, as more efficient analytical tools become available (sales forecasts, customer behavior analysis, etc.), more tasks can be handled automatically through machine learning algorithms. It means that ML models can improve productivity and simplify business processes.
According to the latest NATO STO research, the integration of machine learning algorithms will stay on the radar in the following 10-20 years. Now, there are many firms that assist with AI and ML model implementation. With such an excessive choice of consultants nowadays, it is rather difficult to find a competent machine learning expert.
Why Do You Need a Machine Learning Consultant?
A range of firms provides AL consulting services to entrepreneurs, traders, governmental structures, and commercial companies. The main aim of such consultants is to show in detail all available machine learning capabilities that meet particular project goals and expectations.
It is worth noting that AI development practices constantly change. So, the really competent experts in machine learning need to keep track of the latest updates in ML modeling, computer vision, deep learning, etc. Additionally, a reliable firm can show their completed solutions alongside their profound theoretical understanding.
Machine Learning Consulting Firm Selection – Where to Start?
Note that some companies make AI solutions their specialty in one or several specific directions. For example, these consultants are competent only in the field of retail machine learning or security ML models, like face recognition. You need to search out a firm that will be able to look at your matter professionally. For example, if you need qualified consultation on a retail ML system, your ideal machine learning consulting firm needs to have skills in:
- Predictive analytics
- Supply chain management systems
- In-store operations
- E-commerce, etc.
It is difficult to achieve great results when your consultant is not up to speed regarding your requirements and challenges. So this is your first step to take — to find the vendor that proves knowledgeable in your particular case.
Just an AI Strategy or Full-on Machine Learning Development?
It is not enough to find relevant keywords on your potential AI vendor’s website. You need to understand what competencies to look for in advance. If you are searching for an ML-strategy consultant, your ideal firm would prove having enough specialists skilled in corporate solutions, roadmapping, and technology advisory.
If you need to develop some specific algorithm, the company you are searching should have a dedicated team of data science engineers, UI/UX designers, business analysts, and other specialists. Experienced data science developers will provide a ready-made ML system at the end of your cooperation.
Carry On Your Selection: Study Your Candidates in Detail
If you have determined several candidates for your area of focus, it is time to pick the most appropriate consultant among them.
Experience, Portfolio, Case Studies
First, you need to find out more about the experience and portfolio of case studies of the possible consulting firms you might count on. All reputable companies are proud of their knowledge, skills, and realized projects. You might want to request client references to see if your shortlisted candidates are really good at cooperation.
What Goes into Real Practice?
We recommend analyzing the websites and social media accounts of your candidates. Search for reviews, former clients’ testimonials, etc. If you found some suspicious signs or extremely anonymized descriptions of the machine learning consulting firm’s experience, do not select this one. True expertise that is worth your money should be easily proven with facts.
Importantly — Set Aside Some Time for Interviews
First, you can ask some questions during a phone conversation. Make a plan with particular issues you need to clear up. Here is a list of the most important questions for you to take into consideration:
- What is their staff composition? Does this firm provide a project manager for better interactions and faster results?
- How do they arrange the process? Are they transparent at each stage of their work? Do they document all the requirements and provide clear reports on various issues?
- Has this firm already completed similar projects? Can they show the portfolio with case studies?
- Can they offer a fixed pricing tag for their consulting services? You need a predictable result, yet per-hour billing might drag out the terms your project.
- Do they consider the option of various partnership models (full-time specialists, project-based individuals, outcome-based cooperation, etc.)?
If you are satisfied with their answers, arrange a personal meeting. This way you will see how your potential consultants behave on the spot.
In-Person Meeting with the Winning Candidate
Your ideal consultant should demonstrate a very responsible approach to your problems and goals. If the firm representatives ask questions and discuss them trying to go to the root of the matter, this is a sign of a professional behavior. If you see some kind of miscomprehension, do not think that the mutual understanding will be established later.
When visiting your potential vendor’s premises, you can also learn more about their work ethics, office conditions, equipment, and data security measures in place, as well as meeting your future team members to see if you establish a good interpersonal contact with them. In case of offshoring, cultural fit is also important, but it can only be checked during an on-site visit.
To Sum Up
Following these recommendations, you will find a reliable consulting agency that has all the tools, skills, and knowledge to carry out your project.