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Identify and Select Pilot AI Use Cases

Go from idea to impact with a value-driven selection process.

  • AI has great potential but also carries great risk. How do you balance value and risk to deliver successful AI pilot projects to your organization?
  • There is a sea of use cases to choose from, and everything seems important! How do you determine which use cases are worth serious time, effort, and investment?

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • The formula for selecting a successful use case is simple. Scalable + value-aligned + right-sized + ready = successful use case.
  • Clarify what value you expect to realize and what criteria support readiness before you start to brainstorm use cases. A longlist aligned to value and readiness will help you arrive at a better shortlist faster.
  • Save a more detailed assessment of risks and rewards for your shortlist and use the assessment to pick a very small number of pilot projects as a starting point.

Impact and Result

  • Establish a core working group including business champions and identify who will own the pilot process from start to finish.
  • Give AI in your organization a purpose by aligning to your organization’s definition of business value.
  • Ensure you’re able to deliver on the project by evaluating your readiness to execute on each pilot.
  • Develop a streamlined process to evaluate potential use cases and select your first AI pilot project.

Identify and Select Pilot AI Use Cases Research & Tools

1. Identify and Select Pilot AI Use Cases Deck – A step-by-step document that walks you through how to optimally identify and select use cases for your first AI pilot.

Identify and select pilot AI use cases with the methodology outlined in this blueprint. This storyboard will help you develop a longlist, establish the core working group, define value and readiness for your organization, narrow down use cases to a shortlist, evaluate value and readiness, conduct a SWOT analysis, and select the shortlisted use case to be piloted.

2. AI Pilot Project Shortlisting Tool – A tool to help you select AI pilot use cases.

This tool will help you document your selection process and present the case for a pilot. You can reuse the tool to support an iterative process to continuously collect and review new use cases.

Identify and Select Pilot AI Use Cases

Go from idea to impact with a value-driven selection process.

Analyst Perspective

Irina Sedenko

Irina Sedenko
Research Director, Data & Analytics
Info-Tech Research Group

Mark Tauschek

Mark Tauschek
Distinguished Analyst & VP Fellowships
Info-Tech Research Group

IT leaders are being inundated with demand for AI use cases. Since the release of ChatGPT 3.5 in November 2022, generative AI has hit the mainstream. With this rapidly increasing awareness has come immediate demand from business units and departments in organizations of all sizes across all industries. This is a golden opportunity for IT to deliver value by helping organizational leaders understand the “art of the possible.” IT leaders that can help identify and select the AI use cases that can offer value to the organization quickly will be recognized as innovators.

The challenge will be developing a systematic approach to identifying, evaluating, and selecting the pilot use cases that can deliver measurable value, be implemented quickly, and scale to production if proven valuable. You’ll need an approach to catalog the longlist of AI use cases, determine organizational value and readiness, narrow the longlist to a shortlist, and select one or two pilot use cases that can be implemented and demonstrate value quickly.

IT leaders must take advantage of this opportunity to lead and work with the organization to deliver measurable value and demonstrate that it can move beyond a trusted advisor to a recognized innovator.

Arzoo Wadhvaniya

Arzoo Wadhvaniya
Research Specialist
Info-Tech Research Group

Andrew Sharp

Andrew Sharp
Research Director
Info-Tech Research Group

Executive Summary

Your Challenge

Common Obstacles

Info-Tech’s Approach

You’ve been asked to identify and select practical, valuable, and right-sized pilot use cases for AI on behalf of your organization. There’s a large pool of ideas, and you must:

  • Get input from the business on potential use cases.
  • Align use cases to your business and IT strategy.
  • Select the best use cases from among the many available options.

It’s difficult to identify a pilot because:

  • You don’t have a methodology or a process in place to arrive at a shortlist.
  • You haven’t established criteria necessary to select use cases that would add value to your business.
  • You’re unsure of the readiness of your organization to pilot AI technologies.

Follow Info-Tech’s methodology and fit-for-purpose tools to:

  • Give AI in your organization a purpose aligned to business value.
  • Develop an iterative, structured, and reusable process to identify, rationalize, and prioritize potential AI use cases.
  • Select a single pilot project.

Info-Tech Insight

Pick a use case that is right-sized and ready to go, aligns to organizational value, and can be scaled rapidly if the pilot succeeds.

Scalable + Value-Aligned + Right-Sized + Ready = Successful Use Case

Your challenge

This research is for organizations that want to:

  • Collect and define use cases for AI from across the organization.
  • Evaluate proposed ideas based on alignment to business value and readiness to execute on them.
  • Build a systematic approach for use case prioritization.

A systematic approach aligned to value and readiness will help you maximize the material benefits of AI by accelerating the process of deploying and embracing AI organization-wide.

Leading AI organizations use a systematic approach to successfully scale more than twice as many AI use cases as average companies.1

The image contains a screenshot that demonstrates the success of scaling.

1. "Scaling AI Pays off..." BCG, 2023

Deploy these three tactics from leading AI companies to accelerate AI adoption

1 2 3

Carefully consider value when choosing AI use cases based on corporate priorities. Consider creating a specialized team to structure and accelerate scaling.

Ask yourself: Do we track the use cases in the pipeline against clear objectives and key results?

Adopt a consistent execution model, with agile build and validation cycles for AI use cases. The development of minimum viable products (MVPs), which add features and users as they are scaled and incorporated into the operating model, begins with prototypes that gather early end-user input. Use cases and associated operating models are eventually implemented throughout the entire organization.

Ask yourself: Do we have a systematic approach that prioritizes scaling of use cases based on value?

Set up an enablement role to make sure that as new AI applications are developed, they are accessible to the teams across the organization that require them. The enabling function may in some cases assign specialized teams to develop any lacking capabilities.

Ask yourself: Do we have identified roles that can continue to identify missing features after deployment?

Source: "Scaling AI Pays off..." BCG, 2023

There are many potential use cases, but you may only have time, skills, and funding to run one pilot. Where can you best drive value?

Your Challenge:

AI has great potential but also carries great risks. How do you balance value and risk to deliver AI pilot projects to your organization?

The capabilities, costs, and challenges of AI, as well as the approaches to AI, are evolving rapidly. How do you manage risks?

Educate key stakeholders on AI technology fundamentals with support from Info-Tech.

Assess use cases in the context of your organization’s risk appetite.

Involve cross-disciplinary stakeholders in brainstorming and decision making.

Align to organizational goals and clearly define the “why” – the purpose of the pilot.

Keep the pilot right-sized and focus on making something work.

Evaluate your readiness to pilot and scale.

Be ready to walk away from pilot projects that aren’t delivering expected value.

Info-Tech’s Approach

1. Gather a longlist.
Identify potential use cases with input from business and IT stakeholders.

2. Cut to a shortlist.
Quickly sort by value and readiness to identify a shortlist of five or six ideas.

3. Select a pilot.
Conduct a focused value-readiness exercise to identify one or two pilot use cases.

Implement a pilot AI use case.

Structure your selection process with Info-Tech's AI Pilot Project Shortlisting Tool

Streamline the evaluation and selection process.

Discussion List tab.

The Discussion List tab helps the working group sort use cases into different quadrants.

Summary tab.

The Summary tab provides the average value-readiness score and ranks the use cases accordingly.

Scoring Scales tab.

The Scoring Scales tab provides criteria to rank the use cases.

Download Info-Tech’s AI Pilot Project Shortlisting Tool

The benefits of using this shortlisting tool include:

Time Saved
Automate the initial screening process, saving significant time for the working group by quickly filtering out unsuitable use cases.

Track and evaluate a large volume of potential use cases. Grow as needed with additional use cases identified from across your organization.

Objective Evaluation
Apply consistent evaluation criteria to all use cases, reducing bias and ensuring fair assessment aligned to organizational value and readiness.

Info-Tech's methodology for selecting pilot AI use cases

Step 1. Develop a longlist

Step 2. Cut to a shortlist

Step 3. Select your first AI use case


  • Create a working group and identify AI champions from each area of the business.
  • Identify key elements of value and AI readiness for your organization.
  • Identify a longlist of AI use cases.
  • Work with AI champions to initially narrow down the longlist in terms of suitability, readiness, and value of use cases.
  • Conduct a voting exercise with the working group to prioritize high-value, high-readiness use cases for AI.
  • Do a deep dive on the value and readiness of use cases on the shortlist.
  • Summarize your findings and select a pilot project.

Step Outcomes

  • A longlist of documented AI use cases.
  • An identified working group to support the selection process.
  • A shortlist of five to six high-value, high-readiness use cases for AI.
  • Ideas developed, socialized, and prioritized.
  • First use case selected and approved.

Guided Implementation

What does a typical GI on this topic look like?

Step 1: Develop a Longlist Step 2: Cut to a Shortlist Step 3: Select a Pilot Project

Call #1: Review Info-Tech’s methodology, discuss prerequisites for this project, identify roles in the working group, and review approaches and tools for building a longlist.

Call #2: Discuss how to run a voting exercise to cut your longlist to a shortlist.

Call #3: Develop value and readiness scoring scales. Conduct a detailed assessment of your shortlist. Select a pilot project.

A Guided Implementation (GI) is a series of calls with an Info-Tech analyst to help implement our best practices in your organization.

Insight Breakdown

Pick a use case that’s right-sized, aligns to organizational goals, and can be scaled rapidly if the pilot succeeds.

Use Info-Tech’s AI Pilot Project Shortlisting Tool to evaluate value and readiness and develop a shortlist of use cases.

Give your AI a purpose
Your AI strategy and current exploration activities should closely align with the strategic goals and drivers of your organization. The key question you should be asking is not “What can AI technologies do?” but rather “What can they do for us?” and “How much would we benefit from AI if we were to invest in it?”

Empower a working group
Establish a core working group including technical experts and departmental champions. The right team matters – this group will brainstorm, collect, evaluate, and select AI use cases from across the organization and will own the process from start to finish.

Define value and readiness before you brainstorm a longlist
Clarify what value you expect to realize and what criteria support readiness before you start to brainstorm use cases. Building a longlist aligned to value and readiness will help you arrive at a better shortlist faster.

Converge everyone’s longlists
Long to short ... that's the long and short of it. Use a quick sorting exercise to cut from a longlist to a shortlist.

Evaluate the shortlist
Use a systematic and structured process, including a detailed value-readiness analysis and SWOT exercise, to evaluate the expected risk and rewards of pilot use cases on your shortlist.

Identify and Select Pilot AI Use Cases preview picture

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

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Irina Sedenko

Arzoo Wadhvaniya

Andrew Sharp

Mark Tauschek


  • Adam Crate, Vice President, Business Services, Grade A, Convergence Networks
  • Kevin McKenzie, Manager, Technology Services Group, Optimus SBR
  • Doug Wilson, Senior Vice President, Technology & Data Practice Lead, Optimus SBR
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