How Your Business Can Benefit from Artificial Intelligence

How Your Business Can Benefit from Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence. It’s the trend-du-jour.

Everybody’s talking about it, implementing it, or bragging about it. From startups to enterprise organizations, companies across the board are feeling the pressure to add AI to their products or services. And we’re seeing more and more examples of artificial intelligence in our everyday lives.

Artificial intelligence technology is having a major impact on practically every industry. Retailers are now using AI-enhanced chatbots to respond immediately to customer questions and even help suggests additional products. Major breakthroughs are happening in healthcare because of machine learning applications that are finding new treatments and cures for disease. Manufacturing and e-commerce businesses have revolutionized their supply chains with AI-backed automation, increasing the speed of delivery as well as keeping customers updated on shipping and delivery times. 

How can your organization benefit from artificial intelligence? It really depends on your particular product and niche. Here are some of the many ways AI can transform your business, as well as a few risks to watch out for if you choose to implement the technology.


Automation

Contrary to popular belief, automation (and artificial intelligence for that matter) is not about replacing humans. It’s about freeing humans from menial tasks so they can focus on more important business priorities, like strategizing, planning, marketing, and sales. In fact, McKinsey predicted that AI would have the biggest impact on marketing and sales in its report entitled “Notes From the AI Frontier: Applications and Value of Deep Learning.” 

There are numerous ways in which different industries are implementing artificial intelligence through automation. Retail stores are wowing customers with intelligent robots that deliver items to fitting rooms via smart mirror technology. Marketing teams across all domains depend on artificial intelligence for targeted campaigns that help them reach the right customer with the right message at the right time – all instantly and automatically. And online e-commerce sites are increasing their average sale price with programs that know precisely which additional items to suggest to customers at checkout. 

The power and precision of artificial intelligence combined with the speed and efficiency of automated processes is not just a win-win for businesses. It’s more like a magic bullet. 


Customer Service

Today’s consumer expects instant gratification and instant responses. AI-enhanced chatbots are making it easy for businesses of any size to provide their customers with this level of service.  

Chatbot development has become so advanced that consumers can barely distinguish between a bot and a human. And in most cases, they would rather deal with a bot. That’s because chatbots provide instant answers, are incapable of being rude, and are available 24/7. Chatbots also reduce employee costs, as you don’t need to have a call center staffed with a large number of people.

Another way AI is improving customer service is through personalized shopping recommendations. By studying previous buying behavior, internet search terms, and even GPS location technology, companies with AI-enhanced apps make it easier and more convenient for consumers to buy more from them.


Human Resources

It takes a lot of time, effort and money to hire the right people. Recruiting and retaining employees is one of the areas in which companies spend the most. The combination of AI and automation is helping to change that.

From automated resume screening solutions such as Skeeled to employee coaching and mentoring powered by IBM’s Watson at MentorCloud, artificial intelligence is giving humans more resources.


Predictive Analysis

We live in a big data world. We have more information available to us now than at any other time in history. Of course, all of this info is only useful if we know what to do with it and how to benefit from it.

Artificial-enhanced forecasting and prediction solutions are helping companies understand their customers better as well as improving business practices. Data mining has become a niche tech-trend altogether, with industries such as banking and finance, healthcare and medicine, and even education benefiting from AI analytics for forecasting and modeling.


Business Optimization

Artificial intelligence has the power to truly revolutionize your business processes. Instead of hiring an expensive outside consulting firm to come in and tell you areas for improvement, you can now simply utilize AI to do it for you.

Solutions such as Salesforce’s Einstein can optimize your sales pipeline. Marketo’s predictive content solution can help you fine-tune your marketing outreach. And there are numerous AI-enhanced applications to handle your company’s finances, benefits, payroll, training and even office management.


The risks of artificial intelligence

Sure, artificial intelligence is exciting and can provide a huge boost to your bottom line when implemented correctly. But the technology doesn’t come without challenges.

If you’re itching to implement AI, carefully consider the following risks before making any final decisions.


Data difficulties

Yes, we live in a big data world. But sometimes, there might not be enough of a certain type of data for AI to work with, or the quality of the data coming in may be flawed. For machine learning to be truly beneficial, it requires a lot of data in order to have enough test cases to learn from and make predictions. 

If you don’t high-quality and abundant data sources, you’re probably not ready to add artificial intelligence. 


Skills gap

You may love the idea of adding artificial intelligence to your business processes, but you probably don’t have the qualified staff necessary to implement it or use it correctly. Not all companies can afford to hire high-level data scientist or machine learning experts, and even if they can, the pool of talent to choose from is limited.  

It’s important to look at the process of implementing AI holistically and to plan its deployment strategically. By either having your in-house developers get the training they need way ahead of time or working with highly skilled software development team, you can overcome the skills gap.


Security concerns

Security is a top priority no matter what type of new technology we’re talking about. Artificial intelligence adds even more worries when it comes to customer concerns about their privacy and sensitive information. Consumers are afraid of hackers. A lot of consumers are equally afraid of artificial intelligence.

With more and more cyber-attacks, phishing scams, data ransoming, and other types of hacking happening on a daily basis, you as a business owner have to be even more diligent in your security procedures. And you have to communicate to your customers how you are going to protect them when adding new technology.

Hackers are adapting to new types of security procedures and they are getting better and better at hacking. Some are even developing their own types of artificial intelligence programs and applications to steal other people’s data.

If you do choose to add AI to your current product or solution, be prepared for some push-back and angst from your customers. Have a plan in place to educate them before implementation, listen to their feedback, and act accordingly.


Conclusion

Eventually, artificial intelligence will be imbedded in all software solutions and tech products and will be as common and accepted as the internet. If you are thinking of implementing AI in your business, it’s best to start with a thorough review of your current processes to determine where the technology would be the most beneficial.

You can certainly start small by adding a customer service chatbot on your website or using an AI-powered analytics solution to help with planning and forecasting. The point is that you don’t have to immediately add a new product to your business plan just because it’s the latest trend. Do your due diligence, learn everything you can about the new technology, and then you will be able to reap the rewards without wasting time, effort, and most importantly – money.




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Couldn't agree more on the "not a magic bullet" part! I'd be interested in hearing more about the risks of A.I. as it seems that it's a topic that not many people talk about. Cheers!

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