Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a buzzword for quite some time now, but many business analysts agree we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of this rapidly advancing technology.
From voice-powered personal assistants such as Siri and Alexa, to self-driving and parking cars from Google and Uber, AI continues to make its way into many aspects of our lives – and its proliferation is on track to exponentially increase in the years to come.
While the long-term implications of AI remain unclear and highly contested, what is becoming increasingly apparent is the need for businesses to adopt AI in order to stay relevant. In fact, 2018 is being heralded as “the year of AI”, in part because of the anticipated widespread adoption of AI in the workforce; AI implementation grew 60 percent in the past year alone, according to Narrative Science.
To understand AI’s value, it’s first important to note that you don’t need to be a tech giant or high-revenue company to yield results. In fact, as you’ll see below, embedding aspects of AI can be particularly beneficial for small and medium-size businesses.
With that in mind, here are three ways AI can help your business:
- AI Enhances Human Productivity
While headlines like to declare that AI will destroy jobs and replace workers, the fact remains that one of the most valuable aspects of AI is that it can help people work more efficiently – not eliminate people all together.
Think about how much time employees spend on repetitive processes and tasks, such as combing through data coming from ERP, payment processing, or business intelligence systems. AI can help automate such tasks by scanning that data, automatically performing transactions, and flagging issues for further review, thereby freeing employees to focus on more value-added work.
Businesses themselves have reported this first hand: according to a report from PwC, 54 percent of business executives say AI solutions implemented in their businesses have already increased productivity.
- AI Provides Easy Access to Data Insights
An alarming number of companies still haven’t tapped into their data goldmine. One of the most commonly expressed frustrations from executives is that “we have all this data but don’t know what to do with it or how to derive valuable insights.”
AI provides a solution by sifting through vast amounts of complex data, analyzing it, identifying patterns and uncovering insights that help companies make smarter, better business decisions. For example, the financial services industry is utilizing AI to organize, categorize and pattern large sets of financial data in order to provide more customized, tailored advice to clients.
To give you a sense of how valuable AI can be for data mining, consider this: AI can processes billions of data points in a matter of minutes.
- AI Improves Customer Service & Client Retention
Keeping customers happy is the crux of any business, which is perhaps why so many organizations are implementing AI technologies. In fact, improving customer experiences drives the majority of enterprises to invest in AI, according to a report by Teradata.
The reason is simple: AI is capable of significantly enhancing the customer experience by integrating AI software that offloads a lot of the monotonous work to virtual assistants and chatbots so employees can focus on more complex requests. For instance, we like Zendesk’s chatbot, which uses AI to help answer customers’ questions with content from the Zendesk Guide knowledge base.
AI’s inroad into the customer service realm is only expected to expand, as Gartner predicts that by 2020, 85 percent of customer interactions with companies will be handled by AI.
Simply put, AI is not going away anytime soon and businesses that aren’t taking advantage of all that AI has to offer will eventually be left behind. As AI technologies continue to mature and prove their worth, IT departments that have yet to adopt AI in some capacity will likely feel pressure to do so in order to stay competitive. As a report from PwC notes, 72 percent of executives think that AI will be the “business advantage” of the future.