How Artificial Intelligence could change the game for your business
Technology allows all types of businesses to grow faster, produce better products or services, and serve customers more effectively. Without it, a business won’t survive in today’s highly competitive environment.
The challenge for business is to keep pace with the rapid evolution of technology.
In a survey done by IT services firm Accenture, of more than 3,100 IT and business executives worldwide, 86% of the respondents acknowledge that the pace of technology change will increase at a rapid rate in the next three years. This confirms that if your organisation has no plans to explore emerging technologies, you could be left out of the game.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the emerging technologies that has the potential to affect your business in a positive way. AI encompasses intelligent software, systems, and machines that can interpret its environment and takes action. Typical areas where you can see AI evolving include game development, natural language understanding and synthesis, computer vision, problem solving, learning, and robotics.
In Accenture’s latest survey, it revealed how businesses are preparing for AI. 70% of executives they’ve surveyed said they are making significant investments in AI-related technology compared with two years ago. Whilst 55% of global respondents said they plan to use machine learning and embedded AI solutions extensively.
What you should know is that apart from robotics, AI has been used in many different ways by organisations namely:
1. To enhance business forecasts through analytics to improve the bottom line and mitigate risks. (e.g. understanding the different patterns of customer demands)
2. To drive better customer experience management platforms that unite the online and offline experience
3. To increase business agility and allow the business to respond rapidly to changes without losing momentum.
4. To reduce complexity of systems and operations via automation for greater efficiency
5. To experiment with new products and services
6. For fraud detection which could be done through data mining to classify, cluster, and segment the data and automatically find associations and rules in the data that may signify patterns related to fraud.
Spotify’s business is purely hinged on AI. They are using “deep learning” to improve the way people find and listen to music. Through the help of AI they figure out users’ interests by seeing what else they and others are interested in.
Netflix leverages on AI technology for their content. They use an algorithm to predict programs that their subscribers might be interested in.
If you think Artificial Intelligence is only for big business, you are wrong. SMEs can take advantage of this technology too. If you have been using business intelligence and analytics tools in your business, then you’re already using one type of AI technology. Some use it to respond to their customers by turning data into high level service such as helping financial advisers make better decisions. Others depend on it to draw insights and action items from a data set like mimicking in-store experience and deploying it online without the help of a data analyst.
If you are ready to explore more uses of AI the following steps will help you uncover opportunities to transform your business.
Step 1: Identify the artificial intelligence and analytics capabilities your business uses to provide a capabilities and gap analysis. Understand the advantages that AI provides, from making decisions to self-evolution and discovering opportunities for innovation. Explore the ways you can develop your business to take advantage of these.
Step 2: Take an inventory of labour-intensive business processes and identify appropriate opportunities to invest in automation and machine-learning capabilities. These are necessary to improve operational capabilities and scale analytics.
Step 3: Identify applications that require frequent and manual updates, rapid scaling, data extracts, and/or a high degree of personalisation. If an application relies on data, classify it as a top candidate for artificial intelligence, such as machine learning for self-evolution.
Step 4: Map these examples/use cases against your current business processes and corporate strategy to prioritise specific opportunities – to catch up or gain new advantages.
Step 5: Cultivate your data talent: develop a plan to build, buy, and/or partner to support your data and your automation know-how.
Step 6: Map the implications of tasks being automated – the changes to roles, organisation needs, processes and skills. Determine what needs to be done fundamentally differently once certain automated tasks are removed from the human side of the workforce.
Step 7: Create a “People First” strategy for transitioning the organisation, training on new skills, and implementing the changes
As a savvy business owner, it’s your job to keep an eye on the latest technology trends and innovations. You must take advantage of technologies that can steer your business in the right direction.