EPE Partners understands that Artificial Intelligence is a set of multiple technologies that work in tandem to let machines sense, learn, comprehend, and act to augment human activities. This technology was first proposed in the year 1956, at a conference at Dartmouth, and since then, the optimism associated with AI ran high that the machines were estimated to carry out human functions within the following 20 years.
Unfortunately, the funds dried up and this technology entered a phase known as "AI winter". However, things have changed drastically since then, as 2011 saw IBM's Watson system surpassing its human counterparts in the popular game show, Jeopardy.
AI engines have now graduated from gaming and are seeking jobs in businesses. Today, AI engines are actively contributing to valuable human endeavors. With applications in numerous industries, AI is expected to become a disruptive technology over the next 5 years.
"Business Insider" estimates approximately 85% of all the customer interactions to be handled without humans by 2025. With phone calls, chats, e-mails, and social media comments being efficiently handled by automated systems, which replicate human functions, this seems totally achievable. Today, AI is changing the face of e-commerce in multiple ways. AI rapidly identifies the patterns and clusters in the customer purchase behavior, past credit checks, and various other common threads. By analyzing millions of such transactions every day, AI will then help in targeting offers to a single customer, thereby providing them a personalized experience.
"Conversica" estimates that close to one third of the marketing leads are not followed up by the sales staff, which means these pre-qualified potential buyers just fall through the cracks. AI prevents this by successfully retargeting potential customers. Next, with the sales processes moving beyond time-consuming methods, consumers are now influenced by different types of media. By integrating AI into CRM, businesses can customize solutions and craft sales messages that reach customers just on time.
Major international airlines struggle to keep up with the logistics and customer interaction, as they literally interact with millions of people every day across real-time market and social media. This is exactly where AI can be of great help. Intelligent systems and Chatbots can be used for connecting with the customers to inform and update them about the flight schedules, by providing personal notifications. This will have an overall positive impact on the brand momentum.
Data present in vast cloud databases is useless unless its extracted and processed for patterns and trends. Artificial Intelligence in businesses helps in mining for unique "gems" hidden in these datasets, by quickly and efficiently processing these billions of data points. The best part is, AI is not static and quickly learns and adapts.
The rise of AI technology has led to the automation of work, marking the new-age business revolution. Right from robots working in factories to automated hotel bookings, the theme remains constant with the only difference being - where exactly AI works. With a growing trend in the automation of routine work, AI is quickly automating several routine business processes. After all, which business owner would not want technology that forgoes coffee, lunch, and smoke breaks?
Several businesses have harnessed the power of AI Chatbots for creating chat-based business solution for consumer communications. One such example is Clickatell Touch, which uses a Touch-card technology to combine bot-driven interactions and online chat with the workflow automation.
With massive, inexpensive cloud-based data becoming highly accessible, low-cost storage being easily available, and algorithms that sift quickly through huge volumes of data, corporates now seem convinced about the potential of AI. According to the "2019 Technology Vision" Survey conducted by Accenture, 70% of the corporates admitted about making significantly higher investments in AI technologies. Besides, IDC, an analyst firm, predicts that cognitive systems software market and content analytics will more than double by 2025, from US$4.5 billion to US$9.2 billion.
AI systems quickly pull out useful insights from massive datasets, which is otherwise a complicated and time-consuming process. By integrating their CRM with AI, businesses can have the complete customer data and have useful insights pushed out to make intelligent and timely business decisions. Today, business decisions such as 'which customers to focus on' and 'the best-possible offers', are made using AI. In addition, implementing AI in business also helps in identifying the most potential leads and opportunities.
AI systems are capable of capturing signals, which are often missed by the sales executives looking out for correlations in the existing customer data. For instance, if AI-integrated customer support tool predicts customer view based on their recent interaction, then businesses can use this information to build stronger customer relationship and reduce the churn. Besides, as soon as a business realizes that customers are not having a great feeling about their company, immediate proactive measures can be taken to change such perceptions, rather than waiting for the customers to say that they are unhappy. Therefore, by anticipating outcomes, businesses will know what to focus on, which is a major help of AI in small businesses.
AI systems take care of all the repetitive and routine tasks, leaving resources to focus on tasks that add value to their business. This serves as a game changer for SMBs, as they often have limited resources. Tasks like steps to route new queries and logging notes in CRM can be automated, so that employees can focus on tasks that move the business needle. Therefore, using Artificial Intelligence in small businesses serves as a transformative move.
Structured data, which comprises of data which can be analyzed and interpreted just accounts for 20% of all the information available to us. The rest 80% of the available data is unstructured, and can be of great use if it can be leveraged to draw valuable business insights. For instance, an energy company planning to lay a gas pipeline will have numerous queries, about the area, what was built before, problems confronted in the past, etc., the answers for these will be present in training manuals and old inspection reports placed on inaccessible shelves. AI helps businesses in turning unstructured data into actionable intelligence.
Although, it is hard to say how exactly AI will be used in the future and what all applications will be possible over the next decade, AI and deep learning are expected to eliminate tedious day-to-day business tasks.
With a continuous development in AI technologies, the bandwagon will only get more streamlined and faster. The sooner you switch the better it is, as the business benefits of artificial intelligence are numerous. However, if you are planning to apply AI technology to your business, then the first step would be to figure out the opportunities and identify long and short-term business strategies, before appropriately implementing this emerging solution to reap its benefits. Therefore, a technology-rich, people-first, and business-oriented approach will help businesses in effectively integrating intelligent systems to streamline operations and grab new growth opportunities.