Early adopters of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are reaping a range of economic benefits. Is your business ready to gain those benefits?
The promise of AI & ML has been around since the 1990s. But, in those years of mainframe domination, AI and ML could not mature into a viable business model. The lack of fuel, i.e., data which was available in small amounts crippled the potential of AI.
But, today, in this digitally transforming world, businesses and customers are churning out unimaginable amounts of data like never before. Petabytes to Zettabytes of data is being created on a daily basis. From web browsers to mobile apps and even Internet of Things, every inch of the physical world is becoming a data creating surface.
The enormous increase in computing power is also enabling data analysts to process the large volumes of data that is being created. This facilitates creating near-perfect data models that Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning systems can work on.
Needless to say, this is the right time for businesses to jump into the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning bandwagon to take their businesses to new heights. Data and analytics are critical to business strategy. But, analyzing static data is inadequate for today’s businesses that have to deliver ‘right now’ experiences for customers who want to get things done at the moment. AI and ML systems that can analyze and make predictions on real-time data is the future.
In fact, a joint survey by McKinsey and Harvard Business Review of 3000 executives cash-rich and data-driven organizations like Amazon, Google, Baidu, Tesla, Pinterest, etc. have already poured in $26 billion to $39 billion in 2016 for research and development of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning systems. In fact, the investment volume has tripled since 2013.
Hence, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can be rightly called the next tipping point in digital transformation. They would force businesses to rethink their digital strategy from one that mobile-first strategy to one that is AI-first.
The benefits that such a change in digital strategy can provide are outlined as below:
Streamlined Manual Processes Using RPA
RPA, which stands for Robotic Process Automation can deliver on several fronts including reduced labor costs, better quality of production and a continuously improving operating cycle. RPA uses logic-driven software programs like bots which perform programmed activities on structured data. In fact, it has been proven to augment decision-making in capital markets.
RPA systems can do simple human tasks on any technology applications like desktop programs, ERPs, legacy databases, etc. Their prime benefit is that they can be integrated into existing legacy systems in quick time thus saving precious resources otherwise required for programming, deploying and quality assurance. Also, RPAs being primarily software programs can be instantly upscaled or downscaled as per business requirements.
Some real-world examples of RPA include a virtual IVR that can tell bank balances, a system that can generate a replacement for lost credit cards, first-time patient registration in hospital systems, employee onboarding, citizen change of address processing for government agencies, etc.
Increases Productivity At Reduced Costs
Customer service is believed to be one function where AI and ML will have maximum positive influence. AI and ML systems will take the form of chatbots that can respond to customer queries about product suggestions, how-to-use instructions, renewing subscriptions, lodging a malfunction complaint, etc.
At present, businesses employ customer support personnel who resort to manual methods to record and resolve a customer complaint. Unfortunately, the entire process is time-consuming and often leads to errors if staffs are not trained properly. Labor attrition also creates a gap in customer complaint communication from one department to another which creates a bad image for the business as a whole.
Chatbots can converge the customer service into a chat interface thereby increasing productivity. Also, chatbots can handle dozens of customers simultaneously, unlike human assistants who can take only one customer at a time. With chatbots becoming commonplace, inbound calls to customer care centers will drop dramatically leading to massive cost savings.
Improves Customer Experience At All Levels
With digital invading all levels of customer experience, starting from discovery to decision-making, businesses are forced to reimagine their customer experience maps. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning systems jointly can help meet the sky-high expectations that customers have for products and services.
Machine Learning systems which are built on data models can analyze customer personas and offer them personalized product suggestions. Visual product recommendations that are similar to the product that is being currently seen or one that complements the look of an already selected product are all works of ML systems. In e-Commerce, AI and ML can help customers discover new products that are relevant to their previous shopping history and spending habits.
There are still many ways how Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will help businesses upgrade their customer experience. Eventually, this heightened experience would lead to more sales volumes.
Getting Ahead with AI and ML
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning bring to businesses several capabilities that will drive their growth. It will streamline manual operations for better results, automate routine operations for productivity and accuracy and augment the efficiency of customer service through intelligence.
The impact of AI and ML will not restrict to automation but would have a strategy-level positive impact that would transform the business into a data-driven enterprise. Even century-old business conglomerates like General Electric are in the works to create an AI workforce that will shift their business performance to the next level.
All these trends happening in the AI and ML space indicates that they are not any passing fads. They are powerful technologies that can transform businesses completely.
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