A Hitchhiker's Guide to AI in Business
By Pawel Stopczynski, R&D Director of VAIOT
The moment AI enthusiasts have been raving about for years is almost here—soon, AI will be ubiquitous. Yet many businesses are slow to the punch.
A NewVantage Report on Big Data and AI indicates businesses are in a holding pattern, waiting to see others successfully deploy AI on a broader scale and work out the kinks before they enter the ring. While that may appear as a safe route, it’s actually harmful as the companies end up missing out on a major competitive advantage and positioning by not implementing AI earlier on. Successful deployment depends on how well companies can fit AI into their existing enterprise solution architecture and the architecture of business processes; the extent to which the client’s organization and other surrounding business processes are digitized; how agile and innovative the company is; what the enterprise solution architecture looks like, and how many processes and applications need to be adjusted on the company’s side.
During the 90’s and 2000’s, digitization was often not done in a bottom-up way. Instead, companies would remain analog and simply add a layer of digital technology on top. Incorporating AI elements into some areas over others serves as a great start in tapping into the endless potential of the technology across any and every area of business.
AI helps humans do their job better
AI has gotten a bad rap for potentially taking jobs away from people, but really it hasn’t. If anything, the best results come from pairing human intelligence with machine intelligence. Humankind has never before worked with digital tools with such a level of responsiveness towards users, and vice versa. AI has, and will continue to, radically alter how work gets done and who takes over which components. Instead of replacing the human workforce, the technology’s larger impact will be in complementing and augmenting human capabilities.
In terms of general business processes, AI improves and/or enhances flexibility, speed, accuracy, scale, decision making, and personalization. It takes over tedious and monotonous tasks without running the risk of human error, while allowing humans to focus on tasks that are more meaningful and impactful.
Many of the largest companies have long taken note of how AI can transform their industries, operations, and workforces through collaborative intelligence, and there are many unique ways they chose to optimize their processes, products, and services with AI.
AI presents extraordinary benefits to numerous business functions
Numerous companies worldwide are doing their part to become AI-trailblazers, in an effort to differentiate themselves from the competition through enhanced business functions.
The Customer Experience
When it comes to the customer experience, AI plays a tremendous role in upping the ante on the marketing and sales front. For marketing, in addition to helping develop/execute on strategies and analyze data in a flash, AI can help sort customers according to interest or demographic, and help target ads to them based on browsing history, while also powering recommendation engines. AI can also amplify efforts in sales, regardless of the product or service. That’s because AI helps improve sales forecasting, predict customer needs, and improve communication- as seen with the increased popularity of chatbots and virtual assistants across a multitude of industries, from eCommerce, to law, to insurtech, and more.
In the IT space, AI is known for automating many routine processes. It can help identify issues so the IT teams can proactively fix them before any systems could go down or even get hacked. Depending on the industry, AI for IT operations can also improve system performance and services. AI can ensure regulatory standards are met in terms of energy efficiency of services and/or facilities, and help in maintaining security of data, facilities, team members, and consumers. Many elements of quality control can also be taken over by AI, which can flag areas of concern before costly issues come up
Accounting and finance
AI frees human accounting and finance professionals from repetitive tasks, so they can focus on higher-level activities while AI can focus on reducing errors. In accounting, AI can digest and analyze large volumes of data with greater speed and accuracy than any human. It can also interpret legal documents by extracting key terms and analyzing them. In the finance industry, AI can be used to examine a wide range of accounts, from cash, to credit, to investments, and analyze a person's overall financial health. This can be done while keeping up with real-time changes in activity, and then creating customized advice based on new incoming data.
Without AI, companies can miss out on major returns
Many companies have yet to invest in or deploy AI systems, despite the huge potential advantages in terms of computing power and productivity; and they have a lot to lose. The UK economy is set to miss out on £315bn by 2035 due to the lack of adoption of artificial intelligence technology.
Without the benefits brought on by AI, companies risk falling behind on the international stage in terms of the financial dividend it promises. Failure to innovate tech processes negatively impacted even the most widely successful of companies, including the likes of Xerox, Polaroid, AOL, Palm, and Hitachi.
Now is the time for businesses to foster a partnership between their existing workforce with AI counterparts to improve productivity, enhance the experience in the workplace, and drive smarter decisions. By passing more of the “dull work” to AI, team members can be imaginative, use more interpersonal skills, and think critically in their roles. Every industry, even the most low-tech ones, can tremendously benefit from the assistance of AI. In the post-pandemic world, AI may even be the saving grace for companies that are in desperate need for a tech transformation.
About the author: Pawel Stopczynski is the Researcher and R&D Director at VAIOT, where he is leading and executing research and development activities. He was previously the R&D Director and Co-Founder at Veriori, and at UseCrypt. Since 2004, Pawel has been involved in the development of eighteen IT projects in Poland and the UK, focusing in the private sector. He was a speaker at several IT conferences, and the organizer of two TEDx conferences. For his work, Pawel was awarded a gold medal at the Concours Lépine International Innovation Fair 2019 in Paris, and a gold medal of the Minister of Defense of the French Republic.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.