‘’AI is one of the most important things humanity is working on. It is more profound than, I dunno, electricity or fire.’’ – Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google.
Today, almost 420 million searches happen through AI-based voice assistants, chatbots are helping people in simplifying their day-to-day lives and AI is transforming industries like automotive, healthcare, etc. in ways unimaginable just a decade ago. Clearly, as technology advances, AI is going to be as ubiquitous as electricity in our lives. Prudent business leaders know how critical AI is going to be, for businesses to stay competitive and efficient and hence, they are boosting their investments in the technology. No wonder, the AI market is set to grow at a rate of 52% by 2025.
But AI is not just transforming industries; it is also slowly and steadily leading to more efficient business processes. A report from Accenture states that, by 2035, AI has the power to increase productivity by 40 percent or more, for enterprises.
Here is how AI is boosting efficiency in business operations and transforming business processes one function at a time:
With the advent of the digital medium marketers have to no longer rely on dicey focus groups to analyze what their customers want and run expensive TVC campaigns to engage with their customers. AI is further proving to be a bliss for the marketing function by helping them to optimize their campaigns for and communication for every penny that is spent.
Here is how AI is finding multiple applications in the marketing function:
- Improved search functions – For almost everything consumers want their first point of looking for a product is via Google search. Google is continuously improving their search AI to come up with relevant results. Tools like Y Combinator-backed RankScience, use thousands of A/B tests to determine how best to positively influence search engine rankings. Technologies like Elastisearch are helping e-commerce players by populating the best possible results for a search query.
- Customer segmentation – AI is improving the efficiency of the marketing function by helping them refine customer segmentation and reaching out to the right customers and understand them better. E.g. Companies such as AgilOne are helping marketers to improve and optimize email and website communications, by analyzing, continually learning from user behavior.
- Recently IBM launched its new IBM Watson AI Marketing Suite aimed at improving marketing efforts by personalized targeting, improved programmatic buying and insightful campaign analytics. The suite contains three AI-based solutions – IBM Watson Ads Omni, IBM Media Optimizer, and Predictive Audiences.
HR and Recruitment
AI can be immensely useful in taking away a lot of burden of the HR team by helping them with tasks like scheduling meeting, filtering candidates, reducing attrition etc. Here are various AI-based tools that are helping the HR function:
- HiringSolved – an AI-powered recruitment tool that enables diversity during selection.
- Mya, an AI recruitment tool provides quick responses to applicants about their application and other information related to it and helps HRs building a positive communication with prospective employees and fasten the process at the same time.
- IBM Watson is working towards building such a predictive model for companies that can predict attrition patterns amongst employees.
Customer service and customer engagement
According to Gartner, by 2020, 55% of all large enterprises will have deployed at least one bot or Chatbot to improve the efficiency of their interactions with the customers. However, one of the major drawback of the chatbots if the very fact that they are ‘bots’ and users seek human interaction while interacting with a brand. Enterprises are using bots which can work in tandem with their human counterparts.
Finance and Accounting
AI is helping enterprises not just improve the efficiency of the customer-facing functions but also the internal functions alike. One such function is the Finance and Accounting function. Some organizations are using AI to simplify their finance and Finance and accounting process are –
- At Deloitte, auditors use AI tools with natural language processing capabilities to interpret thousands of contracts or deeds and hence fastening the pace of the process and also ensuring an error-free process.
- At Crowe Horwath, data scientists have harnessed technology to tackle complex billing problems in the healthcare industry. The team used machine-based learning to sift through enormous but disparate billing systems of its healthcare clients to flag accounts with discrepancies.
According to futurist and a business strategist, Bernard Marr, –
‘’The key to the digital transformation of accounting and financing is pairing people and machines together allowing each one to contribute in areas they are best skilled at. Machines can efficiently and accurately analyze a tremendous amount of data, they can spot patterns in the data and learn how to treat various kinds of data.’’.
AI is slowly becoming one of the critical technologies that are not just transforming industries by pushing innovation but also has immense potential in improving the efficiency of operations and have a positive impact on the ROI of businesses. However like any other newbie technology AI also has its challenges, while the giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc. are able to pump in monies to experiment using AI, the cost of adoption for smaller enterprises might be a challenge for smaller enterprises. Another impediment to the adoption of AI can be lack of resources, infrastructure etc.
However, as businesses work towards finding ways to deal with these challenges they remain bullish about the technology. And, with the potential AI has shown us, soon it will become as ubiquitous as electricity for people as well as businesses.