With tech giants announcing “AI-first” business models and investment in intelligent technology skyrocketing, it may come as a surprise to learn that only 20% of surveyed enterprises are actually implementing AI this year.
While there’s a prevailing sentiment among business leaders that they have missed the AI boat, the reality is that the boat is still in the harbor, and there’s still plenty of room aboard.
Early adopters of any technology do bystanders a great service by working out the kinks. Now that products have been tested and consumers introduced, contemporary businesses braving the AI waters will be known historically as the first generation to wield this promising technology to revolutionize industries. Certain companies are expecting returns on their AI investments to reach 30% in the coming years.
Everyone knows about Amazon’s Alexa, Netflix’s recommendation engines, and IBM’s Watson, but what ways are other businesses implementing AI?
1. Consumer anticipation
Historically, consumer intentions remained mysterious until the point of purchase. With the surge of digital data generated by cookies, pixels, search history, and social media behavior, businesses gained access to unprecedented potential for insight. Predictive AI models can filter through these data lakes to uncover the motivations, intentions, and habits of potential customers.
Good AI requires good data, and the data currently available is better than ever. Companies across all sectors are using predictive AI in marketing research, on websites for product placement, and in retail environments for pricing and promotions. Rather than waiting for customers, businesses are using AI to anticipate customers’ next steps in order to place themselves in the right place, at the right time, and for the right price.
2. Relationship building
Customer relationship management tools (CRMs) allow professionals to index, document, and track the progress of their relationships with customers. This may include phone calls, meetings, purchases, payments, and social media interactions.
CRM platforms now offer AI fusion products to enhance this process. Using algorithms familiar with best practices, these AI systems provide insight and guidance to busy professionals and help evolve leads into new clients or users while simultaneously maintaining ongoing relationships through thoughtful, timely communication. This type of AI application is known as an “off the shelf” product because any business can gain access without hiring AI professionals or doing a custom build.
3. Customer service
Customer service is possibly the most public-facing, contemporary use of AI outside of smart devices. While business intentions are rooted in the quest for efficiency and improving customer satisfaction, many customers are wary of voice bots unless thoughtfully executed.
Companies are finding that success lies in the balance. While reports indicate that 85% of customer service will be AI-powered in the near future, 15% of remaining interactions will be humans helping resolve the more complex issues.
Using natural language processing, AI is capable of interpreting everyday language to help reach resolutions. While most automated systems haven’t reached Siri-level comprehension, they are quickly gaining ground and allowing businesses to cut significant costs.
4. Task automation
One of the most common and beneficial ways companies incorporate AI is through task automation. The goal is to offload repetitive and easily replicated tasks in order to decrease labor costs and allow employees to focus on higher-order problems.
Examples could be human resource departments using AI to narrow candidates by reviewing resumes, or payroll departments using AI to process deductions and cut checks. Both of these tasks require significant time and predictable decision-making, which make them perfect for AI. Machine learning allows companies to gain new insights and continuously improve their processes.
While many services, like Google and Indeed’s job portals, have AI built into them, companies are also investing in bespoke products to automate industry-specific applications – such as reviewing mortgage applications or monitoring complex machinery. Wall Street investors are also using AI to monitor the stock market.
AI automation is occurring across all sectors of the economy, and while many fear being replaced by robots, as it stands AI creates more jobs than it eliminates and works more as a supplemental enhancement for employees, automating tasks humans prefer not to do.
With the entire world shifting online, companies are adopting security measures to protect valuable information— such as employee data, customer data, documents, and communications. However, cyberattacks are growing in volume and audacity, challenging consumers’ trust.
AI allows enterprises to identify threats and protect against malware, viruses, and cyberattacks. By implementing AI-powered dynamic authentication frameworks, businesses are able to restrict access from potential threats. Using pattern recognition and machine learning, AI software is making companies less vulnerable to malicious activity.
Applying AI case by case
Bolstering performance using AI is an attainable goal for any business, whether it’s through off-the-shelf products or customized projects. Staffing an entire AI team is no longer a barrier to entry, vendors and consultants are readily available to guide projects of all sizes.
It’s true that the boat hasn’t left the harbor, but with recent technological advancements, companies are certainly boarding at unprecedented rates. At some point, the crew will cast the lines.
For more on enterprise AI statistics and uses, read our blog on seven facts about enterprise AI.