30 Ways How AI Will Change Your Business
Artificial intelligence has the power to change our society dramatically. Within the coming years, AI is likely taking over many of the jobs currently done by humans. Not only repetitive work can be taken over by AI, but also more difficult jobs such as customer service representative, journalist, chef, driver or team leader. It seems that many of the functions of existing organisations can be taken over by artificial intelligence, thereby of course, also creating many, yet unforeseen, jobs. As a result, organisations will look completely different in the future. Therefore, let’s see how AI will change your business. AI will:
- Accelerate administrative processes — administrative processes are often mundane tasks such as coordinating meeting requests, booking travel or making notes during meetings. A virtual assistant can do many of these tasks. The more advanced AI will become, the more tasks these virtual assistants can perform.
- Drive innovation — AI can help advance your R&D activities by providing insights into your customers’ (latent) needs, combined with how they use your products. That information can help to speed-up innovation
- Augment your employees to make them more effective and efficient — AI can provide your employees with the right information at the right moment to make them more efficient and effective, but also exoskeletons can augment your employees to make repetitive hard work easier. Ford has been rolling out exoskeletal technology globally to help employees who perform repetitive overhead tasks. Such AI skeletons can help employees accomplish accuracy and precision even when faced with immense complexity.
- Automate your customer service department — conversational AI, a.k.a. chatbots — can significantly reduce the number of customer service representatives and the more advanced chatbots become, the more they can automate many, if not all, tasks generally performed by the customer service department or IT department. For example, JP Morgan Chase has implemented chatbots in their IT department to handle 1.7 million requests per year, doing the work of 140 people.
- Change your company culture — currently, most organisations are pure human-to-human networks, where humans collaborate and organise activities to achieve a particular goal. How humans collaborate and interact, depend on their company culture. However, if collaboration shifts from human-to-human networks to human-to-machine and increasingly machine-to-machine interactions, it changes the company culture, especially when algorithms are supervising work.
- Communicate with your customers and employees — just like it can automate your customer service department, conversational AI can also communicate directly with your customers and colleagues, whether by providing automated targeted advertising messages to your customers or answer questions for your colleagues. In the future organisation, AI will directly communicate with your customers and employees.
- Control your financial activities — obtaining a complete overview of an organisation’s financial operations is often complicated and requires the work of an accountant. In addition, invoicing, procurement and audits still require manual work. However, AI can do most of these tasks. Already, there are AI-powered invoice systems that can automate invoice processing, automate procurement and make it completely paperless as well as perform a completely automated audit of an organisation’s financial transactions. In the future, a real-time overview of an organisation’s financial status can be achieved with a push of a button.
- Create new jobs — AI will not only eliminate a lot of jobs, but it will also create a lot of new jobs, some we cannot even think of. Most of these jobs will be related to creating, controlling and auditing the algorithms of an organisation, developing the required robotics and making sure that algorithms across organisations and industries can talk to each other without violating customers’ privacy.
- Eliminate language barriers across your business units — Instant translations have been around for a while now, and although Google Translate has significantly improved in the past years, it still makes mistakes. However, in the coming years, AI translations will become a lot more accurate, enabling instant and perfect translations between languages. For organisations that operate across borders, it will eliminate language barriers and improve communication.
- Empower your employees at all levels — when organisations provide more people with access to knowledge through big data analytics, power is distributed more equally, enabling empowerment within an organisation. As such, AI can provide employees with better information and knowledge that enables them to make better decisions.
- Enhance your (digital) security — Artificial intelligence will improve your (digital) security significantly, as it is much better to monitor a certain (digital) environment than humans can. Smart CCTV cameras combined with sophisticated pattern recognition across networks will allow organisations to better find anomalies that could indicate a breach of security.
- Ensure data privacy for your customers and employees — artificial intelligence does not mean the end of privacy. On the contrary, artificial intelligence can ensure a new level of privacy by using a technique called differential privacy. This means that AI adds noise when analysing a data set, thereby preserving a dataset’s statistical features while limiting the risk that an individual can be identified. It was first used by Apple, but the easier it becomes to implement differential privacy, the more organisations will apply it.
- Expand your marketing activities — the holy grail of marketing is to offer the right product at the right time for the right price to the right customer via the right channel. Hyper-personalisation has long been seen as the best chance to reach your customer in the information overflow that reaches consumers daily. Advanced deep learning and machine learning techniques now enable organisations to achieve this by finding patterns in large data sets and incorporating the context to tailor the right message.
- Fight cyber-attacks and malware — AI offers our best chance to fight cyber-attacks and malware as it can incorporate many more datasets and information than humans can. Often, to discover and stop a cyber-attack, the context plays an important role, and small anomalies can provide great information about an imminent attack. AI will enable organisations to move from a responsive behaviour to predictive behaviour, stopping cyber-attacks before they can occur, instead of fixing the damage after they have happened.
- Forecast your maintenance requirements — predictive maintenance enables organisations to save a tremendous amount of money. For example, an energy company with offshore windmills can use sensors and predictive maintenances to know when a windmill requires some sort of repair, instead of routinely flying by helicopter to do maintenance check-ups. It will not only save organisations a lot of money, but it will also make products safer as they are fixed before they break down.
- Improve the customer experience across channels — a personalised omnichannel experience will improve customer engagement, and it will improve the experience customers have with your organisation. AI can contribute to a better social media experience, enable faster customer service and transform the customer experience by incorporating the context. With AI, you can service your customers through their channel of choice and provide a consistent brand experience.
- Increase productivity — AI-powered machines can autonomously improve the efficiency of manufacturing processes, considering cycle times, quantities used, lead times, temperatures, downtimes, errors and market demand to improve the output of the machine, whether this is a burger-flipping robot or an advanced robot within in solar panel factory. When AI takes over, it will also enable us to limit miscommunication among departments and organisations, thereby further increasing productivity.
- Match the perfect candidate for the right job — human resources can benefit significantly from AI as finding the right candidate for the right job is still very difficult. An interview or a test is only a few data points that tell only so much about a candidate. However, with AI, we can now gain a better understanding of how a candidate will behave in certain situations. For example, a test will not only provide insights into whether the candidate has the right knowledge, but also provide insights into how a candidate answers questions. That information will offer more insights into the skills and behaviour of the candidate, who can then be better matched to the available jobs.
- Offload routine work from employees and automate routine processes — routine tasks and processes are the first that can be automated, ranging from everyday physical tasks within factories to routine back-office administrative and financial activities. Using robotic process automation technology, AI can perform these tasks faster and better than humans can. After all, a robot will never get tired or require a day off.
- Optimise your company’s investment activities — when determining your next investment, more information is better. However, humans can only incorporate so much information, thereby sometimes missing relevant information. AI is capable of integrating the full context, as long as data is available, allowing organisations to optimise their investment activities.
- Personalise the marketing message — the right message at the right moment for the right customer will drive sales and increase demand. Creating these hyper-personalised messages can now be done by AI, which creates them on the fly. This not only saves a lot of time, but it will also improve the results of your marketing messages.
- Predict consumer buying behaviour — using AI, systems can simulate hundreds and thousands of possible production outcomes or consumer buying behaviour. These scenarios will help organisations to understand market demand better and match that to production outcomes to ensure the right number of products are made for the right amount of demand.
- Recommend better/new/other/additional products and services for your customers or employees — recommender systems have been around for many years now, and they have proven their success. The more data becomes available; the better recommender systems will become, resulting in an increase in sale and/or productivity.
- Reduce risks across business units — Risks within organisations exist because organisations do not have a complete overview of their environment and context. With big data analytics and advanced pattern recognition, it becomes possible to gain a better understanding of your next project/customer/investment, thereby reducing the risk you face.
- Scan your physical inventory — using drones combined with image recognition, organisations can scan their physical inventory a lot faster than when done manually. Already, Walmart uses sophisticated drones that fly through their warehouses to determine the available stock. What would take a human a month to complete can be done in 24 hours.
- Shape your sales activities — AI not only improves your forecasting, but it will also reduce customer churn and enhance your understanding of your (potential) customers as well as offer better leads, thereby allowing you to send better offers based on customers’ habits and (latent) needs. Besides, AI can help the sales team better prioritise and automate many of the administrative tasks they usually do, resulting in more effective sales activities.
- Streamline your decision-making processes — the best decisions consider as much information as possible. However, humans are limited in the amount of context they can include in their decisions. In addition, humans are driven by money, sex and status, which could influence their decisions, while existing AI is logical and probabilistically driven only, thereby better able to make an independent decision. As long as the algorithm is not trained using biased data and considers the entire context, AI can significantly improve your decision-making processes.
- Supervise your blue-collar workers — in the not too distant future, AI will become the supervisor for many jobs, whereby workers no longer directly report to a human manager, but to an AI. Already, we see the first signs of this trend happening at companies such as Uber, where the algorithms determine where the driver should go, how many passengers he/she should pick-up and what the reputation score is based on their driving behaviour.
- Train your other algorithms — recently, Google launched Cloud AutoML — a set of several machine learning techniques that help developers create and train deep-learning algorithms. Building, training, and optimising AI requires a deep understanding of the code and the mathematical formulae underlying the algorithm as well as extensive testing and tweaking of the algorithm. Now, this work can be done by AI, and while the technology is limited for now, it will likely improve over time, thereby allowing organisations to use AI to train AI.
- Transform corporate governance practices — artificial intelligence is fundamentally different from human intelligence and, therefore, requires different corporate governance practices. After all, an artificial agent has different objectives and drivers than human agents. If we want to prevent AI from harming us, we should thus transform our corporate governance practices to solve the Principal-Agent problem when dealing with an artificial agent.
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to change how we organise activities and run our businesses completely. AI will affect every part of your business and to prevent from lagging behind, it is important for organisations to start experimenting with AI as soon as possible. After all, incorporating AI within your organisation takes time and requires substantial investments. Therefore, start small, develop an MVP within a small part of your business to become familiar with what AI can do for your organisations. Once you have a good understanding of how AI can improve your organisation, you can expand and make AI an important part of your business.