Forget HAL 9000 of science fiction fame.
Rather than a sinister force that controls humans and steals jobs, artificial intelligence (AI) can actually help businesses achieve their goals by providing insights that go well beyond those we could gather even a few years ago by other means. Let’s take a closer look at how you can leverage AI to boost your business intelligence.
Traditional business intelligence has evolved from library research and manual number-crunching to using software and other digital services. Its purpose, however, hasn’t changed over the years: to “transform data into actionable insights that inform an organization’s strategic and tactical business decisions,” as CIO‘s Mary K. Pratt puts it. (1)
This focused data analysis helps businesses make tough decisions about current and future strategy—promising new directions to take the company—and about which products and services to cut. It can also find which areas of the business need to improve, identify slow processes, and identify waste.
When AI enters the business intelligence picture, it’s a game-changer. Because this technology is capable of reasoning, learning, and solving problems, it can not only organize data into categories, but it can also detect the reasons behind the numbers. That’s not all. Since it can solve problems, it can also suggest what alternate steps the company might take to achieve better results.
Those abilities, in turn, can help companies make more informed decisions, as Lilach Bullock points out in a recent Forbes article. (2) As AI grows in its analysis and interpretation abilities (and it can, since it can learn), it can discern patterns and other insights from data, allowing businesses to more accurately predict future trends.
Not only can it analyze, interpret, and predict, but it can do so lightning-fast. Just as traditional computers could perform complex calculations at speeds well beyond the capabilities of the world’s finest mathematicians, AI takes that speed one step further. It can recognize data patterns—and interpret them—spitting out recommendations along with the raw numbers.
Because AI has the capability to curate data to discover matches in different data, such as two sets of data in different formats that nevertheless refer to the same company, AI can help companies identify redundancies, as Thomas Davenport and Rajeev Ronanki point out in their Harvard Business Review article. (3)
This capability can identify orders for the same product from different suppliers, helping businesses, especially enterprise-level companies, cut down on or eliminate wasteful spending. Tracking down such waste manually would take more time than the savings are worth, but with AI, businesses can identify duplicate supplies quickly, without worries about paying overtime.
With AI’s accuracy and speed, taking inventory can take minutes rather than hours or days. Companies can better identify current shortages or gluts, predict future ones, and use analytics to prevent overstocking or understocking in the future. Combined with blockchain technology, AI can identify possible causes of contamination in shipments, given blockchain’s ability to timestamp every step along the chain.
AI’s ability to see and interpret patterns can help companies predict customer purchases so they can have the items in stock. With AI’s predictive capability, it can identify customers’ future needs, giving product development personnel ideas on what products they need to create to meet those needs.
On the other side of things, AI can red-flag possible fraud in both credit transactions and in insurance claims. Some AI programs can even detect possible safety issues in equipment, protecting its maker from future lawsuits.
AI-powered live chats and phone responses have transformed customer support—and even sales. For routine inquiries and troubleshooting issues, AI frees up the hands of support personnel for more complex issues that require a human touch. With its extensive database and fast processing speed, customers can have immediate answers to many of their questions.
When it comes to sales, AI’s predictive ability allows it to recommend other items that customers might want to complement their primary purchase, providing a low-pressure opportunity to upsell or cross-sell.
Recruiting and hiring new employees often brings an element of bias, no matter how hard hiring managers try to be fair. AI can screen for abilities, rather than some nebulous “cultural fit,” increasing the likeliness that the company won’t allow great employees to slip through the corporate cracks.
AI can, for instance, identify potential in that senior citizen that the millennial hiring manager might immediately rule out. Looking at objective factors alone, using AI can bring an element of much-needed diversity and expertise to the company. AI can’t smell that essential oil that the HR manager can’t stand, for example, so it won’t rule out a talented new developer that could catapult the company into new heights.
Using AI in marketing is one of the newest—yet most effective–uses of the technology on the market. Its predictive abilities allow it to assess a customer’s online behavior, past purchases, interests, and demographics to come up with product and content suggestions.
That ability allows businesses to use retargeting, native advertising, and search engine ads to show potential customers those suggestions, opening up new customer segments to turbocharge conversions and sales. When it comes time to scale your business through cutting-edge marketing, AI can help you get it done.
Not only can AI help marketers spur sales, but it can also help you differentiate your brand in a competitive market. With its deep data insights, it can identify factors that set a brand apart from its competitors—factors that its busy owners might not even notice.
Not only that, but AI’s predictive ability allows your business to identify new customer segments, as well as problems you can solve for those new segments that other companies cannot. That factor—more than anything else—will make your company stick out no matter how crowded the field.
If you would like to differentiate your brand and expand your company’s reach, it’s time we talk. Get in touch with our team to arrange a consultation today.