Friday, 21 September 2018

Increasingly, technology specialists and global commerce experts are citing artificial intelligence as a game changer for forward-thinking companies.

Yet while data shows business leaders are intrigued with the concept of AI, they haven't shifted into high gear in using the technology en masse.

This from a recent study by MIT Sloan Management and The Boston Consulting Group

- 75 percent of executives believe artificial intelligence will steer their companies into new businesses.

- 85 percent say that AI gives the business a “competitive advantage."

- Yet only 20 percent of companies have incorporated AI into their business models, and less than 39 percent of companies have developed an AI strategy.

AI is a "natural" for businesses

The idea behind AI applications should be a natural for global businesses.

In short, artificial intelligence builds systems that aim to mirror, as closely as possible, human intelligence. From a business model standpoint, AI can lower costs and improve business efficiencies by delegating human intelligence gathering and decision-making to machines.

That allows companies to change their business models in ways they likely couldn't have imagined a decade ago. As Jean-Phillipe Desbiolles, Vice President for France of Watson, the AI solution of IBM, frames it: “We are moving from a world of programming to a world of learning where knowledge, expertise, and life skills are key.

Five real-world AI applications

How do business leaders move from theory to application with AI?

In a big picture sense, artificial intelligence can help shape business models in more simplified, efficient, and productive ways. These five examples point the way to “real world" AI for company decision makers:

1. Chat bots

Financial, retail and healthcare firms are among the first to apply AI as conversational chat bots that interact with consumers online. Chat bots not only improves customer service, the technology reduces the bottom line costs, as well.

2. Inventory management

Retailers can use AI to accurately peg future demand for products and restock inventories as needed. Or, manufacturers can use artificial intelligence to estimate when heavy duty vehicles and equipment require maintenance, allowing sector companies to move machinery around as needed to keep the production line rolling, without interruption.

3. Better tracking of data breach activity

AI is also proving effective in combating cyber fraud, even before data hackers can make off with valuable consumer data. For example, AI applications can monitor high volumes of customer personal and transactional data to better monitor and identify credit card behavior and “red flag" irregular card usage activity in real time.

4. Better environmental practices

As more companies place a high priority on being environmentally friendly, artificial intelligence can play a significant role on that front as well. Consider an agricultural company that leverages AI to monitor and manage pesticide spraying on rural farms and product storage sites. Or, imagine an oil producer using artificial intelligence to pinpoint drilling targets, thus minimizing over-drilling and maximizing production efficiencies.

5. Stronger process automation

Already, companies are using AI to automate digital and physical tasks and streamline business automation (think a Wall Street brokerage firm's back office or a health care company's record keeping unit.) One process called robotic process automation (RPA) enables companies to use AI “robots" to transfer data between customer emails and company help desks to update tasks, change consumer information as needed for better contact accuracy and problem-solving efficiencies.

AI on the rise

AI is still very much in its formative stage, but many industries are already leveraging the technology to boost business capabilities, simplify tasks, lower bottom-line costs, and increase efficiencies. Utilizing artificial intelligence in your business isn't a luxury anymore – it's becoming a necessity to remain competitive.

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