Strategy, Legal & Operations

Adapting your business in the age of AI

Business man using cloud software

The term “artificial intelligence” conjures images of cyborgs, and complex circuitry has already become a part of everyday business functions at many large companies. Even small businesses are now able to take advantage of this new technology that includes machines learning to stay ahead of rapidly changing information that can affect a company’s operations. If you have a small business, it’s in your best interest to learn about these new systems that can allow you to stay ahead of the competition more effectually.

Understanding artificial intelligence (AI)

The term “artificial intelligence” was coined to describe what has become the logical extension of basic computing into methods that utilize the large sets of data, the lower cost of parallel computing and significant advances in algorithms into an advanced ability to classify, reason and interact. It is much like human learning, but depends upon digital systems, to support the process using highly sophisticated algorithms. This allows companies to use information for a variety of purposes. The capability of AI systems for business is currently in its infancy, and it is likely to permeate every market at every level.

How you can take advantage of AI today

One of the common ways AI is being utilized in today’s businesses is for strategically targeted marketing. AI systems allow companies to collect data on current customers and find potential customers with similar qualities. It can even change its methods, recognizing when purchasing patterns or demographics change. These details can help companies to maximize their marketing budgets.

Artificial intelligence can also help with customer service. You can serve customers at scale, providing automated acknowledgments, ticketing processes and satisfaction surveys to ensure that you keep the customers you have, while allowing responsive service that will enable you to take advantage of customer-to-customer influencing.

Tips for implementing AI

The new systems required for implementation of artificial intelligence may seem overwhelming for businesses that have depended on standard methods of operation, but managers can initiate a gradual changeover of policies if they follow a series of steps:

    • Learn everything you can about available systems – A variety of books and online publications are open to artificial intelligence and machine learning. The business world recognizes the impact AI will have on revolutionizing operations in the future, and some workshops and conferences are being held to explore its use in many industries. Essential personnel should engage in educating themselves on the options available for implementation and how their business can adapt itself to utilize the techniques and technology.
    • Brainstorm how AI can be used in your business – Once your team has a basic understanding of artificial intelligence and what it can do, have the team engage in ways to implement the systems into your business operations. Determine what problems AI can solve for your business. If you do not have the data sets needed for implementing such a system, consider how this information can be gathered and compiled.
    • Determine the financial value of AI systems for your company – Once you have targeted a problem that AI can help you solve, you must be able to calculate economic benefit it will have for your business. In some cases, the advantages will be visible, such as decreased need for outsourcing analytical capabilities. However, you should be ready to consider less visible benefits that can provide near-term gains for your company.
    • Recognize your operational shortcomings – Some companies have implemented systems that adapt quickly and thoroughly to AI capabilities. However, other businesses may require re-organization to update their methods to provide the data AI systems need. Take an honest look at what your current operations can afford and determine where changes must be made to accommodate more advanced techniques.
    • Be ready to bring in the experts – No, matter how well prepared your business is for adapting to the new technology; you will require consultation with individuals who know how to implement these systems into a company. Arrange to set up a pilot program to initiate AI into your business that can provide set-up, training, and analysis to ensure effective utilization of its capabilities.
    • Start small and build from cost savings – Research indicates that simple implementation of a chatbot can reduce support costs as much as 30 percent. If you field calls from customers frequently, this is an excellent area to begin your implementation of AI into your business. Using the savings, you can then add other technologies, such as machine learning that can make changes to programming on its own to make operational processes more efficient.

In closing, artificial intelligence promises to transform society on the scale of the industrial, technical, and digital revolutions before it. Machines that can sense, reason and act will accelerate solutions to large-scale problems in the myriad of fields, including science, finance, medicine, and education, augmenting human capability and helping us to go further.