How AI is Optimizing Different Primary Business Silos
logo Shubham Rajpara
August 7, 2020 | 8 Min Read

How AI is Optimizing Different Primary Business Silos

Here's why every business owner need to repurpose their business operations with Artificial Intelligence

We all keep throwing around the term that we are in the fourth industrial revolution. But not all of us know what that actually means. The World Economic Forum identifies the 4th industrial revolution by the advent of cyber-physical systems. 

industrial revolution
(Source: World Economic Forum)

Cyber-physical systems are business tools and practices that include both the human and artificial intelligence intervention, working collaboratively to meet a common goal in an effective manner.

For a business to run effectively, it has to leverage the implementation of artificial intelligence as much as possible. 

Quoting Paul Daugherty, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer at Accenture, 

Paul Daugherty (Chief Technology and Innovation Officer at Accenture)
Src: https://mobile.twitter.com/pauldaugh 

“The playing field is poised to become a lot more competitive, and businesses that don’t deploy AI and data to help them innovate in everything they do will be at a disadvantage.”

In this blog, we will talk about how artificial intelligence can help optimize different business silos.

1. Marketing 

The goal of marketing if you successfully communicate the following things to your potential customers

  • That you have understood their unique problem
  • Your business can solve it, and 
  • A definitive way of how you're going to solve it. 

Marketing is a very personal thing. Best marketing practices always are the ones that make customers feel heard and seen.

Artificial intelligence is that technology that allows businesses to do just this. AI not only helps businesses in creating marketing strategies that cater to every person's needs. But, it also helps in creating marketing strategies and is even instrumental in implementing them. 

How AI does this is through leveraging data. Data like:

  • A customer or visitors consensually are given personally identifiable data, 
  • Their behavior on the website,
  • Past purchase behavior,
  • Interaction with the sales team, etc. 

Leveraging this data, AI sorts out customers according to their attributes, interest, or demographic which, gives the business a better picture of their customers. AI can then target, right ads to the right people at the right time.  

This precise targeting or retargeting will annoy customers less and increases sales efficiently with less ad-spend.

The 2017 Real-Time Personalization Survey by Evergage, when asked about the benefits of AI-powered personalization, noted that, 

  • 33% of marketers surveyed use AI to deliver personalized web experiences.

  • 63% of respondents mentioned increased conversion rates, and

  • 61% noted improved customer experiences.

2. Accounting and Finance

Artificial intelligence helps to streamline and manage financial data. It effectively helps in keeping track of all the transactions. Machine Learning, a branch of AI, gathers data sprawled across in the form of PDFs, excel sheets, receipt images, emails, etc. in the form of categorized reports. This, if done manually, would cost organizations a lot of resources.

Furthermore, it helps reduce fraudulent activities. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners reported that an average organization loses 5% of its annual revenue to internal fraud. 

Additionally, financial organizations and auditors generally have the capacity to audit only 10% of expense reports manually, letting a majority of expense reports and potential fraud go undetected.

AI can not only analyze and audit 100% of all the reports, but it also gets stronger in detecting fraudulent patterns as it records more and more reports, thanks to Machine Learning. 

Realizing the vast monetary profits AI can procure, more and more investors are investing in AI companies. 

rising investment in AI companies

Furthermore, IDC forecasted that the financial services industry would spend around $4 billion on AI in 2018.

Additionally, AI mitigates all the possibilities of human error it also increases overall efficiency in an organization. When AI deals with all the high-frequency, repetitive tasks in a financial organization, employees would be able to divert their attention to other critical tasks. 

Furthermore, AI can allow the real-time status of all financial transactions to organizations since it can monitor communication through NLP (natural language processing).

3. Customer Service and experience

One of the major problems that businesses face while creating a digital marketing is the lack of ability to deliver excellent customer support. This is perhaps more of a perceived problem -- than a real one.

Even though, it is understandable that delivering an excellent digital experience is a bit trickier, especially if you are new in the digital space.

But AI can help you with this. AI can bridge the gap between online customer experience and in-store experience.

Ai-powered chatbots can also create your presence virtually throughout the time the customer is on your website. And when the next time the customer lands on your website, they'll be greeted by their name and a customized message as well, again thanks to the chatbot.

Here's an example from a customer support tool providing company Acquire's conversational chatbot greeting customers!

AI powered chatbot from Acquire

Furthermore, AI-powered chatbots can replace the assistants in the physical store. Customer support chatbot can act as virtual assistance and help people with automatically-generated recommendations through the recommendation engine, based on their inputs or past behavior.

Here's how Levi's customer support chatbot is virtually assisting shoppers to choose the right apparel.

Levi's customer support chatbot

Levi's chatbot features
(Source

4. Sales 

Simply put, artificial intelligence in sales is helping businesses in

  • Increase closing rates, 
  • Get better CRO, 
  • Boost lead volume,
  • Enhance brand perception, and 
  • Overall sales performance.

According to a report by Salesforce, organizations that have excellent sales teams are high-performing are 4.9X more likely to use AI in their sales endeavors than others. 

AI-driven technologies mitigate the requirement of having manpower on floor catering to customer needs all the time to make big sales. AI-based Chatbots for businesses are the best example of the same. 

When you integrate a chatbot with your online eCommerce website or mobile app, you have the capacity to cater to customer and visitor queries 24x7, no matter where the customers are from or the hour on the clock. 

Chatbot with the help of self-help articles Can answer frequently asked questions of the visitors and customers.

Yet another example from Acquire, showcasing how a knowledge base software integration with Chatbot works: 

Acquire knowledge base integration with chatbot

This saves a lot of time for the sales representatives while instantly resolving customer queries. They also have the capacity to route complicated queries of customers or visitors to the live agent.

See how the Acquire's chatbot does it

Acquire chatbot features

Additionally, Chatbots directly route complex queries to live agents to solve allowing visitors and customers a quick resolution by an expert agent online.

Here's an example of The Dufresne Group's Acquire chatbot routing to an agent.

Dufresne Group using Acquire chatbot
Source

When customers are responded to 24 hours a day, in record time, they are more likely to convert and also be loyal patrons for the long-term.

5. Research and Development (R&D)

Artificial intelligence is synonymous with innovation as it can help us easily explore and build a better understanding of all possible industries like:

  • Information technology
  • Robotics
  • Healthcare
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Banking, investment, and finance
  • Automotive, and others. 

Their capacity to collect and analyze gargantuan amounts of data and categorize store, and refine it with time through machine learning enables us to predict problems and develop solutions that we’ve never thought of before. 

Yes, AI does reduce manual labor, and help us make smarter decisions, but it will also open the door to several breakthrough discoveries. AI offers ways of improving existing products and services, making them better as well as tackling new challenges. 

All in all, artificial intelligence in research and development makes the lives of us sentient beings, simply put, very easy. 

6. Human Resources

Even the most human silos of businesses -- the human resources are also being benefited by artificial intelligence. 

Artificial intelligence really has the potential to transform many human resources activities from recruitment to talent management. AI can certainly help improve efficiency and save money by automating repetitive tasks, but it can do much more. PepsiCo used a robot, Robot Vera, to phone and interview candidates for open sales positions. 

The robot Vera, used by PepsiCo to hire talent:

PepsiCo using robot Vera
Source

Employee candidates need a personalized experience while going through the interview process of a new company, as that helps instill more trust in them. But this does not mean automation should stay aloof from talent acquisition and recruitment verticals of business. 

Machine learning and AI solutions can suffice the humanness along with the technology-aided ease in the recruitment process. It can help human resources departments with data-driven decision-making while candidate screening. 

Moreover, companies that have a large inflow of candidates have resume screening and filtering technology. 

Furthermore, chatbots can also be used to answer many common questions about organization culture, policies, and benefits.

7. Manufacturing

As per the new market research report on AI in the manufacturing industry, published by MarketsandMarkets, on 21st July 2020, 

"The artificial intelligence in the manufacturing market is expected to be valued at usd 1.1 billion in 2020 and is likely to reach usd 16.7 billion by 2026; it is expected to grow at a cagr of 57.2% during the forecast period."

The report also states that, 

 "The major drivers for the market are the increasing number of large and complex datasets (often known as big data), evolving Industrial IoT and automation, improving computing power, and increasing venture capital investments."

Talking about how AI works as a catalyst across the manufacturing process, Heineken, along with many other companies, uses data analytics at every stage of their manufacturing process from the supply chain to inventory tracking on store shelves. 

Heineken using data analytics in the  manufacturing process
Source

Furthermore to anticipate demand and ramp production Predictive intelligence is used, creating a seamless demand and supply chain. Additionally, sensors on equipment can also predict maintenance needs, the sensors flag areas of concern in the manufacturing process before a major costly repairing cost erupts. Machine vision can also aid the quality control check processes at manufacturing facilities.

8. Facilities Management

Artificial intelligence also helps ensure that businesses have a perfectly comfortable, operational, and secure physical space. It allows facilities managers in energy usage optimization while keeping the comfort of its occupants a priority. Building automation or facilities management uses artificial intelligence to centrally control building operations like:

  • Lighting control
  • HVAC systems, 
  • Room temperature of 
  • usage of internet-of-things devices, 
  • sensors,
  • close circuit cameras, etc 

Furthermore, AI can adjust the building's systems to accommodate the number of occupants, during a particular time of day, and more. This helps facilities managers improve the energy efficiency of the building along with other things.

9. IT Operations

internal implementation of artificial intelligence
Source

Also called AIOps, it could probably be the first experience for many organizations while implementing artificial intelligence internally.

Gartner defines the term AIOps as the “application of machine learning and data science to IT operations problems.” 

AIOps stands for artificial intelligence for IT operations. It is a multi-layered technology platform that automates and enhances all IT operations through machine learning (ML) and data analytics. 

AIOps platforms leverage big data. It collects an array of data from various IT operations devices and tools in order to predict, spot, and solve bugs in real-time. 

Additionally, AI is used for IT system log file error analysis, with IT systems management functions along with automating many routine processes. 

AIOps helps the IT improve system performance and services for the complex IT infrastructure of today's businesses.

In conclusion,

There has been one lingering fear in people and businesses that artificial intelligence is going to make human jobs obsolete. This cannot be further away from the truth. 

The goal of artificial intelligence is to help human workers in increasing their productivity and efficacy. It is the job of AI to take up high-frequency repetitive tasks off the shoulders of humans so that they can use their cognitive capacities in other complex tasks. 

Therefore, we can say that AI is not here to take away at jobs, but rather to make our jobs easier.

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