As we’ve seen in the previous blogs in this series, we’re now moving from the digital age into the age of intelligence. Businesses are looking for ways to differentiate themselves in a world of highly competitive, digitally-enabled organisations. As more and more businesses pursue a strategy of digital transformation, the already massive amounts of data that businesses are handling on a daily basis is growing ever larger. With this growth comes a dire need to turn as much data as possible into real, actionable insights – if businesses are to reach new levels of efficiency and agility, then they must overcome this challenge.
One of the key technologies forward-thinking businesses are embracing to tackle huge amounts of data is Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is a crucial piece of the Intelligent Enterprise puzzle, turning time-consuming, resource-intensive business systems and processes into intelligent systems, and processes. Not only does AI help with filtering huge quantities of data, but it is a vital part of improving decision making and improving profitability. In this article we explain what is AI, and how you can utilise it to improve your business processes.
To find out about other smart applications for your business, read our Sapphire Guide to Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics.
In spite of what Hollywood would have you believe, AI is not about replacing humans with replicants. AI is a tool designed to augment human abilities, rather than replace them. It’s a tool that can be used to apply a complicated set of rules to a dynamic data source. AI does the heaviest thinking for us, with the capacity to compute incredible amounts of data - far more than humans ever could. What AI can do is independently sort through and analyse enormous amounts of data – picking out patterns, trends and inefficiencies among other things. The aim of this is to enable the human touch to be better spent making fact-based decisions and leading strategy rather than being bogged down in data management.
All modern businesses have a labyrinth of interconnecting variables that need to be navigated in order for takeaways and learnings to be gained. It’s only with AI that companies can do this quickly and effectively, deriving meaningful value quickly and cost effectively to maximise existing opportunities and seek out new ones.
It’s important to remember that AI has lots of different guises - from chat bots to increase customer service efficiency, through to financial analytics to predict future pricing patterns. But what they all have in common is the ability to transform systems, services and processes to maximise the value they bring to the business. AI automates and improves critical tasks to inform decision making and future proof the business, no matter how it’s implemented.
One of the key benefits of AI in a business context is to automate and improve complex analytical tasks, taking care of the analysis of data that’s too complex for traditional methods. AI ensures a business can analyse data in real time, intelligently and independently contextualising data to extract meaningful insights, informing business decisions and actions. The right application of the technology enables the business to sift through vast databases, using AI in a predictive and preventative way to not only ascertain why things have happened but to work out the best way to ensure negative situations don’t happen again.
AI’s ability to model and predict potential scenarios, such as how humans are likely to interact or behave, makes it an invaluable tool for improving customer service or forecasting buying patterns and behaviours. This results in optimal levels of business responsiveness. The same technology can be applied to help predict future pricing patterns and identify new markets, staying one step ahead of not just the competition but the customer as well.
When it comes to manufacturing businesses, AI technology can be applied to discover inefficiencies across the business. This is by utilising the right systems to make the necessary changes to maximise productivity, with minimal need for human intervention or supervision. The same can be said of maximising uptime, with the strategic application of AI not only increasing automation but also enabling preventative maintenance schedules to be put in place. This ultimately minimises unforeseen downtime by keeping assets in good working order.
Fundamentally it isn’t AI alone that will make the difference to your business. It’s the ability to use AI-enabled applications, systems and ‘things’ throughout the business and taking advantage of the data they generate. The way in which AI can analyse and apply that contextualised data is what adds real value to a business, and the proliferation of intelligent applications is evidence of this. AI builds intelligent applications and business process, making things and working practices more autonomous – not by replacing people, but by enhancing operations across the board. AI reinvents traditional ways of working to guarantee that all-important competitive edge in a digital marketplace.
Regardless of the industry you operate in, the potential for AI to help transform your business is huge. Finding ways to reduce costs, creating efficiencies and optimising working environments. By incorporating AI technologies into the heart of the organisation now, businesses put themselves in good stead to develop an Intelligent Enterprise that’s not just fit for today, but for the foreseeable future as well. This puts the foundations in place to consistently and continually develop an agile and future-proof business for the intelligent age.
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