Original article was published on Artificial Intelligence on Medium
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a branch of computer science that enables machines to imitate intelligent human behavior. In other words, AI deals with solving problems or carrying out tasks that are typically easy for humans, but are difficult for computers. In short, AI can analyze data, algorithms and programming to perform actions, anticipate problems and learn to adapt to a variety of circumstances with and without supervision.
AI was first introduced at a Dartmouth college conference in 1956, where Herbert Simon (dubbed the founder of AI) predicted that “machines will be capable, within twenty years, of doing any work a man can do.” Although Simon’s twenty-year time frame may have been a little too zealous for 1956, his prediction would soon come to fruition with the dawn of the modern tech boom coming into the dawn of the 21st century. We’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of building models where AI can successfully assist humans, but the transition that has already occurred has empowered businesses to advance one step closer to becoming self-sustaining, thriving enterprises.
What AI can do for your Business
When you play to AI’s strengths, you’ll find that it has an uncanny ability to process large volumes of data on the fly while continuously learning about the trends in the data to provide consistent insights for the organization. AI should be seen more as a means for organizations to set their strategic goals and reach their business goals. The energy saved through intelligent software and hardware can then be directed towards a meaningful purpose that accomplishes additional company goals and objectives faster.
Using AI to predict future outcomes is one of the ways that it is making a significant impact, and it profoundly affects a company’s creative output when it comes to innovation. Many businesses are using AI to pursue greater innovation in their business. By utilizing the data gained from AI software, new innovations can be made in less time. Even if you’re not keen on diving head first into the AI waters, you should still get your feet wet by beginning to explore how you might be able to leverage its vast resources in your organization.
AI’s role in assessing consumer data via sentiment analysis can help customer service agents determine when to escalate issues and who should handle them. AI also can store customer answers and recognize trends in commonly asked questions, thus giving agents a choice between frequently used answers to automatically insert based on the content found in the ticket. This method of AI classification helps agents prioritize their work better and become more adept at making strategic decisions that optimize their workflow.
The one thing to take from this is that AI is not here to replace customer support teams; it’s here to make them more effective. The use of AI in customer service is likely to increase in the near future, with Verizon pointing to an IDC report indicating that “within the next year, 40% of digital transformation initiatives will use AI services, as will 75% of enterprise applications by 2021.” With consumer-focused digital transformation initiatives being focused on more and more in recent years, AI may just be the one tool that successfully bridges the gap between technology and customer service.
One global conglomerate that is already taking the AI bull by the horns for customer service means is Verizon who, in early January 2019, announced their new AI-based “Digital Customer Experience.” This platform was created for businesses to integrate their existing customer support pipeline into for Verizon to provide 24/7 virtual assistance via social media, chat services, email, text message, or phone. The innovative platform is also designed to escalate users to human support agents when presented with situations in which it is unable to help.
Information Technology (IT)
AI has been beneficial for those acting on the consumer side, but more so for developers on the Information Technology (IT) side. AI can help optimize the host server to improve customer service and enhance operations automatically. This level of automation has made AI an incredibly useful enhancement for application development purposes as well, making it an instant hit with developers and organizations at large. AI has helped developers broaden their horizons and carry out operations which were otherwise considered impossible.
With the tremendous changes in software development and architectural planning coupled with need to sustain quality assurance efforts, AI has been the beacon of hope for developers looking to increase their efficiency to tackle as many projects as possible in the least amount of time. Senior Vice President of Solutions Strategy at Regalix, Kevin Benedict, says “as automation increases due to advances in sensors, bandwidth, artificial intelligence, algorithms and machine learning — precision becomes not only possible, but all-important.” This is a notion that is far too familiar for organizations of all sizes as many servers can often become unresponsive and end up slowing down in the long run due to the continuous inflow of requests.
Bestselling author of Mapping Innovation: A Playbook for Navigating a Disruptive Age: A Playbook for Navigating a Disruptive Age, Greg Satell, says that “management’s role is not to organize work, but to direct passion and purpose.” For many years, managers and Human Resources associates have been at a loss of words as to how to inject their own personal spirit into their current employees and create meaningful relationships with prospective employees. In light of the impact that AI can have on an organization, 63% of companies are rethinking the role of their HR department. Instead of going with their gut in making a hiring decision, HR associates are leaning towards looking at the data compiled by their AI platform to help them reskill their workforce.
AI can measure the level of employee satisfaction while also helping companies monitor and maintain employee wellness to decrease burnout. It does this by assessing speech, body language, the tone of voice, and much more to offering HR associates deeper insight on their employee’s needs. AI can also identify the actual skill gaps within the organization and which current employees might be best suited to be upskilled for those roles. From there, the AI solution can also customize a learning and development path based on others who’ve moved through the organization. These efforts take the guesswork out of hiring and retaining employees and allow the HR associate to work more effectively in all areas of their workday.
Marketers are always looking for actionable consumer insights to back up their strategies and AI allows them their pick of the plethora of data that they need to intelligently target consumers. AI allows marketers to personalize their content automatically to their selected micro-segments instead of relying on high level, superficial personas to compel users to action. Studies have shown that three-quarters of businesses improve revenue with AI-driven marketing by optimizing, personalizing, and guiding customers through a unique journey. AI can help marketers attract, capture and nurture leads while simultaneously collecting data that allows you to create a precise buyer persona immediately. These insights allow marketers to gain a clear understanding of a prospect’s habits, spending motives and common questions.
AI can help sales teams qualify leads quickly so that they can spend far less time seeking suitable clients and more time closing deals. Automated AI sales assistant can be integrated into sales platforms to engage a lead with a personalized message and execute a two-way, human-like conversation. These AI-powered assistants can help sales teams work smarter and empower them to focus on leads who are genuinely interested and more likely to convert than those who are not.
Bringing AI into picture really makes it amazing to forecast sales accurately because it can help organizations dig deeper into the insights as they grow their data sources and apply it instantly to provide valuable results. These automated actions can slash an organization’s admin work by 40%, increase their leads and appointments by 50%, reduce their costs up to 60%, and cut call times by up to 70%. This level of savings should not be overlooked by organizations seeking a solution to garnering more quality leads in their sales funnel.
By 2021, companies are expected to be spending $57 billion on AI platforms. Many are doing so in response to the need for optimization of processes, while others are seeking a solution to maintain a high-level of quality assurance. The actionable insights gained through the implementation of AI technologies in the workplace can take teams to new heights and meet their goals and objectives more efficiently and effectively.
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