How to Use AI to Add Value to Your Business
By Shannon N. Goff - April 25, 2019
Artificial intelligence (AI) has quickly become one of the most disruptive technologies of our time – from autocorrect remembering frequently typed words, to the world’s first robot citizen participating in interviews on 60 Minutes and the Tonight Show. As AI continues to evolve, weaving an intricate web of new technology, so does the power and promise of its application to businesses of all sizes.
AI for Everyone
AI is no longer exclusive to giant corporations or the tech-heavy Silicon Valley. Businesses of all sizes, large or small, are now able to take advantage of many AI-integrated tools that increase efficiency, enhance customer experiences, and improve marketing practices. The challenge is that many companies aren’t quite sure how to use it. According to Salesforce, 51 percent of small to medium-sized businesses say artificial intelligence is an important factor when choosing new tech, yet only 11 percent are currently using it. The same report showed that many aren’t sure they’re ready for AI (41 percent), and 35 percent admitted that they don’t understand how it can help their business. Well, it’s time to find out.
Many businesses don’t realize how seamlessly AI integrates with existing processes, or how easy it can be to start taking advantage of it. CompuCom clients, for example, are able to implement this technology right away through advanced security services that use artificial intelligence to detect, isolate, and eradicate damaging malware and viruses. And because of the small number of businesses actively using AI, becoming aware and adopting now has the potential to propel your organization ahead of the competition.
AI-enabled tools elevate operations and relieve common workplace stressors by offering ways to:
- Reduce the time spent on tasks
- Lower costs
- Provide deeper customer insights
- Analyze and interpret large sets of data
- Improve responsiveness and customer experience
- Increase employee flexibility and overall satisfaction
- Proactively monitor and protect IT systems and devices
Rather than getting caught up in complex, mind-blowing technologies (that also blow up your budget), the key is to focus on choosing AI-enabled IT and strategies that enhance your current features, functions, and performance.
Top Ways to Adopt AI
Looking back at the small number of businesses that are currently using AI, 51 percent are using it for business operations, 45.5 percent are using it for customer engagement, and 20.2 percent for talent management/hiring. Knowing this makes it easier to identify the best ways for growing businesses to move forward and make the move to AI – ASAP.
- Automation of Manual Processes On average, employees spend 23 percent of their workdays manually inputting data, which accounts for more than a full day each week being wasted on manual processes. Artificial intelligence can reduce this number through applications that automate workflows, inventory and order management, fulfillment, and payment management. Not only does this free up time and boost workplace satisfaction, but it also results in greater efficiency, increased accuracy and clarity, and improved compliance and accountability.
- Proactive Monitoring and Maintenance One of the most practical and most useful applications of AI is 24/7 support through proactive monitoring and maintenance. Networks and devices are remotely monitored to identify, diagnose, and resolve technical issues before they negatively affect your business. Using solutions like Intelligent Threat Protection, advanced AI is used to predict and prevent virus and malware threats before they affect your organization. Often found through a managed services provider (MSP), this kind of tool strengthens your IT infrastructure and cybersecurity while reducing the risk of costly downtime that could leave your business permanently wounded.
- Virtual Assistants and Chatbots Virtual helpers like Siri or Google and chatbots that handle customer inquiries are a new must-have for growing businesses. These AI-powered assistants help offices simplify communications, remember important tasks, schedule meetings, or help with tedious bookkeeping. Businesses can also enable chatbots on their website and social media channels to provide 24/7 support and increase responsiveness and customer satisfaction. Considering 53 percent of customers prefer to use online chat before calling a company, this is definitely a form of AI to start utilizing now.
- AI-Infused CRM Systems An April 2018 McKinsey report found that the impact of AI is “likely to be the most substantial in marketing and sales.” One of the reasons for this is the use of AI in customer-relationship management (CRM) systems. CRMs help companies grow faster by gathering current and prospective customer data to improve current relationships, identify sales opportunities, and win new business. Now, AI-infused CRM systems are able to automate administrative tasks, like data entry and lead or service case routing, while providing automatically generated reports for deeper insights into customer behavior, so businesses can prepare the best outreach, maximize lead generation results, and increase revenue.
- Human Resources One of the more unexpected, yet most widely used, areas affected by AI is human resources. As opposed to manually sorting through tons of applicant resumes, using AI when looking for new employees increases the likelihood that you find the best candidate available while saving valuable time and resources. Plus, once someone new is brought on board, AI-enabled software can serve as a knowledge base for employees with questions on things such as benefits and company policy.
Currently, 57.6 percent of small to medium-sized businesses think advanced technology will impact their business in the next year, and 29.5 percent believe AI will have the greatest impact. When investigating ways to stay ahead of the competition and implement AI today, examine the strategies listed above and remember to:
- Select tools that are most likely to bring the highest benefits, shortest time to value, and the lowest barriers to adoption for your organization.
- Ensure AI-driven capabilities are small, focused, and targeted, which will help you realize practical value from them.
- Focus new AI development on content-centric use cases with existing large amounts of data that cannot be easily analyzed by employees in a timely, efficient fashion.
- Assign your AI-based initiatives appropriately to skilled IT staff, or enlist the assistance of an experienced managed IT services provider for helpful advice and guidance.
AI adds value to businesses by addressing inefficiency and introducing innovative ways to build on existing operations and potentially secure a stronger future for your organization. With so many growing businesses hesitating and falling behind, now’s the time to adopt.