It has almost become a platitude to say that artificial intelligence (AI) will disrupt business processes in virtually every industry. However, when used correctly, AI really does have the potential to reengineer and improve core business processes that will drive success at most organizations. There are many real-world examples where this is already happening—fully automated processes are saving time and money, freeing up human resources, and relieving people from tedious and repetitive tasks.
The key to gaining an advantage using AI for business is identifying specific processes that can be improved using intelligent automation, then investing in a solution that targets that scenario. The current state of AI isn’t about buzzwords or robots taking over the world, it's about automating boring work and realizing new levels of efficiency.
The benefits of AI are already being experienced across all industry segments. Leading companies in insurance, retail, agriculture, and more, are all upping their AI investments. According to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study, 52% of companies have accelerated their AI adoption plans in 2021, and 86% say AI is becoming mainstream technology.
Experts also suggest that some fields can derive exceptional benefits from AI. These include logistics, cybersecurity, healthcare, and e-commerce, among others. As the impact of AI across industries is realized, business will face the challenge of not getting left behind.
A good starting point for applying AI in business is to drive productivity and savings across everyday back-office operations. Critical activities like order processing, invoicing, and accounts payable are prime targets for AI process improvement. For example, research shows that organizations that have adopted AI-powered automation, total invoices processed increased up to 10% in one year. Departments that automate invoice processing save an average of one hour per day.
Using AI to reduce operating costs is only part of the picture; AI drives revenue as well. For example, automated product recommendations are a powerful boost to e-commerce and an excellent way to increase customer engagement. For retailers, no-code AI solutions make it possible to enhance customer experience and sales by making product recommendations based on shopping history and past interests. Large companies like Netflix and Amazon are known for using AI to make purchase recommendations. However, advances in technology have leveled the playing field to an extent, enabling small businesses with limited resources to leverage artificial intelligence.
AI can dramatically improve customer service by using chatbots to handle product inquiries and field requests from customers, all without human intervention. Other techniques work to help human service agents respond faster to customer queries and complaints. AI systems are also being used to handle return refunds and order cancellations. While Artificial Intelligence may seem futuristic, the fact is that AI tools are already at work, transforming the way organizations in all industries deal with customers.
Efficiency and productivity gains are two of the most-often cited benefits of implementing AI. The technology handles tasks at a pace and scale that humans can't match. And as fast as business moves in this digital age, AI will help it move even more quickly, accelerating the pace of business and cutting cycle times.
Organizations can expect a reduction of errors as well as stronger adherence to established standards when they use AI to automate testing, inspection, and certification services or to monitor crop and soil conditions. There are other examples, but AI's capacity to take in and process massive amounts of data in real-time means organizations can implement near-instantaneous monitoring capabilities that can alert them to issues, recommend action, and, in some cases, even initiate a response.
Artificial Intelligence is becoming standard in all businesses, not just in the world of technology. In fact, it is estimated that 90% of leading companies already have ongoing investments in AI. Additionally, more than half of businesses that have implemented artificial intelligence report productivity improvements.
The specifics of AI’s future in business are difficult to predict, but it's guaranteed to continue being a disruptive force. The same PwC study mentioned above saw close to three-quarters of business leaders (72%) agree that AI will play a disruptive role in the future, not only delivering more efficient processes but also helping to create new business models and enabling the creation of new products and services.
AI solutions in banking, insurance, retail, and more are driving innovation and transformation to improve customer satisfaction, savings, and organizational performance. Although the technology can sound complex or intimidating, AI has never been more accessible. If you’re interested in learning more, check out these additional artificial intelligence resources: