AI is already being used in businesses. At the risk of sounding like an automated voice that just repeats back facts, consider these statistics that build a case for the need to incorporate AI. A recent survey showed that about 80% of businesses in the US plan to incorporate chat bots into their business by 2020.
Businesses that already have or plan to adopt AI will increase their revenue by 39% and decrease their costs by 37% by 2020.
While studies forecast the increase in the use and benefits of using AI, experts are predicting (using sound evidence) that companies that do not adapt AI will “quickly perish or diminish in market size and value.”
Let’s take that as a reality check and see how you can avoid the same fate.
Break it down by business application area:
1. Customer engagement: Chatbots and virtual assistants are mature, great AI solutions to engage with and optimise sales and lead generation but now, the new trend is developing bots to control other bots. Ben Lee, CEO of Neon Digital says, “If your business already has a bot that’s ready to be integrated with Siri, you’ll be ahead of the curve”.
2. Insight generation: Using evolving Deep Machine Learning and Natural Language Generation (NLG) solutions, will not only allow you be able to identify useful customer information for more targets, product stocking and marketing, the insights gained from this data can also be used as revenue generating streams.
3. Service provision: Intent-based AI algorithms like Quill already use data sets and audience specific information to write and create personalised narratives. For example, there are solutions than can already hold an interesting conversation about how your investments are doing today in a natural way.
4. Product pricing: What benefits would you get if you used a dynamic pricing algorithm like this to set your product’s prices based on who the customer was. Yup, that’s right, using large pools of data that inform past customer behaviour, augmented with behavioural algorithms that can predict what amount particular customers can be paying for products, you can set your prices dynamically!
5. Business function optimisation: No doubt AI can help reduce costs, reduce monotonous, laborious tasks in your employees, but they can also instantiate business management process like when the number of your unpaid invoices reaches an unhealthy amount.
Take stock of your internal capability
Although you don’t need to go all out and hire data scientists to begin with, it is worth starting small by looking at off-the-shelf data visualisation and big data analysis platforms. Take for example, Eden Gardens, a plant and lifestyle nursery in Sydney’s Macquarie Park. They used Commonwealth Bank’s free Daily IQ 2.0 – a free business insights toolkit that helps you analyse large volumes of transaction data. Using the app, the nursery was able to figure out what times are “rush hours for flower sales” – so that they could have their florist on hand during those times.
Taking advantage of the multitude of AI courses on offer online also makes it easier to up skill staff and increase your internal capability. Although, as Luke Tang, General Manager of TechCode’s Global AI+ Accelerator Program points out this may take a long time.
“Addressing your internal capability gap means identifying what you need to acquire and any processes that need to be internally evolved before you get going,” he says.
However, with the number of big players in the AI space offering various solutions from Big Data analysis to chatbot implementation – think IBM, Cloudera, Google and Microsoft, many Australian businesses are already jumping on the AI bandwagon, says Telsyte Managing Director Foad Fadaghi.
“The local big data services space remains ripe for consolidation with a number of service providers growing quickly in the past 12 months,” he says.
A change of focus from competition to disruption
With powerful analytics capabilities in their arsenal, many companies are now venturing into montisation and novel service model opportunities leaving the traditional operators lagging behind – Uber and AirBnB being classic examples. To avoid being disrupted in your space, consider how any of the AI technologies mentioned above can be used to transform your business:
“Where should I take my mobile coffee van to next,” you ask your AI bot. It will take
into account where you are, scan social media conversations, find out where there’s a lot of talk from people needing a caffeine fix and suggest you head to those suburbs.
You may offer your customers the option of paying for their purchases through the loyalty points they’ve accumulated, rather than a regular transaction. This is because your clever algorithm has worked out that this particular customer will get a special deal if they paid through their loyalty card.
So, as you can see, the technology to use AI to transform business is already here and is within arm’s reach. The question is – how and how quickly will you reach out?
About the author
Dale Beaumont is the founder and CEO of BRiN, the world’s first artificially intelligent business advisor. Available as a smartphone app the company’s goal is to provide personalised education and human-like support to millions of entrepreneurs, all at the same time.