Businesses, small and large alike, are increasingly realizing the importance of implementing AI to achieve both their short and long-term goals. AI technologies have the power to alter the infrastructure of businesses dramatically by:
- Increasing work efficiency and customer satisfaction
- Reducing overall business costs
- Allowing for a more rapid expansion and better consumer insights
- Reducing the risk of Cybersecurity Attacks
The introduction of AI into the business sphere also allows companies to gain a competitive advantage over their counterparts in the market. As the rate of technological innovation increases in line with the use of exponential technologies, market dynamics will change accordingly, and those businesses which adopt the most flexible and modern strategies will significantly increase their chances of financial success.
Moreover, as consumers increase their engagement with the online marketplace, the behavioral data surplus they produce will provide valuable insights into their motivations, personality traits, purchasing habits, interests, and much more. Businesses that implement AI technologies will consequently have the ability to use this information to inform their marketing and product campaigns, consumer experience, and market insights.
Overall, the use of AI within the business could yield fantastic benefits for those that are open to exploring the utility of emerging technologies as business tools. The effects said technologies produce are wide-ranging and expanding, meaning that as they continue to develop they will be able to benefit businesses in new and exciting ways.
Let us explore some of these benefits.
Automation of Repetitive Tasks
There are four major task-based components of running a business in the digital age:
- Customer Support
Customer support can be defined as a business’s ability to respond to and accommodate the needs of its customers as their consumer preferences change over time. From a digital standpoint, such tasks include the creation of Help Desk tickets that chronicle customer concerns and digital outreach programs that address consumers’ interests and foster strong business-client relationships.
These relatively simple tasks are easily automated and improved through the implementation of virtual chatbots, customer intent prediction, multi-channel communication tailored to customer preferences, and the redirection of business-consumer interactions to the appropriate departments. Some popular software packages in this domain include JitBit Helpdesk, Netomi, Thankful, Balto, and Ushur.
A business’ marketing strategy revolves around how well it can attract the attention of consumers and sell its products. This involves managing social media, e-commerce notifications, consumer research, website analytics, and more.
Google already provides a variety of tools in this respect from Google Analytics and Alerts to Adwords and Trends. These tools allow businesses to tailor their online advertisements to consumer preferences and create data-driven marketing strategies at low cost. Other AI software packages like Hootsuite, Persado, and Pattern89 allow businesses to optimize their presence and outreach on social media.
Business finance and administration are perhaps the easiest fields to automate because of their procedural structure. Applications like Gusto, Shoebox, and Freshbooks automate the payroll process as well as invoice reminders and receipts. While other tools such as Microsoft Dropbox and Google Suite streamline employee-to-employee communication as well as file storage and maintenance.
Personalizing the Customer Experience
Businesses can discover ways to stand out to consumers by optimizing the consumer experience. They can achieve this by providing data-driven customized product and content recommendations, AI-assisted conversation, targeted personality-based marketing, and improved responsiveness to customer queries and concerns.
The use of Machine Learning as an analytic business tool also yields prominent benefits. Businesses can use AI to track and analyze their sales and marketing data to spot correlations and patterns between data points that indicate inherent weaknesses in the business model.
Moreover, AI can also provide novel, sometimes unforeseen, solutions to data-driven business problems, which can then be implemented to streamline the customer experience and reduce workflow inefficiency.
Finally, AI-supported business models increase a business’ ability to retain its customers by tracking inflection points in the customer experience. As an effect, businesses are better able to understand the dynamics of customer satisfaction and derive new and effective solutions to win back consumers they may have lost.
Better Market and Consumer Insight
We live in an age of Surveillance Capitalism where behavioral data surplus has become the most valuable piece of information a business or for-profit institution can possess. Market dynamics are often impacted by consumer sentiment, something which before the advent of Big Data, was difficult to disseminate and quantify.
Today, businesses have indirect access to a wealth of digital information that chronicles the specific attributes of every individual’s life from age and gender to demographics, personality traits, political and social interests, socioeconomic status, professional aspirations, social networks, and so much more.
The development of social media and smart devices has built a global society of hyper-socialization and interconnectivity where the line between business and consumer is blurred. Businesses can use platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to personify themselves and offer tailored individualist consumer experiences that are fueled by big-data predictive analytics and Machine Learning.
Market and Consumer insight now describe the details of the daily lives of individual citizens or potential consumers. Businesses can use these data points, where it is both ethical and appropriate, to enhance the product or experience they deliver and increase financial profit.
Reducing Cybersecurity Threats
Data is extremely valuable, especially as businesses become more data-driven. Unfortunately, this means that the incentive to hijack valuable data is heightened, especially when there is significant profit to be made or sociopolitical pressure.
Businesses can protect themselves against hackers and cybersecurity attacks by employing various analytical and predictive forms of AI that anticipate both how attacks will occur and what may motivate them.
Neural Networks, for instance, can continually learn from massive amounts of raw data and perform multiple tasks in parallel. They are robust computational systems that possess strong pattern recognition and predictive abilities with low fault rates. Their capacity to learn from unfiltered examples makes them particularly well suited to preventing cybersecurity attacks, which may often manifest themselves in many different ways.
Expert systems also represent a promising cybersecurity approach, although their functionality is much more restricted. These systems are constrained to the performance of narrow tasks that are defined by human expertise. As such, they are designed to replicate the reasoning process of human experts by incorporating and learning from curated data sets. These systems are especially proficient at solving complex cybersecurity problems which we already know a lot about but do not have the time or manpower to solve ourselves.
Some available software in this domain includes:
- Vade Secure
Reducing Overall Costs
All of the aforementioned benefits result in a business’s ability to run more effectively and efficiently. While this may ultimately lead to certain employees losing their jobs and being replaced by autonomous agents, the business as a whole will benefit.
The introduction of AI tools that enable Big Data analytics will allow businesses to maximize their financial profits and minimize financial losses by identifying weak points in the business model, increasing their digital presence, and providing products that cater to the specific needs of consumers.
Businesses that choose not to accept and profit from AI will quickly lag behind those that do and will suffer more prominent financial expenses in the long run, even if investments in AI may be costly in the short term.
Sasha is currently pursuing an MSc in Bioethics at King’s College, London. Prior to engaging in his current studies, Sasha was a Division 1 Ski Racer at Bates College, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s in Cognitive Psychology and Classical Philosophy. He is deeply interested in applied ethics, specifically with respect to AI-driven exponential technologies and how they might one day affect humanity