Over the years Artificial Intelligence or AI has been perceived as a growing threat to the human workforce. However, the reality is that AI is an enabler of new age business growth and an innovation stimulus. According to an Infosys survey of over 1600 senior businesses decision makers in 7 global markets, more than 80 per cent of the executives said they would retrain their staff to utilize AI capabilities rather than replace the existing staff with software robots.
Data is the key resource of the digital economy. In other words, it is the new oil as analysts believe. The amount of data that is generated across business operations is so huge and today we have the power to harness this data and create valuable insights for better efficiency and performance. Data in raw format is pretty much similar to crude oil and there is no value to it unless it is refined and utilized by machinery (software tools) to drive businesses forward. Here is where Artificial Intelligence or more specifically Machine Learning plays a major role.
AI enabled systems can process billions of data points concurrently and provide insights in minutes while understanding how patterns are created by data sources and ultimately learn to predict their behavior. Utilizing AI in decision making would enable business leaders and managers to reprioritize their outlook with more tasks being left to AI to do it on its own. Here’s a sneak peek into 4 areas where AI would revolutionize decision making in business houses.
Automating Mundane Activities
The advent of Robotic Process Automation or RPA has enabled employees to configure software systems to mimic human interactions with computers and information systems so that repetitive low value tasks can be conducted without human presence. This would create virtual back office support operations that are up and running 24 X 7 and with zero errors. The avoidance of human error results in a transparent and efficient access policy for all information system to collaborate much effectively than before.
Administrative Control Operations
Hours of paper work, setting instructions for teams, planning schedules for work, etc., consume a good portion of time for managers as well as CXO level folks in an organization. A study of around 1770 folks belonging to frontline and executive level managers showed that 54% of their time was spent on control and coordination of teams which is an administrative task. Compared to that, only 30 % was spent on collaborating with teams to solve problems which is not acceptable for an organization of today. With AI brought into the picture, things would change dramatically. AI would automate these tasks, plan out the most optimum team schedules, work timelines, prepare reports on tasks on demand and offer cynical support to team members requesting administrative help.
Imagine software tools creating your yearly earnings report stories or creating narrative reports from your statistical and graphical business data. Well, it is already being done at places. The Associated Press (AP) now automates the creation of a majority of their US Corporate earning stories rather than using their reporters’ time for the same task. As a result, AP produces a massive 4400 stories for companies when compared to the 300 stories they used to create manually earlier. Today you have free extensions in your Chrome browser that produces narratives for Tableau business graphics. This was achieved because Tableau stuck a partnership with a leading provider of AI powered natural language generator tools to create accurate narratives for its graphical data.
Discovering New Value for Data
It is said that nearly 80% of our digital data is still unstructured. Over the years, businesses have invested on big data processing and analytics technology to gain valuable insights by structuring this data. But the tools were merely producing reports that needed further human evaluation to arrive at business decisions. With the onset of AI, there is a whole new avenue to integrate cognitive data analytics into big data processing tools. This would lead to the creation of systems that automatically determine how to structure data efficiently so as to help businesses meet their planned objectives. AI can create new customer experiences with deep learning of consumer data and help you improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.
So what’s next for AI?
Today the technology found in our smartphone is more cognitively engineered than the most powerful supercomputer available 30 years ago. The large amounts of processing power that is readily becoming portable will lead to a surge in AI applications that can leverage this power to study more aspects of all business stakeholders – be it consumer patterns, movement of goods and supplies, financial climate of markets, demographic and regulatory compliance measures and much more.
Companies are already making use of AI platforms to improve their bottom line performances -like the several healthcare organizations utilizing IBM Watson to deliver better patient care at their facilities. This scenario will lead to more C-Level executives and decision makers to rely on fact based accurate decisions made by AI systems rather than their own gut decisions on critical business operations. It doesn’t look too far a timeline when Apple’s Siri will tell the company when to launch their next iPhone!