Before any organisation can implement artificial intelligence, they need to decide if the technology is right for their business.
Organisation’s can’t be pressured into the fact that AI has gone mainstream. It is already present in people’s smartphones, internet smart engines, connected homes and a range of solutions.
Companies need to identify a problem and judge whether the technology will help them solve it.
Jorge Sanchez – director of product strategy at Appian believes that companies can derive real value from this technology in their applications, “as it helps automate repetitive tasks, empowering employees and agents by helping them make better, faster, and more informed decisions.”
“It’s not just about following the latest trend, but rather leveraging a new technology that can positively impact your bottom line.”
Jump start automation initiatives
Any organisation or any area of a business that can benefit from automation can benefit from AI.
“Simply put, AI is one of those technologies that can jump start many automation initiatives, as well as improving current business outcomes,” explains Sanchez. “Many banks, insurers, healthcare providers and retailers have already adopted AI into customer service functions to provide intelligent insights, faster service and better customer experience.”
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“For example, retail banks use AI to offer suitable banking products to their customers. Insurance companies leverage AI to verify identity, assess risk profiles and recommend coverage.”
“Healthcare providers are incorporating AI to triage patient referrals and cases, as well as diagnostics. Retailers have been using AI for years to identify shopping patterns and recommend items to consumers.”
“There are many other areas that will become more intelligent and automated in the years to come, including back-office functions like accounting, IT support, operations, and logistics.”
How to begin
If an organisation decides to implement artificial intelligence into their business, they need to start by identifying functions, processes and tasks that are highly repetitive and can be automated.
“Leveraging AI does not mean you need to [or should] rethink your whole business model, or completely change the way you do things. It is a technology that can help improve your current processes, and current decision making approach,” says Sanchez.
The second thing
“Learn more about how AI can benefit your business, while also familiarising yourself with Natural Language Processing (NLP), cognitive services and machine learning,” continues Sanchez.
“You do not need to be the expert on AI, but you do need to understand what AI can do for organisations. Once this is done, you can proceed to automate key processes, collect and mine data to detect trends, patterns and outcomes, to start creating algorithms for machine learning, then build up to have AI for predictive responses.”
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The dos and do nots
As with every technology roll out, start with small, simple but high-impact tasks and processes to start automating and applying AI — according to Sanchez.
“The experience and experiments from smaller projects will create a sound foundation to move onto bigger, more complex human interactions and AI challenges. You want to focus on quick-wins and figure out a plan with short, medium and long term goals, all tied to specific business objectives.”
“Don’t pick a complex process or task with too many variables, decision points, stakeholders and potential outcomes,” he warns.
“While AI is still in its infancy, it can already do a lot of things well,” concludes Sanchez.
“One of the first things to realise is that you do not need to automate the whole process, but rather parts of it. The more focused the problem you’re trying to solve, the easier the AI solution design can be. Currently, it is very difficult to replace a complete complex process with a single AI black box, designing such a system can be daunting. However, that same process can be broken down into smaller parts and some of those can be very easily automated. This is the best approach to take given today’s capabilities.”