Big businesses are forging ahead with artificial Intelligence (AI) applications. Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home are just the tip of the iceberg. AI is appearing in chatbots, smart robots and expert systems. But, is AI something the smaller businesses should be investing in now? Or, is artificial intelligence the sole preserve of big corporations? Here’s why every business should be starting to look at the benefits of AI right now.

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

Strictly speaking, AI refers to computer software that can mimic independent thought. True AI, though, is something that is only found today in research labs and science fiction movies. The term AI is currently being used to describe several different technologies. It includes things such as machine learning, speech recognition and natural language generation.

How Is AI Used in Business Now?

Artificial intelligence is already being used in a wide variety of business applications. The application that most people are aware of is that of speech recognition. Especially in personal assistant applications like Siri, Cortana and Alexa. AI is used in many other business applications as well. Banks are beginning to use chatbots to answer consumer inquiries and perform basic banking transactions. AI is behind the robotic automation of warehouses and production lines. Artificial intelligence is also being applied to business intelligence. Walmart, for example, uses SAP’s cloud-based HANA to process and analyze high volume transaction data. Businesses like eBay are using an AI system called Dono to gain insight into customer behavior.

How to Prepare Your Business for AI

Businesses of all sizes need to start thinking now about how artificial intelligence will impact on their sector. It is the early adopters of AI that will reap the rewards. Like all new technologies, AI may have begun life with the major corporations, but it is now becoming more accessible to small businesses. In the future, AI will become more readily available, and it will become cheaper to access. Here are the steps that every business needs to take to prepare for AI

Familiarize Yourself with AI Technology

Now is the time to start learning about AI. Research the existing applications of AI and investigate the expected future applications. Understanding what AI can do now, and what it will do, will start you thinking about how you could apply AI in your business.

Take a Fresh Look at Your Business

Start with a blank piece of paper and look at how AI could give your business a competitive edge. Look at how the technology might be employed to automate repetitive tasks and solve problems. Consider these possibilities in business terms. Define quantifiable outcomes for them, and then measure the potential benefit to your business.

Grow Your Use of AI over Time

Use AI to reduce costs and then reinvest those savings in further uses of the technology. If you have a website that generates a lot of customer inquiries, for example, consider the possibility of using a chatbot to answer them. In some cases, chatbots have reduced costs by 30%. Implementing AI in a gradual fashion will be much less of a risk and it will make the implementation self-funding.

Think About KPIs

Think about the key performance indicators (KPIS) that demonstrate how well your business is operating. Look at how you can optimize those KPIs, one at a time. Data is at the heart of every AI implementation. So, look at how AI can be utilized to improve your critical processes. Start making technology a major part of your future strategy. Artificial intelligence has applications in almost all areas of business. It could, for example, be used for streamlining your HR function, predicting sales trends, or automating manual tasks.

Don’t Let the Fear of Failure Hold You Back

AI is still in its infancy, but it is the businesses that embrace it now that will be the winners. Don’t let the fear of setbacks dissuade you from implementing the technology. If you could revolutionize one critical component of your business, it could put you miles ahead of your competition.

Deploying Your Own Applications

Some people see AI as a threat to jobs. The truth is that, like many other technological advancements of the past, AI will change the how people work. But, it will also create new business and employment opportunities. It is certain, though, that businesses that ignore AI, will do so at their peril. AI can improve how your business operates today. It could also lead to new business opportunities for you tomorrow. Amazon found this with their own AI development. It led them from being a purely eCommerce business to being competitors with Microsoft and Google. Almost anything is possible when you begin to explore the potential of AI.

AI Applications for business already exist. There are intelligent CRM systems, like Einstein AI for SalesForce, AI powered marketing platforms, like Acquisio, and there are chatbots for a variety of business applications. The best software developers are also now building AI into business solutions for their customers. Contact Aezion to discuss your requirements and receive a proposal for developing your own custom artificial intelligence application.

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