Now more than ever, you may be looking for ways to make your business more efficient, more streamlined, more cost-effective, and better able to cope with changing market needs. Artificial intelligence – in particular, AI-driven automation – is helping companies achieve all this and more.
Here are seven ways AI is transforming everyday business processes for the better.
1. Improving meetings
Okay, so AI can’t eliminate meetings altogether. In fact, the coronavirus pandemic has shown us how maintaining human connections is vital, even from a distance – which means meetings are definitely here to stay. But AI can at least help to cut down the tiresome admin involved before, during, and after meetings.
For example, voice assistants such as Google Duplex can schedule appointments for you. Then there’s Voicea’s EVA assistant, which can listen in on your meetings, capture key highlights and actions, and create and share actionable notes afterwards. Another tool, called Sonia, does a similar thing, but is designed to capture client calls, transcribing the entire conversation, and automatically summarising key items and actions.
2. Enhancing sales and marketing
Many off-the-peg CRM solutions now incorporate AI analytics, enabling sales teams to automatically generate valuable insights. For example, Salesforce’s Einstein AI technology can predict which customers are most likely to generate more revenue, and which are most likely to take their custom elsewhere. Armed with knowledge like this, salespeople can focus their time and energy where it matters most.
Then there’s the widespread use of chatbots, which is helping organisations boost sales, drive revenue, and grow their audience. In one example, UK retailer Marks & Spencer added a virtual digital assistant function to its website to help customers solve common issues – a move which has reportedly saved millions of pounds worth of sales that would otherwise have been lost as frustrated customers bounce off the site.
3. Assessing and improving customer service
When it comes to call centre operations, automation is nothing new; simple enquiries have been met with automated menu services for some time. But one tech company says it can help companies automatically judge the quality of human customer service calls. Transcosmos’s AI solution automatically assesses the quality of service given “at speed with human accuracy” – and can detect inappropriate and problematic customer service with more than twice the accuracy of a voice recognition system.
4. Improving product development processes
Generative design is a cutting-edge field that uses AI to augment the creative process. With generative design software, you simply input your design goals and other requirements and let the software explore all the possible designs that could fulfil those specifications – meaning you can quickly generate multiple designs from a single idaea. The software does all the heavy lifting of working out what works and what doesn’t, saving many, many hours of time. Plus, you avoid the expense of creating prototypes that don’t deliver.
5. Automating content generation
This article wasn’t written by a robot. But it could have been. Because, thanks to AI, machines are now capable of generating engaging, informative text – to the extent that organisations like Forbes are producing articles with the help of AI.
From writing product descriptions and web copy, to industry articles and reports, there’s a range of AI-driven content tools available. For example, e-commerce leader Alibaba has come up with a tool called AI-CopyWriter that’s capable of generating more than 20,000 lines of copy in just one second.
6. Enhancing the manufacturing process
The use of robots in manufacturing is well established. But the latest generation of robotic systems is capable of working alongside humans and interacting seamlessly (and safely) with the human workforce. This has given rise to the term “cobots" or collaborative robots.
Thanks to AI technologies like machine vision, cobots are aware of the humans around them and can react accordingly – for example, by adjusting their speed or reversing to avoid humans – meaning workflows can be designed to get the very best out of both humans and robots. Easy to programme, fast to set up, and with an average price tag of around $24,000 each, cobots are a viable option to help smaller and mid-sized firms compete with larger manufacturers.
7. Refining recruitment
HR may not seem an obvious match with AI. Yet AI is fast finding many uses in HR processes, including recruitment. For large employers like Unilever, which recruits around 30,000 people a year and handles 1.8 million applications, finding ways to streamline and improve the recruitment process is essential. That’s why Unilever partnered with AI recruitment specialist Pymetrics to create an online platform capable of conducting initial assessments of candidates in their own home. According to Unilever, around 70,000 person-hours of interviewing and assessing candidates have been cut thanks to this automated screening of candidates.
Bernard Marr is an internationally bestselling author, futurist, keynote speaker, and strategic advisor to companies and governments. He advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organisations on strategy, digital transformation and business performance. LinkedIn has recently ranked Bernard as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world and the No 1 influencer in the UK. He has authored 16 best-selling books, is a frequent contributor to the World Economic Forum and writes a regular column for Forbes. Every day Bernard actively engages his almost 2 million social media followers and shares content that reaches millions of readers.