There is an incredible amount of hype about AI today. Businesses across various industries continue to adopt this technology to receive a competitive advantage over others, reduce operating costs, and improve customer experience. But does your business really need an AI solution?
Some businesses have said that Artificial Intelligence is nothing but a waste of time and money. Also, some organizations face particular barriers to AI initiatives. Gartner’s research showed the most common obstacles are a lack of skilled specialists, a small amount of data, and the inability to measure results.
Not all companies are ready to make AI a part of their corporate strategy. Does AI suit your particular business? To find the answer, we reviewed AI business usages and signs of whether a business is ready to integrate AI.
Artificial Intelligence for Business
Artificial Intelligence is a special algorithm that allows virtual machines to learn from experience automatically by recognizing patterns in the data, and adapt new information to solve particular business problems. AI includes the following sub-fields:
Machine Learning applied neural network and statistical analytics to receive insights from data.
Natural Language Processing allows the machine to analyze, understand, and generate human language.
Deep learning empowers virtual machines with self-learning capabilities and many layers of processing units. In this way, the algorithm develops self-learning capabilities, applied to image and speech recognition.
Benefits of AI for Business
Companies that leverage AI for their business operations said about the following improvements:
- 54% of business executives claim AI solutions increased their business productivity
- 72% decision-makers said the use of AI in business helped their employees to concentrate on more meaningful tasks
- 51% of executives apply AI and a value-added solution for their products
- 59% of executives say that AI improves the use of big data
AI Business Applications
Businesses apply AI for the following tasks:
- Detecting Fraud. AI compares millions of transactions and distinguishing the difference between legitimate and fraudulent transactions
- Improve Data Security. The algorithm identifies patterns in data access, reporting anomalies, and predicting security breaches
- E-commerce recommendation engines. AI analyzes the buyer purchase history and determining one’s preferences
- Provide better customer support. AI-powered chatbots that can help users solve simple tasks and answer simple queries
- Predict stock inventory supply. Smart algorithms analyze users purchases and finding out about the most popular products
- Lead scoring. By analyzing leads activity, AI prioritizes them and predicts the amount of profit each client might bright.
- Facilitating better management of financial resources. AI machines analyze patterns in buyers’ behavior to predict income and cash-flow.
With this in mind, let’s find out whether you can apply AI for business and what challenges you will face during AI adoption.
Does My Business Really Need Artificial Intelligence?
The first thing to bear in mind is that not all companies are ready to leverage AI. If you want to find out whether AI suits your business, consider the following.
Well-established Data Collection
Artificial intelligence requires a large amount of high-quality data collected in the right way. Moreover, gathering high-quality data is an essential struggle for all AI specialists and data scientists. In this case, we talk not about the data accessible on the internet, but rather about data your company collects.
But, there is no particular answer to how much information your AI solution will need since. It depends on the complexity of your business problem and the complexity of the AI algorithm you are going to build.
Thus, if you decided to hire data scientists to build an AI algorithm, you need to make the following preparations:
Check out errors in the data. While AI algorithms can find insights from big data, they could not generalize the data format. For instance, if you did several misspells in a client’s name and still conclude that this is the one person, the AI algorithm doesn’t. In this case, AI machines will classify spelling variations as different persons, which impacts negatively on predictions.
Keep the data up to date. If you want your AI algorithm to make precise predictions and get really valuable insight, you should keep your data updates. It means that before using data for AI training, you need to delete all old and irrelevant information. Also, be sure that your data has no gaps, including missing outliners and values.
Use the unified format for data storing. To enable AI algorithms to learn from your data, you need to keep all the inputs in one format. If your business keeps data in different formats, like PDFs, Word docs, or physical documents, you need to convert it in the form of a searchable database.
Particular Business Problem to Solve
If you have maintained the way your business collects and stores data, the next step is to figure out what you want from an AI algorithm. It means that you need to define what business problem you want AI algorithms to solve. To give you a clue about the area you can improve with AI, we listed the three most common AI usages.
Bring value to existing products. The example is how Netflix leverages AI and Machine Learning for their recommender system. Machine Learning algorithms analyze the watching history of other users with similar tastes to recommend you the most exciting content. With such an approach, the company increased the number of paying users because users received more engaging experience.
Make data-driven business decisions. You can apply AI to receive insights on how to control rent prices, optimize resource planning and demand forecasting, and even predict when a piece of equipment might break.
Automate business processes. Artificial Intelligent Algorithms are perfect for routine tasks automation because they analyze all available data for one specific task, and they are good at it. If you want to find out what processes you can automate with AI, think about your business processes that are rich in data. Also, consider processes when your employees have to search through and analyze significant amounts of data.
Culture of Innovations
The culture of your company also defines whether you are ready to implement AI or not. For example, industry leaders such as Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, and others that leverage AI, have a track record on innovations. Thus, you need to value your data as a driver of changes.
AI-friendly corporate strategy. Some businesses want to implement AI just for AIs’ sake without having a well-though corporate strategy. In this case, enterprises receive long, drawn-out projects that never bring actual value. To avoid this, you need to be sure that your business strategy is flexible to make AI a central element.
Measurable results. Before implementing AI technology, you should think about the way you will evaluate the efficiency and results of AI algorithms. In this way, setting metrics will demonstrate the technology’s return on investment.
The margin for error. It would be best if you considered that sometimes Artificial Intelligence does not work in the way it should. Thus, you should rely on AI algorithms from the very implementation and be okay with spending extra budget on data scientists who will maintain the algorithm during the post-launch period.
AI is a great tool that might bring many benefits to the business. However, it is not a “one size fits all” solution.
Before considering AI for small business, you should consider the following:
- If your business produces very little data, AI is not your tech solution of choice. To learn, work properly, and give you valuable insights, AI needs a vast amount of data.
- Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning is not magic, but math. Thus, do not consider those technologies as silver bullets to make your business earn more.
- If you have a small company that does not produce big data, you should not think that an AI algorithm will help you to earn more.
- To adopt AI to your business, you need to have structured data, clearly defines business problems, and flexible corporate strategy.