From customer service and sales to product design and supply chains, AI is transforming the business landscape from the inside out. Whether it’s Spotify’s algorithm deciding what music you’ll enjoy the most or Alexa ordering your groceries, AI is driving many of the world’s leading companies.
But even if you are not Tim Cook or Elon Musk, you can rest assured that the way AI is changing business has an effect on your organization as well. According to Gartner, the number of organizations implementing AI has tripled in 2018. But, how exactly does the AI revolution look like?
Automation is the New Standard
Most consumers associate AI with chatbots such as Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. They have become a customer service standard. To free up employees’ time, automate customer service and lower costs, many businesses use a virtual assistant of their own.
However, most companies that have implemented Artificial Intelligence have done it behind the scenes. Most companies that use AI use it to automate common, basic, or repetitive tasks. These may include:
- Data consolidation and basic trend analyses;
- Recording and transcribing meeting minutes;
- Coordinating schedules;
- Monitoring productivity analytics;
- Optimizing inventory levels and sales forecasts.
Through the smart deployment of AI technologies, almost every business can improve productivity. When it comes to creating automation solutions, nothing beats the versatility of AI.
AI is Redefining Jobs
Instead of causing many people to lose their jobs as naysayers have predicted, AI has ushered in entirely new job markets and positions. It is easy to see why natural language processing and machine learning development have become some of the most sought-after skills.
At the moment, machine learning experts are having their pick of the litter. However, one of the reasons behind this is the fact that machine learning development is one of the most difficult skills to master. One of the main reasons companies are having a hard time is the lack of requisite talent to drive AI adaptation.
Headhunting and competition won’t slow down even as the field continues to attract more and more knowledge workers hungry to become a part of relevant industries.
Since machines can struggle to digest and learn from raw data that is messy, “data labeler” is likely to become a new blue-collar job. The job of a data labeler will be to manually clean and sort data before feeding it into the system.
They may spend their whole workday identifying news pieces relevant to certain topics or sorting images of dogs and cats. There is no doubt that AI is transforming the job market, but it’s doing it in ways that most didn’t expect.
Data is Everything
AI technologies require lots of data to deliver real results. A company needs to have a data collection and management infrastructure if they want to make the most of AI. As more and more companies are working on this at the moment, some major challenges are arising. They include:
- Developing infrastructure that has the capability to store and utilize collected data;
- Tailoring data to fit specific use cases;
- Collecting data in a way that does not seem invasive to consumers;
- Finding reliable and trustworthy sources of data;
- Identifying which data points are the most useful.
The Impact of AI on the Hiring Process
The hiring process has many flaws, even though strategic talent acquisition is key for every serious company. First impressions are still driving the interview process. Bias is a huge obstacle.
More than half of new hires come from employee referrals. According to one study, discrimination against black workers in the hiring process hasn’t declined in the past 25 years even though many companies are actively making an effort to end discriminatory hiring practices.
To combat these issues, many companies are already using AI in their hiring processes and operations. AI can scan large volumes of talent sources such as resumes and portfolios, helping businesses cast a wider net.
This allows companies to pinpoint the right candidates for specific jobs. Many companies are using AI tools to review call logs, interview transcripts, and job descriptions. These tools can accurately assess candidates and find and rectify hidden biases in the hiring process.
One such talent management solution is the IBM Watson Candidate Assistant. This tool helps match potential candidates with jobs that suit them best. However, when it comes to such tools, it is key to ensure that they won’t fall victim to the same biases as humans do.
Enhancing the Customer Experience
Since CX (customer experience) has become central in the business landscape of today, many businesses are adopting a new, holistic approach to CX. Companies have various AI tools at their disposal that allow them to create highly-personalized customer experiences.
AI can determine what factors and elements are driving customers’ behavior by aggregating and analyzing all the touchpoints they have with a brand. Are they about to churn? Why? Do they want to buy more? Why?
By digesting this info, AI tools can give companies unprecedented insight into end-to-end CX. AI enables companies to better anticipate the needs of their customers by providing them with the right marketing prescriptions and messages at the right time.
When it comes to the full implementation of AI technologies, most companies still have a long way to go. But now is the time to ensure your company is ready to keep up with the emerging changes. It’s time to figure out what AI means to your business because you can rest assured that it is here to stay.
Jennifer Wilson is a writer that knows business processes and operations management inside out. As she understands all the challenges of running a small business firsthand, it’s her mission to tackle the topics that are most relevant to entrepreneurs and offer viable solutions.