The concept of artificial intelligence (AI) has been around for a long time. Science fiction unfortunately gives AI a bad rap and depicts it as an evil entity dead-set on taking over human society and dominating the world. But in reality, it can do a lot of remarkable things to make life easier.
In the business world, its potential for enabling companies to work smarter and faster is being uncovered more and more by the day. Bill Gates has even referred to AI as the “holy grail” of computer science.
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As the technology advances, businesses are looking for innovative ways to streamline every aspect of their operation. A report conducted by Narrative Science found that 80 percent of executives believe AI solutions can significantly improve productivity.
Here are three areas in which it is being applied to standard business practices
1. Human resources and hiring processes
As many HR reps will agree, the entire process of recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding can be extremely tedious.
The prospect of applying AI to HR has gotten many professionals in the field excited. Through the use of intelligent machines, the day-to-day tasks that typically bog down manpower can be effectively taken care of so agents can focus on their primary objective: meeting the needs of candidates and current employees. Essentially, AI can help put the “human” back in human resources.
There are many ways in which HR departments can use AI technology. For example, Restless Bandit is an excellent SaaS product that automates the tasks of screening applications, finding matches, reaching out, and even scheduling face-to-face interviews. In turn, the amount of busy work required just to bring a potential candidate into the office is drastically reduced.
With the help of AI, this program will rate applicants against open positions and send hiring managers lists of matches, as well as their ranking. This way, all the recruiters are tasked with is taking a final look and pinpointing exactly whom they want to follow up with. For larger enterprises, this solution can save copious amounts of time and resources throughout the entire process.
2. Source-to-pay operations
The road to digitizing source-to-pay has not been easy for big enterprises. In spite of all the interest and investments made, the traditional strategies for automating such operations have yet to present a process that requires little human involvement.
Big data is taking an increasingly larger role in helping businesses better understand their spend, supply market trends, supply chain risks, and more.
As digital business continues to rise and AI solutions become more sophisticated, AI can shed light on valuable insights in real-time so businesses can create more precise, versatile sourcing plans.
For example, SMART by GEP, a cloud-native procurement platform with AI capabilities that provides comprehensive analytical reporting on spend analysis, savings tracking, sourcing, contract management, supplier management, and procure-to-pay. From a single dashboard, businesses can get comprehensive visibility into their spend, allowing them to identify greater opportunities for savings and value creation across the board.
AI enables advanced spend analytics with greater level of accuracy to help businesses make more informed decisions for effective spend management. AI-based sourcing software learns the business’s sourcing patterns and helps identify the best suppliers more quickly and efficiently. AI can also help with supplier performance management – the software can identify if and when supplier performance drifts out of alignment with the contract and alert the business to initiate improvement measures.
3. Customer service
The importance of customer service cannot be underestimated. In fact, the 2016 Microsoft State of Global Customer Service found that 60% of consumers stopped doing business with a brand altogether as a result of a single poor customer service experience.
Now, the pure mention of using machines to create better customer service experiences sounds ludicrous at first. However, if used properly, these solutions can significantly reduce the amount of frustration in terms of things like hold times, or being redirected to different agents. Let’s face it, no one likes calling a support line and navigating through a myriad of recordings only to wait to connect with a live specialist.
One of the most effective ways AI can influence customer service is through the use of chatbots. Bots can begin reading and analyzing customer data from the initial touch point and provide smart insights on how to accurately assist each query.
For example, solutions like Nano Rep allow you to integrate your customer support with leading resources like Salesforce, Zendesk, Magneto, and more to become available on the most popular messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Skype, Slack, and Whatsapp.
Bots are a momentous way to engage and interact with customers. The use of AI enables companies to harness analytics to create a meaningful, personalized experience each time.
Data is quickly becoming one of the most valuable business resources on the face of the planet. As AI picks up steam and begins to hit its stride in terms of how solutions are applied to business operations, executives will be able to make more educated decisions, and ultimately, eliminate waste.
By providing a deeper context within day-to-day systems, companies will be able to highlight both their strengths, as well as inefficiencies, so they can constantly be working to put their best foot forward in every department.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.