Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer a fantasy, it’s becoming more and more accessible. The benefits of this technology are now at the fingertips of every business wishing to take advantage. You just need to know where to look.

Currently, much of what’s offered is known as machine learning, which is where a computer is taught to complete a very specific set of tasks. An image recognition programme, for example, won’t be very good at understanding languages. AI experts are currently working on artificial general intelligence which mimics human capabilities. However, this is a long way off with current estimates hovering around 81 years.

That said, there is still much that you can achieve through using AI in the current day, as some of the following examples will illustrate.

Chatbots

 Chatbots have become ubiquitous in recent years. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM and Apple each have stakes in chatbot technology. So far, this approach has proved popular: 69% of consumers prefer a chatbot to answer their questions quickly and 35% want to see more businesses using bots. By 2020, 80% of businesses expect to be using some kind of chatbot technology.

Bots offer a quick way to boost sales conversions, answer customer enquiries and move people searching for products along the sales funnel. They can also provide information – Mencap, for example, is using a chatbot to increase awareness around learning disabilities and challenge common misconceptions.

Voice assistants

Alexa, Siri, Cortana and the less catchily-named Google Assistant have brought AI into our homes. Now they’re headed for our offices. Alexa for Business is an enterprise version of the popular AI voice assistant tailored to workspaces. It can control certain devices, to seamlessly start meetings in conference rooms, lower blinds and update calendars.

Businesses should also experiment with engaging audiences through voice assistants. Over 100 million Alexa devices are in households worldwide. That’s a huge potential audience to connect with. It’s worth brainstorming potential skills that you can program for AI voice assistants – a retailer could provide product and delivery updates, for instance.

Predictive analytics

This is one of the most exciting ways that AI can help businesses. Predictive analytics uses an organisation’s data to predict scenarios occurring. This has far-reaching benefits for strategy, planning, budgeting and recruitment.

Oil company Shell has been using analytics to predict when 3,000 different oil drilling parts may fail. By intervening before the component failed, Shell was able to reduce downtime and better plan when to purchase machine parts, saving itself millions of dollars every year.

Predictive analytics can be used for better targeting. AI can sift through a wealth of marketing data to predict customer behaviour. Through this, businesses can target the audiences most likely to convert, making marketing more efficient and cost-effective.

Automation

Automation does away with the routine, mundane work that’s the bane of every workplace. Did you know that 45% of current work could be automated? Thus, enabling employees to focus on higher-level, strategic activities.

AI assistants for e-mail can draft replies automatically or send reminders. Data entry and cleansing can be automated, errors in code can be flagged automatically and fraud can be detected.

The main benefits of AI

The main benefits of using current AI is in cost-savings and efficiency. It streamlines many operations and automates routine work. AI also provides greater information, by predicting situations and analysing more data than what’s humanly possible.

Preparing for AI now is a good idea, because eventually it’s going to impact every business. Getting AI-ready takes some time. Data has to be formatted correctly, AI models have to be developed and the right talent must be hired. Tapping into the potential of AI today, therefore, will set you up well in the future.

At Xledger, we’re helping our clients to take full advantage of the benefits AI brings, in fact we’re one of the most automated ERP solutions on the market. To learn more about our services, and how we can help you to create a streamlined, cost-efficient business model, contact us here.