Only a few years ago, the idea of Artificial Intelligence (AI) may have conjured movie-inspired images of robots walking amongst us. Today, the reality of AI is far more versatile and open-ended. We are only beginning to see the ways that it may impact our lives.
If you own a business, you’ve likely wondered if AI might benefit your operations or internal systems. Broadly speaking, there are three ways that AI can help your business compete: process automation, strategic insight and higher levels of engagement. While this may sound ambitious, you may still be wondering how to use AI in your business.
We’ve put together a list of ways on how to use AI in your business:
Tip #1: Understand AI’s capabilities
In order to use AI in your business, take the time to understand its capabilities. A wide range of companies, including Microsoft and Google, offer webinars and other online resources to get you started. As you search for information, be sure to include terms such as ‘machine intelligence’ and ‘deep-learning’.
AI is a complex and sophisticated science with tremendous potential for your business. Although you won’t need all of AI’s capabilities for your business, it’s still good to familiarize yourself with more information.
Tip #2: Determine on what you want to achieve with AI
Once you have a basic grasp on the capabilities of AI, you will want to get specific about how it can help your business. Here are several questions to help you determine your business goals:
- What are your operational pain points?
- Do you have a large volume of data or material that needs to be reviewed?
- Are your customers leaving your sales cycle for unknown reasons?
As you consider specific AI goals, make sure you prioritize the ones that deliver financial benefit and can be easily measured.
Tip #3: Use AI to make existing products better
Whether your company manufactures desk chairs or cooking oil, AI can help to enhance the features, performance and functions of your products.
Using broad data analysis and machine process learning, your company can reduce design time, improve the efficiency of your packaging and the manufacturing process itself.
Tip #4: Use AI to automate tasks
AI is widely known for its ability to automate specific tasks. Once you have a deep understanding of your workflow and can break it into step-by-step components, there may be obvious tasks that can be automated through AI.
This can free your employees of tedious work, allowing them to think creatively and work more strategically. For instance, you can use an AI chatbot to take care of customer support or answering technical questions. This automation will help to free up the amount of troubleshooting your team needs to do.
Tip #5: Analyze the AI data
Of course, the real power behind AI is its ability to process data at a rate that humans could never emulate. With a strategic AI objective and studying large amounts of data related to a particular process or function, you will be in a much stronger position to make better business decisions.
Do customers who drop out of your sales cycle respond well to follow-up? What does this action translate to in the way of income? The possibilities for business data analysis are nearly endless.
Tip #6: Use AI to optimize operations
One of the most powerful applications for AI is manufacturing analysis. AI can help to optimize internal processes, predict machine downtime and improve control systems.
Using AI to analyse vast amounts of data provides strategic insight to operations and identifies areas that can be improved. Could you reduce waste in your manufacturing process? Could you streamline systems that integrate with your supply chain? AI can help you find answers to these questions and many more.
Tip #7: Start small when using AI
Once you have identified a specific problem you’d like to solve or a technology gap you would like to close, be sure to start your AI journey with a pilot project. A pilot acts as a test run before larger, more expensive, implementation. It allows you to do several things in a short period of time, testing against goals, receiving feedback and discovering variables you might not have known you had.
All of these small-scale factors help you to limit your risk and refine your solution to make sure a broader implementation has a greater chance of success.
Tip #8: Ask for professional AI help
Chances are, your employees are experts in many things, including how to make and sell your products or deliver your services. It is very unlikely, however, that they are also experts in AI. With technology and best practices evolving quickly, you will do well to have the expertise of AI consultants on hand. Typically, they will work closely with a small team of internal employees in order to understand the business, set timelines for an AI project and measure results.
If you’ve been thinking about how to use AI in your business, you are not alone. With wide coverage in the media, AI has gained attention for its potential to turn business structures and operations around. You may be tempted to use AI to give you a competitive advantage or to avoid being left behind. Keep in mind, AI is still in its infancy with respect to business operations; if you have a specific problem you’d like to solve, be sure to enlist the expertise of AI professionals, start small and measure your results.