AI in the Workplace: Innovation or Interruption?

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AI is Changing the Landscape of Business

Artificial intelligence is all the rage in emerging technology. The industry is expanding at a rapid pace, expected to have a value of up to $3.9 billion by 2022. AI provides insight into the health of a business, aids in scaling and analytics, and uses algorithms to better understand and serve customers. The healthcare and finance industries are already using this technology to help handle massive amounts of information quickly and more efficiently. Vendors promise solutions and consultants promise thorough evaluations that will save you time and money—but how will adopting this new technology impact your business?

What is AI?

Simply put, AI is a machine learning program that analyzes statistics and algorithms to evaluate data and determine patterns of behavior and system functionality. Most people use AI in their daily lives already, through Google searches, recommended products from Amazon, and voice-activated programs like Siri. The more you use these tools, the more they learn about you, what you like, what you dislike, therefore providing catered solutions to fit your needs. The same tools can be applied to business.

Innovative Uses for AI in Business

AI can relieve businesses of the burden of analyzing data by hand. Through AI, companies can monitor trends, identify patterns, and isolate concerns. Automation allows tasks like technical support, data entry, and processing to be completed by a machine, saving time and money. AI is especially useful in the early detection of fraud, waste, and abuse. It can also provide a review of the supply chain, helping companies improve transparency.

Customers benefit from AI because the system can create a unique profile based on purchase history and recommend new products or services to keep the customer engaged. Companies can also glean more information about what advertising and marketing efforts resonate with customers to continue to develop and improve targeting. All these offerings give companies a competitive advantage and provide specific value for their customers.

Drawbacks of AI

Many companies want to incorporate AI, but do not develop a strategic plan to create pilot programs and roll them out. As a result, programs languish, and large amounts of resources are spent on research and development that does not end with a high return on investment. Employees hesitate to adopt new technologies due to the fear of being replaced by a machine. There is also a learning curve when processes are conducted through AI, requiring time and training. As a result, employees may not be willing to participate in pilot programs or invest in learning new tools. In addition, leadership and stakeholders may lack knowledge about the products they seek to use. Without proper training, employees can become frustrated and may not maximize the use of the product.

To capitalize on the growth of the market, many companies and vendors offer AI tools which have not been thoroughly tested and are more distracting and frustrating than they are beneficial. This requires companies to research what will make them competitive in the market and their industry, and what will be most complementary to the needs of their customers. Since AI is relatively new, and often difficult to navigate, a data science team is critical to understanding and implementing the technology. However, the field is small and still growing, and a majority of qualified data scientists are employed by large tech firms. This leads to slowdowns in the adoption of the tools.

The Bottom Line

AI will revolutionize how businesses operate in the coming years. It is more likely that employees will apply and use AI rather than be replaced by it. Timing, preparation, and rigorous research are keys to success when adopting this technology into daily operations. With AI comes the benefit of faster data analysis that allows businesses to make critical decisions with a more complete picture and fewer errors. On the other hand, employees and stakeholders may be resistant to implementation, either through a lack of training, lack of strategic vision, or fear of irrelevance or job loss. The most important thing is to conduct careful research to determine what tools suit your business and industry best. With a clear objective and the buy-in from stakeholders and employees, you can ease the burden of data analysis and provide services that will increase the loyalty and satisfaction of your customers.

 

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