3 Ways AI Can Improve Your Business Right Now4 October, 2017 / Articles
The portrait of artificial intelligence that the film industry paints features polished, albeit conflicted, protagonists. Films such as “The Terminator” and “Ex Machina” center around attractive, humanized robots who go off the rails and threaten their makers. In real life, however, AI is an integral part of our everyday lives that should be a little less intimidating.
Yet there’s still a gap between organizations adopting AI and incorporating it into their long-term strategies. A joint survey between the MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group found that while 61 percent of executives believe that AI should be a high priority for their organizations, only half those leaders have put a strategy in place.
And for the leaders who hesitate, there’s a lot to lose — 84 percent of the MIT/BCG survey respondents think AI comes with a competitive advantage, while 75 percent believe it yields new business. As AI leaps out of the lab and into our factories and offices, it can streamline and enrich processes to such an extent that companies using AI are better positioned for long-term growth than those that don’t.
Where AI Already Is
To start building AI into your business model, you first need to know how. Here are three of the field’s most important (and most applicable) recent developments that all entrepreneurs should know about:
- AI can transform your supply chain.
It’s no coincidence that the biggest internet company in the world has already baked AI into its supply chain. In 2012, Amazon acquired Kiva Systems, a group of warehouse robots that squeeze efficiency out of the Amazon supply chain by identifying stock levels, replenishing product, and fulfilling orders.
Before AI developed in this way, companies had to this by hand. Distribution management was a tedious, multifaceted operation prone to human error; now that it’s taken care of, companies can pour human energy into more creative tasks.
What does an AI supply chain look like for your organization? You may not be able to acquire a robot kingdom like Amazon’s, but you can invest in supply chain management software to spot patterns and manage packaging and transportation accordingly. This allows you to respond to demand with more efficiency and accuracy, freeing up your money and time to drive further innovation and beef up your bottom line.
- AI is the ultimate opinion miner.
In the sprawling mass of internet content, brands send out messages to consumers and try to collect responses. But without AI, these lines of communication can be messy and superficial.
For example, Coca-Cola has lots of data it can pull from its 35 million Twitter followers, but it’s only useful if that information produces opinions, tastes, trends, and insights. Coca-Cola uses AI to track product mentions across social media, so the soft drink giant can see where buyers are, who they are, and what drives their positive or negative experiences.
AI opinion mining has developed a lot in recent years. It can now collect data from multiple channels, analyze customer sentiments, and pick up patterns in those feelings to allow marketing and product to align with customer trends. Start using opinion mining in your organization to get a clearer picture of your customers and start serving them better.
- AI can boost your recommendation engine.
Recommendation engines don’t come with much more acclaim or praise than Netflix. The streaming service built AI into its platform to learn about user preferences, curate viewing options based on those likings, and then measure how these selections affect things like bounce rate and free-trial conversion.
AI innovations have strengthened recommendation engines, allowing them to process more variables and more media types and improve their accuracy. This can provide customers an increasingly personal and compelling experience that will heighten the possibility of customer retention.
And it’s not just movie providers that have a lot to gain by tailoring these services. From The New York Times pinpointing content preferences with an AI-based algorithm to 1-800-Flowers’ “AI gift concierge” that remembers gift recipients and customizes recommendations for them, any business can use AI-cobbled recommendations to get closer to customers.
It’s no longer just enough to imagine how AI might influence your future business model; AI is already stocking warehouses, combing through social media, and picking out your mom’s favorite flowers. The sooner you rise to the challenge of enriching your business with AI-based processes, the sooner you’ll start to see higher productivity and all the spoils that come along with it.