Artificial intelligence: how to apply it to your business

Published on 22/08/2019 by Lucca Rossi and Sonia Navarrete

benefits of artificial intelligence for small businesses

Few people may have not yet heard about AI, the abbreviation for artificial intelligence. It’s everywhere, and the business world is no exception. According to a global survey by Gartner (complete study available to clients), 50% of companies plan to invest in this area by 2020. 

But what is artificial intelligence? It’s a technology that applies advanced analysis and logic-based techniques to help and automate decisions, imitating human behavior.

The use of artificial intelligence allows companies for example to offer us targeted advertising with specific products that we are looking for. This technology can also provide access to autonomous cars in the future or help cure serious diseases such as cancer.

At first glance, therefore, using artificial intelligence in companies may seem a bit distant. But the reality is different. 

“Common definitions of AI focus on automation and, as a result, often fail to make clear the opportunities available to IT and business leaders,” said Whit Andrews, distinguished vice president analyst at Gartner.

According to Andrews, the key to demystifying it is to understand how to select and apply technologies that use artificial intelligence and generate business value, such as online service robots and advanced analysis techniques that enhance the work in companies. 

We’ll look at the ways in which businesses can benefit from artificial intelligence below:

CRM

One of the major fields of artificial intelligence impacting business recently is customer relationship management (CRM). 

With this technology, the software can predict behavior patterns by analysing the “footprint” left by consumers in the digital world. By helping to understand consumers in the smallest detail, artificial intelligence enables companies to develop better sales strategies and rethink the way they communicate with potential customers. Among the areas benefiting the most from the use of artificial intelligence (cited by 100 companies in Gartner’s report) the main one is sales. 

By identifying patterns through data analysis it’s possible to gain efficiency, contacting consumers more likely to buy certain products and at the most appropriate time. The main CRM software offers this type of functionality.

In addition, automation can also help vendors with repetitive work and process optimisation.

Chatbots

The use of chatbots is gaining popularity and is another area that is benefiting from AI,  enhancing these tools in order to make virtual assistance as natural and efficient as possible. 

According to a recent survey conducted by the specialised company Aivo with e-commerce companies in the US,  65% of customer enquiries over the past six months have been answered effectively by chatbots. The survey indicates that the focus when using them is to optimise and improve customer service, while allowing cost reduction and potential sales growth. The study also reveals that Facebook and WhatsApp are channels where chatbots are more frequently used.

Digital Marketing

Those who work with marketing know the importance of understanding the audience they are writing or creating for.

Artificial intelligence can help in the development of campaigns designed for a certain type of consumer based on their online behavior and that seek to make the most of the available budget. Marketing automation tools use this technology to optimise advertisements on large platforms such as Facebook and Google for example. 

In addition, analysing consumer habits with the help of artificial intelligence allows companies to regulate pricing and schedule promotions and offers. 

With these powerful statistical analysis tools, it’s possible to find out from data what the strengths (and weaknesses) of the business are, and open your eyes to niche markets that could go unnoticed if all this information wasn’t analysed. 

Human Resources 

Another area where automation gains space is human resources, where software is used to manage staff holidays, benefits and keeping track of employees’ time.

Programs that use artificial intelligence can help HR professionals in the different areas in which they work: 

Selection: with the large number of CVs received for certain vacancies, choosing the ones that best fit is a challenge. Tools that automate the process make this task easier.

Management: new employees normally have the same questions when they start in a company. With an optimised portal with artificial intelligence, new staff can make inquiries without having to contact HR directly, including through chatbots.

Results and training: With the analysis of workers’ performance data it’s possible to identify staff weaknesses and develop training.

To get started 

The use of artificial intelligence in companies is already a reality however, experts point out that it is necessary to keep an eye out for new developments in the area, since the changes are constant. 

Investment should not be a barrier. For small businesses, where the financial issue is always important, there are free software options that integrate this technology to its functionalities. Just choose the one that best adapts to the size and type of business and make a test!    

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