This article was originally published on 08/22/2019.
The artificial intelligence (AI) market in the UK is expected to grow rapidly over the next five years, adding US$880 billion to the UK economy by 2035. To harness this potential, businesses may be interested to know how the applications of artificial intelligence can benefit them. Accordingly, in this article, we will look at the uses of AI for small to midsize enterprises (SMEs).
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Artificial intelligence or AI is possibly a part of many industries nowadays and the business world is no exception. According to a report by Gartner, service leaders should use AI to provide insights or predictions, enhance user experiences, and automate business processes. Before we delve deeper into the applications of artificial intelligence in business, let us first understand what AI is.
What is artificial intelligence?
AI is technology that applies advanced analysis and logic-based techniques to help automate decisions, imitate human behaviour, and perform activities like learning, problem-solving, and decision making.
For example, the use of artificial intelligence could allow companies to launch targeted advertising campaigns, automate mundane tasks or help cure serious diseases such as cancer. In fact, many patients used telemedicine software, which can make use of AI technology, for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic. At first, using artificial intelligence technology in companies may seem a bit distant or complicated, but the reality is different.
The next sections will look at the uses of AI and how artificial intelligence in business can be used to potentially increase profits.
Gartner defines customer relationship management (CRM) as follows: ‘Customer relationship management (CRM) is a business strategy that optimizes revenue and profitability while promoting customer satisfaction and loyalty. CRM technologies enable strategy, and identify and manage customer relationships, in person or virtually.’
Using AI, CRM software can possibly predict behaviour patterns by analysing the ‘footprint’ left by consumers in the digital world. By helping to understand consumers in the smallest detail, AI potentially enables companies to develop better sales strategies and rethink the way they communicate with potential customers.
In addition, by identifying patterns in data through AI, it may also be possible to gain insight on consumers who are more likely to buy certain products at the most appropriate time using the data collected by CRM software. CRM tools can also potentially help in targeting only those customers who may be interested in buying the product or service. In addition, automation, powered by AI, can also help vendors with repetitive work and process optimisation.
A chatbot is a computer program that simulates communication with humans via the internet, allowing people to communicate with digital gadgets as though they were talking to a real person. Such communication can be via both text and speech.
The use of chatbots could be gaining popularity and is another area that may be benefiting from artificial intelligence technology. AI technology can be used in the enhancement of tools like chatbots in order to make virtual assistance as natural and efficient as possible.
According to an article by the University of Aberdeen, artificially intelligent chatbots have been embraced by the UK public sector, under the ‘Digital Transformation’ strategy. The article also states that in a public sector organisation they recently collaborated with, artificial intelligence chatbots were involved in the customisation process which included instructing the chatbot to comprehend questions about financial topics as well as informal questions about the chatbots’ creation.
Artificial intelligence can potentially help in the development of marketing campaigns designed for a certain type of consumer based on their online behaviour. It may also help businesses to make the most of the available budget by knowing their target audience. Marketing automation platforms use AI technology to optimise advertisements on large platforms such as social media platforms, search engines etc.
As per an article by the Harvard Business Review, analysing consumer habits with the help of artificial intelligence allows companies to regulate pricing by changing the price of a product or service based on who is interested in buying with the aim to maximise their profits. AI-led tools may also help these companies schedule promotions and offers.
With such statistical analysis tools, it may be possible to find out from the data gathered what the strengths and weaknesses of the business are, which can help business owners be more aware of the niche markets that may go unnoticed if all this information isn’t analysed.
Another area where automation may gain prominence is the HR department. AI powered platforms can possibly be used to help HR professionals in different areas of their work like managing staff holidays and benefits, and keeping track of employees’ time. Some additional benefits are listed below:
AI tools can help in application tracking
When companies receive a large number of CVs for certain vacancies, choosing the ones that fit best can be a challenge. AI-powered applicant tracking system software can make the process of tracking candidate applications easier.
AI platforms can assist in employee onboarding
New employees normally have similar questions when they start working in a company. With a portal optimised with artificial intelligence technology, new staff may be able to make inquiries without having to contact an HR representative or department directly via applications like self-help chatbots.
AI technology can aid in employee analysis and training
With the analysis of workers’ performance data, it may be possible to identify staff weaknesses. Once companies are able to figure out the areas of improvement, they can develop training modules to help employees overcome knowledge gaps.
How to get started?
The use of artificial intelligence technology in companies is potentially being adopted, but it may be necessary to keep an eye out for new developments in the area since changes in this field are ongoing. For small businesses, where there are financial restrictions, it may be helpful to explore free AI software options that can enable easy integration of AI technology with other industries.