From voice-activated assistants on smartphones to intelligent bots on corporate websites, artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly gaining a foothold in the global economy. There are many different manifestations of AI, and many different ways in which it can bring value to businesses – which can make it difficult to identify and execute projects.
How do you know where to begin? How can you identify the low-hanging fruit, and get started with AI projects that deliver tangible value?
Northdoor works with some of the world’s leading vendors of AI technology to develop and deploy solutions aimed at augmenting human capabilities in the enterprise. With a focus squarely on delivering business benefits, Northdoor backs advanced technology with decades of experience in serving blue-chip companies.
We may not yet have walking, talking robots, but robotic process automation (RPA) is already delivering significant gains in productivity and efficiency. For the time being, the vast majority of robots in the workforce will remain software-only, and will be used to automate simple, repetitive business processes. In some cases, RPA will enable organisations to bring outsourced tasks back into the enterprise, to improve quality and to reduce costs. In other cases, the technology will enable completely new capabilities, helping businesses move skilled personnel from tedious administration into roles that add more value.
Process automation is likely to represent a good first step into AI. As a test case, businesses can identify a narrow set of processes that currently occupy time and effort disproportionate to their value, then design simple workflows to execute them.
Even relatively simple solutions can incorporate AI to perform fuzzy matching – so that minor discrepancies in an online form do not impede processing – and to identify scenarios that require escalation to a human expert.
In our hyperconnected world, where alternative offerings are just a click away, businesses must always be at the top of their customer-service game. Otherwise, they can become victims of their own success: rapid growth can easily outstrip the capacity of resources dedicated to keeping customers happy.
By deploying intelligent bots that use cognitive services to understand and respond in natural language, organisations can scale up their customer-care channels and enable personalised 24/7 coverage at much lower cost.
Cognitive services can also be used in internal decision support – for example, helping business analysts to sift through large volumes of documentation to make an investment decision, or assisting doctors in understanding the results of complex medical testing. Organisations can choose from pre-built solutions or assemble their own services from standard components in the cloud.
As businesses collect more and more data, increasingly in unstructured formats, AI can help transform it into meaningful information. Using machine learning and deep learning techniques – available as plug-and-play services on the cloud – business users can build and train models to predict the outcomes of potential decisions.
Machine learning systems can be trained to identify significant information in incoming data streams – for example, highlighting new market conditions that present challenges or opportunities to the business – and to help triage incoming support requests. Data science tools can further augment human capabilities, giving business users the tools to dig deep into performance data and understand the levers for business success.
Train, deploy and refine models for predicting business outcomes, giving your business an edge on the competition.
Plug in cloud-based intelligence to process speech and natural language, and to analyse information from unstructured sources.
Create a digital workforce to intelligently handle administrative processes, support requests and incoming sales leads.