31 Mar AI and Machine Learning: Automating Your Business Processes
Technology is the beating heart of modern-day business – everything we do is influenced somewhere along the line by its powers, and our reliance on IT will only grow as advancements improve our systems and business processes further. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is arguably the most revolutionary advancement in technology that we have ever witnessed; it is an important part of many of our work and home lives already.
AI has enabled us to rely on tech in a way that we never thought possible. Throughout this article we will guide you through AI and automation, we will explore how – if implemented and managed properly – it can revolutionise your organisation.
AI and Machine Learning
AI is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines. Some specific applications of AI include expert systems, natural language processing (NLP), speech recognition, and machine vision.
AI, through Machine Learning, allows your system to learn. It can improve the way it serves you through its experiences, without needing any additional programming to do so. It’s incredible when you put it like that – a computer learning! AI predominantly focuses on computer systems; it replicates human skills and can perform them with 100% efficiency.
Machine Learning processes data and is designed specifically to recognise patterns in that data, which is then automatically organised into algorithms based on your specific needs. Another incredible addition to the workplace – the ability to micromanage individual components in the workflow to maximise return on investment.
For example, Text-to-speech apps (which use AI and Machine Learning in order to enable hands-free use) boost writing speed, increase mobility, and improve tone of voice. The apps speed up and improve the quality of text. This is a considerably basic use of AI and its capabilities, but it goes to show the extent to which AI can go. (There may be a time when future generations don’t need to learn to write – a computer will do it for them.)
Is AI and Machine Learning a Threat or a Benefit?
AI can cause apprehension – because you are placing complete reliance on technology – but tech has come a long way from times of old, and no longer are we constantly battling crashes and problems. AI and Machine Learning will almost definitely change the way that your team works, how your organisation approaches the customer experience, and how your business communicates and co-operates with its associates.
As daunting as the changes can be, AI in your organisation will improve workflow and allow you to produce a product or service at a faster rate and to a far higher standard.
Increasing productivity and output are two of the biggest benefits of AI, and the fact that these can be done whilst reducing cost is simply a bonus. AI is a relatively new thing to most – some are resistant to change, and some just simply won’t benefit from AIs current abilities. It is because of these reasons that many don’t get the absolute best from the AI they do implement in their organisations.
Our workplaces are rule based environments. Success and failure are documented manually by a specific human analyst – in larger organisations human error is rife, because feeling that you are merely part of a huge workforce can make for a team that feel undervalued and just one of many, leading to reduced focus.
The modern fast paced workday is conducted with micro precision, and computing is the lynchpin to achieving this goal. Your tech must be capable of helping your team make better decisions, at a faster rate, as efficiently as possible. AI and Machine Learning are the only way to guarantee this.
Of course, we aren’t saying to dive in headfirst, fire everybody in your workforce and go it alone with just your computer as your team. We are, however, saying that an adoption of AI working in unison with your current team will allow you to interpret and process data faster and to a much higher standard. Tech is taking over – there is no denying the fact – but nearly every business on the globe will require human influence in the work process to make it possible, even if one day that just becomes maintenance of the machines.
The Challenges of AI
AI integration is a big step, and preparation is key. It can be relatively expensive to achieve, and you will possibly need a substantial capital investment for development costs of your existing technology to enable it to operate with AI. To ensure success, an organised approach to implementation is essential.
A phased integration is recommended! A one-time implementation could force you to search for outsourced funding – due to the large expense – but staged installations can help significantly with the costs. It can also take a lot of time to educate your team to a level that guarantees they get the most from the new systems and don’t develop a problem themselves. Training would be needed throughout the implementation – learning each stage would ensure better retention of information and also break up the times when your team would be taken away from their duties.
Larger organisations – with their increased budgets – have adopted AI into the very heart of their businesses. They know the right implementation and management of AI, coupled with getting ahead of the competition, can leave them dominating the industry as a whole. AI will – without a doubt – be a part of everyone’s workday in years to come.
Whatever the size of your organisation, AI and Machine Learning should be either an immediate plan or, at the very least, on the horizon – it is the only way to guarantee success and compete with others in your sector.
It is easy to see where AI can automate larger business processes, but some struggle to grasp the capabilities it has within smaller organisations.
AI and its benefits to small business
Improved recruitment process
The majority of smaller businesses don’t have HR departments, and human resource tasks can be time consuming and, frankly, overwhelming for business owners. AI can bear the burden for you, as HR is a sector that is noticeably seeing positive changes through AI – repetitive tasks are no longer placed on the shoulders of skilled employees, it lessens manual work and speeds up operations to create a more effective workplace.
For example, take AI-enabled applicant tracking systems. They enable you to develop searches, browse CVs, and harvest the right range of top candidates quickly. They can then conduct the first round of interviews for you, with NO human interference. Incredibly, you don’t need to influence the interview process until the latter stages where you can simply put a face to the name and decide whether they can actually become part of the organisation.
In today’s world, equality of opportunity is a big concern in the workplace, but with AI you can boast an unbiased approach based solely on merit and ability.
Accurate decision making
The more AI increases the amount of data that can be processed the more likely the business will expand alongside it. Decisions are made automatically digitally, rather than by a human analyst. With AI you know that your tech is constantly learning to make your business better; it has no bias, will make minimal errors, and asks for nothing in return for its efforts – unfortunately, our human workforce can’t offer the same benefits.
Interaction whilst mobile
AI is in our hands every day; our smartphones use them to function through Microchips. The performance processors that are inside them are extremely high performing, giving end-users real-time abilities (like improved speech recognition and translation). These abilities can help your business to be more competitive and accessible on a global level.
The most important part of every business in practically every industry in the world is customer service, regardless of size. AI and Machine Learning will revolutionise customer support for many years to come. With AI powered software and sentient analysis technology, responding to customer concerns effectively and in a timely manner will be far easier.
Complaints are mostly script driven; this means that they can be managed effectively and at speed. Some organisations incorporate AI live chat (chatbot technology), which allows you to give answers quickly and accurately, with the ability to build greater engagement with your target market and customers so that you can guarantee your business will continue to grow.
Cyber security – due to the reliance on tech we have mentioned throughout this article – has become a primary business concern. AI and Machine Learning are used by cyber criminals to attack your systems too. However, defensively, they are vital, as they make it possible to detect fraud automatically, and they can learn and self-adjust themselves to better approach a situation from past experiences.
In this way you know that, when a cyber attack occurs (it is ‘when’ not ‘if’ now, as it is inevitable that you will be the victim of an attack at some stage in the future), you know that the correct course of action will be taken next time, and the holes in the system will consistently be filled.
AI allows your team to feel a little safer when navigating your online environment as well, because it will identify vulnerabilities in your network defences. Machine Learning takes over, and it can then ensure better defensive strategies are used next time.
Any way of improving the security of your system is a good thing. Obviously, don’t go out and purchase thousands of pounds worth of cyber security measures that would rival that of Fort Knox, but having top quality cyber security measures allows you to make a never before possible guarantee to your clientele that their data is safe. This increases the trust they have in you and the likelihood of them recommending your company to others.
Automating Candidate Recruitment
As mentioned above, AI will track applicants, screen CVs, and schedule interviews without human input. Using the data you have extracted from them, you can match job requirements to an applicant’s skillset. AI will guarantee that your valuable time is well spent on the best possible candidates – the ones that can make a difference to the future of your organisation.
AI and Machine Learning was designed to improve and strengthen an already stable and capable foundation. Every industry needs to adapt to incorporate it wherever possible.
Your team may have to be ‘streamlined’ – for want of a better term – but this is necessary. It’s never nice to let people go, but technology is the better solution for accuracy, productivity and an effective use of the workday.
Looking more positively, this could be an opportunity for those of the team that have become surplus to requirements to re-tool and adapt to a modern age of work. AI and Machine Learning aren’t common practice in small to medium businesses just yet, but change is coming. In short, you must adapt to the technological age we live in, or risk being left behind.
AI technology is constantly warping the way we view our small business processes, techniques, and strategies. Businesses have been forced to find a way to speed up and offer a better service, they must minimise human error and, ultimately, increase accuracy and in turn the efficiency of the entire organisation.
AI is here to stay! We are in the early stages of its spread around the globe, but it has already brought untold success to countless organisations that have led the charge and already implemented it.
A sincere consideration needs to be made regarding the implementation of AI – with it, you can be more prosperous with time, efficiency, and secure going into the future.
Modern technology to help you thrive securely
Technology is pivotal to your business and we want you to understand the value it provides when it is allowed to work seamlessly with your operations on the most updated tools available. Apogee values transparency and simplicity – we provide the IT support you need when you need it. Within this support is the guarantee that your technology is secure against all manner of cyber threats, that it is operationally beneficial to the way you run your business and is always updated to the latest version. We will work alongside you and guide you into a secure, bright future with technology as your ally. Contact us now to find out how we can help you.