It has now come to a point where businesses that do not adopt artificial intelligence in their processes are likely to be left far behind or simply vanish into oblivion.
Back when IT was making its presence felt, business automation resulted from confluence of business process management and business rules management with high grade software development.
Automation has its limits in that it operates within a predefined scope. AI lets you break through the shackles and improve business automation in various segments. Here are some ways how artificial intelligence can improve business automation:
1. Email and Communications
Enterprises may receive hundreds of emails each day. They may all flow into one inbox and an employee sifts through them in a time-consuming, laborious effort day after day. Process automation improves this in one step by processing information and making it easy to share files.
Artificial intelligence, however, brings about marked improvements.
- Unify topic related communications from all sources such as e-fax, voicemail, email and chat.
- Automatically check emails for content, segregate spam, segregate according to topic.
- Prioritize emails according to importance and flag them for immediate response
- Automatically send out routine responses to standard emails
- Faster responses to important communications
- Save time, labor and effort of employees who can apply their mind and energy to more productive tasks.
2. HR and Employee Management
Employees are the best asset but HR is a complex, involved process, even with the help of process automation. You still must rely on manual judgment which is prone to errors at various stages starting from recruitment to onboarding to management of existing employees.
You could have HR employees working away on needless paperwork and making subjective decisions. Introduce artificial intelligence to the HR process and you see a transformation. This is what artificial intelligence can do for your HR process automation:
- Scrutinize CV, records check, profile check and personality analysis of prospective candidates, and short list those that match pre-defined criteria
- Recommend the most likely candidate that will fit the job profile and fit into the company culture
- Take care of onboarding while gathering important information on the process
- Track performance of new recruits and existing employees and indicate progress
- Identify employee dissatisfaction and instances of low productivity
- Reduce number of HR employees in your HR section and thus save costs
- Improve the process through machine learning resulting in improved HR processes with the passage of time.
NASA, for instance, introduced robotic process automation that allowed 86% of transactions to be completed without human intervention. Your employees can quit doing routine stuff and focus more on using the AI technology to streamline employee engagement and performance.
3. Marketing, Sales and Production
These three are interconnected and ERP systems attempt to introduce some form of automation. A typical chain is for marketing to generate sales inquiries that sales departments handle and convert to orders that go to production. Even with conventional data analytics using warehoused data results in glaring gaps leading to common issues like:
- Higher than expected manufacturing costs that make it tough to sell more
- Product design could become outdated as happens in the quickly changing world of fashion garments
- Delay in procuring raw material for production means competitors get to market first
- Demand peters off but you are stuck with dead inventory.
Introduce artificial intelligence into this marketing automation segment and you see significant improvements in business automation such as:
- Real time intelligent analysis of big data gleaned from a variety of sources. This helps marketers identify emerging trends and be prepared with appropriate changes to product design. Cognitive insights help acquiring predictive capability.
- Streamlined intelligent handling of leads into the sales funnel, follow up and tracking of each individual prospective customer
- Keep track of sales volume and market demand and accordingly notify procurement and production to ramp up or scale down production
- AI controlled production processes that result in consistent quality, reduced wastage and fast throughput as well as reduced incidents of machine breakdown
- Keep track of competition and derive intelligence
- Analyze all data and make suitable recommendations to decision makers, simplifying and speeding up their task
As can be seen, there is plenty of data in each of these three divisions. It would take plenty of man hours to analyze the data and make sense of it whereas algorithms can do it much better and faster. Your IT personnel and business analysts can work on outputs to help managers be more accurate in mission critical decisions.
4. Customer Service
Artificial intelligence can, and does, transform the customer experience through different ways. Natural language processing intelligent chatbots will be the norm of the future. Customers find it better to interact with a bot rather than with a human agent. An intelligent bot endowed with artificial intelligence is available 24×7. It can converse in much the same way a human agent does and that too in the caller’s natural language. Customers will be pleasantly surprised with the speed of response and with the various options the AI powered customer service bot offers. An example is Amelia, the intelligent bot used by SEBank in Sweden to answer customer queries.
Financials are vital and business automation in financials does automate tasks such as invoicing, payments, payroll and collections.
You do get an up to date status report but most automation capability stops there. You will need more from financials and for that you retain a CFA or CPA. You could just as well opt to introduce artificial intelligence into your financials.
What AI will do for you:
- Keep an overview of sales orders, invoices, purchases and costs in general and from specifically defined parameters or for time periods and deliver incisive reports on impacts.
- Concatenate internal workings, sales and production with external market conditions and let you know which way the market is headed. You could also factor in competitor activity to gain even better information.
- Automation, based on analysis of historical financial data gives you a clear picture of your financial health. Artificial intelligence can go one better by predicting status based on current situation and even make recommendations for several areas such as cost cutting, taxation, doing away with products that do not generate profits and so on.
- You could plan on new investments for the future in which case AI will come up with various scenarios.
- AI can keep watch and alert you of any suspicious financial activity.
Solid Reasons to Go the AI Route
- It is the present and the future and businesses are switching to AI automation. If you do not then you will be left behind.
- Making the right decision at the right time is based on what reports you have before you. AI analytics not only factor in variables but also make recommendations. Making the right decision in time becomes easy.
- AI keeps customers happy. It is tough to keep track of hundreds of thousands of customers and their specific behaviors as well as preferences. Introduce AI into customer service automation and it will work like magic to keep customers happy with personalized service delivered fast.
- AI is more accurate than human analysis of large data sets and, besides, it can consider various ‘what if’ scenarios in the blink of an eye whereas the human mind takes longer and is not objective. You do not suffer the problem of human errors.
AI was exotic and expensive but now, with so much talent, better hardware and software, it is no longer the preserve of large corporations.
Even smaller enterprises can and must consider AI automation of business processes with the help of artificial intelligence solution developers. It pays in the short term and in the long run.