Should Your Company Be Spending More On Artificial Intelligence?

Whether it’s in the form of self-driving vehicles, smart assistants, or deep learning technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly making itself known across the connected world. And for business analytics and business intelligence — AI is a game-changer.

For some businesses, the covid-19 pandemic quickly pulled the brakes on AI projects as funds plummeted and customer demands altered or, in unfortunate cases, even vanished altogether. However, for those businesses lucky enough to be thriving throughout the pandemic instead of surviving, significantly larger AI budgets have become a sharp point of focus. According to a survey released by data labelling firm Appen, enterprise AI budgets are up by 55%.  

In part, this may be due to companies having to train their machine learning models more frequently, which comes at a significant expense thanks to the computing power required. However, it also appears that companies are dedicating larger funds to AI projects to identify spending and business trends. According to the survey by Appen, more than half of businesses said they would spend between $500,00 to $5 million on AI projects in 2021— a 34% increase from 2020.

Business owners who are yet to give AI much thought may be left thinking, “Is AI really that important for business?” And if it is, then, “What are other businesses doing that I’m not?”

So Why Is AI So Important For Business?

IBM’s 2021 study of 3,000 CEOs found that tech is anticipated to have the greatest business impact over the coming few years. Outperforming CEOs will focus on the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, and artificial intelligence to obtain the best results for their businesses. The use of AI in business has primarily been enabled by AI-powered machine learning (ML) technology, which businesses can utilise for the performance of specific tasks. These tasks include: 

  • Comprehending written texts (e.g. customer reviews and suggestions)
  • Recognising and grouping visual images
  • Recognising facial features and particular objects (enabling facial recognition and product recommendations) 

Companies have taken these capabilities of AI and applied them to their businesses’ models in the form of chatbots and virtual assistants, targeted online adverts, predictive analytics, voice recognition, and pattern recognition. 

How Other Businesses Are Reaping The Benefits Of AI:

Sales And Marketing

AI is transforming sales and marketing across countless industries. It has already saved marketing personnel hours upon hours as it enables routine tasks to be automated through acquired data. This allows marketing personnel more time to focus on key sales functions such as customer satisfaction and boosting sales. A great example of this is Facebook’s use of ML algorithms to track customer behaviour and target them with personalised adverts that customers are substantially more likely to respond to. 

Work Automation

Many manufacturing companies are already utilising AI tech for smarter use of their resources. General Electric is a brilliant example of this. The American multinational company uses data collected from AI-powered smart sensors, which are installed on its manufacturing equipment, to reduce the downtime of its machinery. This allows for increased week-on-week productivity and thus increased profits in the longer term. 

Customer Service And Communication

Over half of all internet shopping now happens from a mobile device, and this figure is only set to rise as we move deeper into the digital age. The use of mobile apps is constantly increasing with social media’s popularity continually growing. Consequently, many businesses are now using social media to connect with their consumers and are investing in AI-powered chatbots to provide 24-hour customer service and communication. This enables customers to receive assistance as soon as they need it, regardless of the time of day or staff capacity. Thousands of businesses already make use of active bots, including Spotify, Whole Foods, and Lyft. Ecommerce shop Kindred Bravely is a great example of a business reaping the benefits of AI-powered chatbots. The Kindred Bravely chatbot aids customers in shopping their product range by offering simple and straightforward options such as “shop now”, “view website”, and “learn more”. The chatbot follows the same process that a live salesperson would, first getting an idea of what the customer is looking for, then helping to narrow down customer preferences by asking a series of simple questions. Once a purchase has been made, the customer can even opt to receive updates about their order via the Facebook App. 

The value of AI technologies to businesses, large or small, has increased exponentially over the last handful of years. The benefits are becoming harder to ignore, and although the upfront cost of AI investment can be sizeable, many companies are already proving that the long-term gains are worth it. 

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