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Exploring AI for Business: Expectations for 2022 and Beyond

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Are you considering deploying AI for your business? Discover our expectations for the future of AI in business and how developments may benefit you.

For many businesses, adopting AI on a large scale was considered a bridge to be crossed in a few years.

Of course, there’s no denying that transformative technology has always been an appealing prospect for most CEOs, but the time and potential cost involved with deploying AI for business meant that small and medium-sized enterprises had to put machine learning on the backburner.

Until COVID-19, that is.

With the global pandemic forcing much of the world online, finding ways to improve e-commerce approaches, gauge consumer behavior, and run operations without excessive human interference has become more crucial for businesses than ever before.

The proof is in the pudding, with approximately 52% of companies setting their AI adoption plans into hyperdrive in 2020 according to PWC.

The AI world was once a relatively gated community only accessible by tech giants, but with increased democratization in the industry through no-code/low-code modeling and unsupervised learning algorithms, many companies are wondering what the future of AI could hold for them.[1]

Despite offering extensive benefits to businesses, AI needn’t be the backbone of every company’s future forecasting model.

However, would it pique your interest if I mentioned that businesses using AI are far more likely to enjoy accurate predictions, less uncertainty, and increased efficiency?

I thought it might!

In a world that is constantly evolving and embracing new tech, preparing for the future of artificial intelligence is bound to benefit your bottom line. In fact, you may even see your profits increase exponentially should you implement it correctly.

So, without further ado, let’s explore some of the most exciting developments in the world of machine learning and business that all companies should keep tabs on.

Churn Prediction Model

Why should you care about AI for business?

You may be wondering why you should care about AI as a business.

Now, it’s important to recognize that AI isn’t necessarily the miracle answer for every complex business problem. However, machine learning technology does provide sophisticated end-to-end solutions for everything from online customer support to cyber-security.[2] 

If you’re still in doubt about the impact that AI is set to have in the business world, then we simply need to look at the booming job market for machine learning experts.

According to the McKinsey and Company report on the state of AI in 2020, over 50% of organizations have implemented AI up to this point in time. As a result, there are set to be around 20 million available jobs in artificial intelligence by 2023.[3]

This hints at major technological innovation and investment in machine learning on a global scale, but it also suggests that companies not keeping up with advancements may be left behind.

Renowned futurist Gihan Perera fully supports this idea, claiming that, “in business, if you’re not engaging with AI, you’re going to get beaten; it’s that simple”.[4]

Now, this statement may be blunt, but it needn’t terrify those that aren’t deploying AI for business quite yet. However, it’s worth noting that as 51% of customers are saying that their expectations of companies are being influenced by AI as of 2021, the clock is ticking for those not yet aboard the AI train.[5]

The Future of AI in Business: How It Can Benefit You

Take customer service to the next level

With today’s technologies, customers expect to find solutions to their problems quickly, efficiently, and with a positive outcome.

Because of these lofty expectations, an increasing number of businesses are turning to chatbots and conversational AI to solve issues due to a lack of customer service manpower and a desire to provide round-the-clock solutions.

If you’ve considered the automated customer service route in the past, you’ll be pleased to know that both the chatbot and conversational AI markets are exploding. In the face of increasing demand, these two global markets are set to grow to $5.6 billion by 2023, and $15.7 billion by 2025 respectively.[6]

Original chatbots from the 1960s were relatively basic and unsophisticated, whereas modern chatbots can answer questions effectively and even formulate personalities with the help of natural language processing algorithms.

Without burdening human workers, smart AI chatbots can build up an impressive database of answers, with over 70% of businesses feeling that they resolve issues effectively according to the 2020 CX Transformation Benchmark, Business Wave.

Of course, there will always be complex issues that need to be escalated to human workers, but the potential time and cost saving that businesses experience from deploying chatbots is nothing to scoff at.

As approximately 80% of businesses are predicted to have chatbots available to customers by the end of 2022,[7] investing in AI for customer service is quickly proving essential. 

Indeed, not only do they lead to faster resolution times than most humans can manage, but they can reduce operational costs involved with customer service by up to 30%.[8] For small to medium-sized enterprises, this saving can make an enormous difference to profit margins.

Realistically, the easier it is for your customers to communicate with your business and find the appropriate team to assist them, the better your engagement and lead generation will be.

The result? A better and brighter future for customer service.

Machine learning and business

Personalization

Enhanced customer service is where the future of AI in business is heading. Therefore, using algorithms to further personalize the customer experience and gather invaluable insights for marketing teams is crucial for businesses wishing to take advantage of machine learning solutions.

As up to 48% of consumers and 63% of corporate buyers expect personalized offers,[9] companies preparing to future-proof their business should find models that provide personalized recommendations and improve customer engagement on a large scale.

Although it’s tempting to rely on humans to work out consumer purchasing patterns, even the most proficient marketing teams in the world can use AI for business to their advantage by using data to better understand their customers. As personalization can result in a 10-30% uplift in revenue and retention, it’s something that all companies should be keenly focused on in the coming years.[10]

Scaling personalization and guiding customer interactions within your business comes with its challenges if you’re dealing with large datasets and millions of potential customers. Realistically, with up to 44 zettabytes of data being produced every single day, there’s far too much for even the largest companies to sift through manually.

However, luckily for you, AI can pick out meaningful interactions in real-time and offer insights via sentiment analysis, giving businesses the tools they need to adapt and refine their marketing approach.

Whether that’s through personalized texts, collaborative filtering, or segmented email messaging, the promising future of AI for business should allow any company to retain existing customers and entice new ones by keeping all marketing strictly relevant to the individual consumer at hand.[11]

Better workplace management

Before jumping on the AI bandwagon, businesses must understand that some employees will be resistant to its deployment.

Despite being useful for overhauling inefficient working arrangements, it’s predicted that 47% of US jobs are at risk of being automated,[12] and there will always be fear among workers that their roles will become obsolete as augmented workforces become more appealing from a business perspective.

Restructuring needn’t always have a negative slant, however.

Not only is AI set to create more jobs than it destroys (133 million new jobs are expected to emerge after 2020 because of technological advancements),[13] but with the right approach, businesses can retain staff, upskill them, and free up the valuable human workforce for complex tasks that require social skills and empathy.

Understandably, machines are significantly less competent in this department…

Therefore, the best approach for companies when it comes to embracing the future of AI in business is to take advantage of machine learning’s ability to process data quickly and perform menial tasks that currently occupy the human workforce.

Over time, investment in AI models should save a pretty penny on staffing costs, freeing up vital capital for innovation, research, and development.

This redistribution of labor is something that businesses will need to tackle as they deploy AI more resolutely in the coming years. However, finding an ethical and delicate balance is paramount when it comes to delegating more abstract tasks, so keep this in mind before you overhaul your entire workforce in favor of automation.

Businesses preparing for the future of artificial intelligence

Will the future of AI in business require training and upskilling?

In a word: yes.

As machine learning models make a workplace more complex, businesses that use AI must invest time and resources into training and upskilling their existing workforce. It’s estimated that in the next five years, between 40% and 50% of all employees will need reskilling to keep up with new tech,[14] making a degree of preparation paramount for any company.

Upskilling may not be an appealing prospect for businesses due to the associated cost factor, but it essentially makes any workforce future-proof, as employees will be better equipped to handle advancements in the tech world without panicking or making errors.

By preparing for the future of artificial intelligence and exposing more of your workforce to machine learning, you’ll find troubleshooting easier and experience greater transparency across all sectors of your business.[15]

It may be difficult at the outset, but overall, upskilling your workforce to meet the demands of a tech-heavy world is a worthwhile endeavor for any business putting together a sustainable, long-term growth strategy.

A final word on machine learning and business

Although dipping your toe in the AI pool can be daunting, it’s predicted that AI could boost U.S labor productivity alone by a staggering 35% by 2035 thanks to increased efficiency and better time management.

Implementing the correct technology for your business will take time, and you will need to consider the ethical and environmental impacts of doing so, regardless of scale.

However, if you invest in reusable solutions and adapt your workforce to handle future machine learning developments with ease, businesses that use AI should be able to take full advantage of the technological revolution and pip any competition to the post without it costing the earth.

 

[1] Jeremy Kahn, “Wharton’s A.I. expert predicts the future of artificial intelligence in business”, last modified June 2, 2020, https://fortune.com/2020/06/02/whartons-a-i-expert-predicts-the-future-of-artificial-intelligence-in-business/

[2] Katrina Wakefield, “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Business”, 2021, SAS, https://www.sas.com/en_gb/insights/articles/analytics/applications-of-artificial-intelligence.html

[3] Virginia Tech, “The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Business”, 2021, https://vtindia.in/the-impact-of-artificial-intelligence-on-business/

[4] Stephen Corby, “How to be competitive in the age of AI”, last modified 13 May, 2021, The CEO Magazine, https://www.theceomagazine.com/business/coverstory/future-ai/

[5] Devon McGinnis, “How the Future of AI Will Impact Business”, last modified May 4, 2020, Salesforce, https://www.salesforce.com/in/blog/2020/05/future-of-ai-artificial-intelligence-business-impact.html

[6] Independent Business Reporter, “AI: enhancing the future of digital transformation”, last modified 4 August, 2021, Independent, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/business-reporter/ai-enhance-future-digital-transformation-b1871195.html

[7] Team Linchpin, “25 Chatbot Stats and Trends Shaping Businesses in 2022”, last modified October 10, 2021, Linchpinseo, https://linchpinseo.com/chatbot-statistics-trends/

[8] Danica Jovic, “The Future is Now – 37 Fascinating Chatbot Statistics”, last modified November 20, 2020, Smallbizgenius, https://www.smallbizgenius.net/by-the-numbers/chatbot-statistics/#gref

[9] Devon McGinnis, “How the Future of AI Will Impact Business”, last modified May 4, 2020, Salesforce, https://www.salesforce.com/in/blog/2020/05/future-of-ai-artificial-intelligence-business-impact.html

[10] Chris Measures, “Overcoming the pitfalls to smart and successful AI personalization”, last modified January 12, 2021, Kameleoon, https://www.kameleoon.com/en/blog/smart-successful-ai-personalization

[11] Michael Brenner, “How AI Will Make Marketing More Personalized”, last modified December 11, 2019, Marketing Insider Group, https://marketinginsidergroup.com/content-marketing/ai-will-make-marketing-personalized-2018/

[12] Lucy Colback, “The impact of AI on business and society”, last modified October 16, 2020, FT, https://www.ft.com/content/e082b01d-fbd6-4ea5-a0d2-05bc5ad7176c

[13] World Economic Forum, The Future of Jobs Report 2018. http://www3. weforum.org/docs/WEF_Future_of_Jobs_2018.pdf. Retrieved December 12,2020

[14] Kate Whiting, “This is how AI can unlock hidden talent in the workplace”, last modified 02 June, 2021, WeForum, https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/06/jobs-work-skills-future-automation-ai/

[15] Bhavesh Goswami, “Upskilling workforce for AI/ML era must for organizations to survive, scale”, last modified October 1, 2021, CIOL, https://www.ciol.com/upskilling-workforce-aiml-era-must-organizations-survive-scale/

 

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