While there are plenty of benefits of using AI technology in our everyday lives, there are many benefits to using artificial intelligence in business.
In fact, it’s becoming a significant area of focus in the business world: In 2020, a majority of companies (91.5%) reported having an ongoing investment in AI. The market size of AI is expected to grow to $266.92 billion by 2027.
While AI implementations often raise concerns among employees about job security, it’s one of the last things on business owners’ minds: just 1 in 5 businesses say reducing headcount is a benefit of AI.
Instead, businesses can use AI to reduce time spent on repetitive tasks, lower costs, and improve flexibility, to name a few.
Let’s explore how AI can benefit businesses, both big and small.
The benefits of AI for business
Streamlined everyday tasks
Many simple or mundane tasks, such as data entry that employees consistently do, are ideal for automation. Because repetitive tasks often lead to employee boredom, they lend themselves to error, the risk of which AI can significantly reduce.
But it’s not just about reducing error. Automation can improve employee productivity and happiness. Eliminating these tasks means employees are free to focus on meaningful work that adds value to their business and uses their skills more effectively.
Many companies have begun the automation process, and in 2021 AI is expected to create more than 6.2 million hours of worker productivity globally.
Simplified “back office” functions
AI offers enormous benefits for “back office” functions (e.g., finance and human resources) by acting as a virtual manager and taking over workflow and decision making in accounting, scheduling, and day-to-day organization. When a company is transformed by streamlining and simplifying information, it runs more productively and stays ahead of the competition.
One key example of this is in the hiring and onboarding process. By implementing an AI strategy, the algorithm will find and select the candidates who best match the job criteria, thus increasing the number of quality applications the hiring manager receives.
Once an employee is hired, AI can save time for the HR department during the onboarding process. It can efficiently serve as a knowledge base that can answer any questions a new employee might have.
Improved sales and marketing
Customer Service can easily use AI in conjunction with customer relationship management software (CRM) to increase customer satisfaction and sales.
CRM is designed to help professionals track and manage customer engagement efforts on both the front and back end:
Front end: Conversational agents, often called “chatbots,” are used to interact with customers. These mimic human writing to simulate a conversation, often with visitors on a homepage.
Back end: Personalized email sequences, customer interaction logging, and automated data entry are just a few ways in which AI can reduce costs.
AI can also help representatives engage with leads and close sales more quickly, thus completing the customer lifecycle more efficiently. In 2021 it is expected that 15% of customer service interactions worldwide will be fully automated, which is a 400% increase since 2017.
In addition to sales, AI is also a powerful tool for marketing efforts. This approach is called AI-powered marketing and is defined as “cast[ing] a wider data collection net to later use for targeted advertisements and personalized product and content recommendations.”
Infusing marketing with AI allows brands to understand their customers’ interests and behaviors and communicate in a personalized way. This approach allows a company to easily solve the “who,” “what” (personalized content), “how” (channels), and “when” (timing) of their marketing efforts.
By creating nuanced campaigns to create a customized experience over multiple platforms, brands maximize lead generation for the same amount of marketing dollars. Moreover, they gather relevant insights to optimize the process at the same time.
Better data collection and analysis
Gathering big data is a critical part of any business, but doing so is time-consuming and daunting. In years past, doing so required advanced techniques such as statistical regression analysis or bringing in an outside expert such as an analytics firm.
The introduction of AI means that the analysis that was once exclusive to companies with large budgets is now available for smaller budgets. From tracking customer preferences to market expansion, AI is an affordable, versatile tool that allows companies big and small to mine billions of data points in an instant.
Among other things, analyzing data can:
- Create an effective business plan
- Improve sales forecasting Provide valuable insights
- Allow a company to create tailored products and services, thus gaining a competitive advantage
- Solve logistical problems
Access to competitive data
There are several tools available to businesses that allow them to watch their competitors online. Gathering data in real-time allows a company to respond quickly and efficiently to industry changes.
Competitors can be tracked across several channels, including websites and social media. The data collected can be as broad as social media content and as niche as marketing language changes or pricing.
By watching your competitors, you can be sure that you will stay ahead of the curve and increase your reach and, therefore, your bottom line.
All of these AI initiatives lead to lower costs.
By automating customer service departments and streamlining tasks, production output is increased while human error is reduced and profit margins are increased. A recent McKinsey report found that 2 in 5 businesses reported reduced business costs in departments where AI is implemented.
Should you implement AI in your business?
There are a few things to consider while deciding to implement AI into your business strategy:
- Is the money you are saving by not investing in AI going to be as productive elsewhere in the long run?
- Are you missing any business opportunities?
- Do you need to increase flexibility in your operations?
- Would you value faster analysis and more thoughtful decision-making?
- Could AI make for happier, more productive employees?
If you answered yes to any of these, AI could be an excellent investment for your business.
At VIRTUTEM, we help our clients improve the operational efficiency of their business. Let’s start a dialogue on how AI can enhance your business.
At Virtutem, it’s all about our clients. We keep our focus on understanding what’s important to you, your business and your success. We build strong relationships based on a deep understanding of what matters to you most. Our strong, client centered approach differentiates us. To be considered your consultant of choice, we strive to understand you, your business and your goals. By sharing the ideas and insight of our most senior professionals, we bring our local and global knowledge and resources to your environment so you feel empowered to move forward with confidence.
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