by Sydney Stone
Over the last several years, artificial intelligence (AI) has disrupted and transformed practically every fathomable industry, from healthcare to retail to manufacturing, and even to software development itself.
AI-enhanced technology is permeating all aspects of how we work and interact today. As the artificial intelligence impact on business software continues to increase, companies are scrambling to fully understand AI and apply it to their own growth strategies.
Here’s what we’re learning and how it can take your business to the next level, whether you’re using AI-enhanced software for your own processes or developing an AI-based platform for your clients.
How AI transforms business software development
The use of artificial intelligence in business software development is currently the hottest trend in tech. According to a 2017 report by PwC entitled How AI is Pushing Man and Machine Closer Together, 72% of business leaders surveyed believe that AI is going to be an important business advantage for their organizations.
With all of the big data we have access to nowadays, we need a bigger solution for processing and making sense of that information. If we aren’t able to analyze all of these data points and use that analysis to make smart business decisions, what’s the purpose of having so much knowledge?
Aside from the obvious business intelligence gained, there are many other benefits for companies of all sizes to embrace AI technology in their solutions.
Any time a repetitive task can be automated by technology, it improves a company’s efficiency and bottom line. Take that automation and make it smarter, and you’re providing your target audience with a next-generation solution that their customers are already expecting.
Artificial intelligence takes automation one step further. Think about customer service chatbots, geo-location-based transportation apps, and security procedures that use bio-technology or voice recognition. All of these solutions are powered by AI.
A software solution with AI-enhanced automation will impact the two things that business owners worry about the most: time and money. Automating mundane tasks frees up time for employees to focus on the bigger picture. Growing the company, coming up with the next “big thing,” and strategizing for the future are all tasks that can now be given the time and effort they deserve thanks to AI automation.
Machine learning is the next level of automation. Applications that feature AI and machine learning as part of the overall core solution are quickly becoming the norm in all industries.
In the healthcare sector, machine learning is helping doctors and medical professionals diagnose patients sooner and more accurately. Human resource administrators are able to pinpoint the right candidates without having to go through stacks of resumes. Retail stores now know exactly what other items to suggest to a user at checkout in order to increase their ASPs.
Machine learning can not only improve the next application or service that you offer to your customers, but it can actually help get that particular solution to market even faster, as AI helps to speed up the entire software development process. Through the use of advanced algorithms, developers no longer have to spend enormous amounts of time and effort hard coding software programs. The machine becomes the programmer, while the programmer acts more as a data scientist, collecting, analyzing, and feeding information into the neural networks of smart machines.
Google has been doing this with TensorFlow, an open-source machine learning framework. They were able to replace over 500,000 lines of code in the Google Translate app with 500 lines of coding thanks to TensorFlow.
Artificial intelligence is key when it comes to making smart and accurate predictions. This is especially true in the financial and science sectors.
The use of AI for financial forecasting can be instrumental for banks, investors, insurance companies and more. It can also impact another type of forecasting: weather. The Weather Channel recently announced the addition of IBM’s Watson to its mobile app. By studying previous storm cycles and current radar predictions, AI-enhanced weather applications can help save lives by understanding the potential threat earlier and more accurately and then relaying that information to the general public.
Even in software development, AI can be utilized to better forecast the timeline and costs of a project. This type of forecasting could be used for any project-based service or solution and can give potential clients a clearer view of reality vs. expectations.
Sales and Marketing
A recent study by BrightEdge reported the next big marketing trends as personalization (29%), artificial intelligence (26%), and voice search capability (21.23%).
AI gives sales and marketing teams the ability to customize the selling process for each individual prospect. From targeted email campaigns to upselling suggestions to point-of-sale prompts based on geo-location, never before in the history of consumerism has there been the opportunity to target one particular prospect with the exact right offer in the exact right place at the exact right time.
With detailed algorithms based on information gathered from numerous online searches, social media and other consumer activity, AI has the power to know what your customer wants before they do. Which is another benefit for you as a business owner, in that AI can even suggest what your next product line or service should be.
While the majority of people in the world own a mobile phone, very few actually use it to call anybody…especially a customer service hotline. They much prefer emailing or texting or interacting with a customer service chatbot. They just don’t have the patience to wait on hold to speak with a human being that may or may not be qualified to help them.
With AI-enhanced customer service solutions, both buyers and sellers benefit from cost and time savings. It costs a lot less money for a company to implement a 24/7 intelligent chatbot than to pay several people in a call center. This trickles down to a more affordable product for the consumer and a better overall shopping and customer experience.
Even once the purchase has been made, AI-enabled supply chain and logistics solutions are able to track the package and provide up-to-the-minute notifications of when the customer can expect to receive their item. Plus, the data obtained throughout the buying process is used and analyzed to improve the overall customer satisfaction rates. Artificial intelligence enhances and empowers practically every step along the way.
The future of artificial intelligence in business software is limited only to an entrepreneur’s imagination. What was once simple fodder for sci-fi films and fictional novels is now enhancing our everyday lives. Businesses will have to adapt and implement AI-driven solutions in order to stay competitive and relevant across all industries.