If your business is not using artificial intelligence (AI) in any capacity today, it is the exception rather than the rule. Most businesses rely on AI whether they know it or not. Commonplace business software programs integrate automation and machine learning in functions like predictive analytics, email communication and voice recognition and response.
In order to remain competitive in the global economy, the degree to which businesses integrate AI functionality needs to increase. In a recent survey of 230 business and technology executives it was found that only 26 percent use automation to perform repetitive tasks. That number is incredibly low given the availability of high quality AI technologies on the market.
This is a list of four ways AI technology can impact your business today:
1. Market intelligence.
If you did not already know, Google News Alerts are so 2008. But many businesses that need up-to-the-minute intelligence about important moves in the market still rely on basic alerts and a team of researchers who use standard search engines.
AI is capable of weeding through the millions of pages of useless internet noise to find select pieces of intelligence. Bitvore, a California-based AI company, offers a platform that has been "trained" by over 100 million pieces of business information to learn what is relevant to businesses and what is not.
“The kind of business intelligence that most executives are looking for does not typically float to the top of Google search results,” says Jeff Curie, Bitvore’s President. “AI is incredibly adept at quickly finding relevant information and delivering it to decision makers.”
Because it is capable of continuously searching 24 hours a day, programs like Bitvore’s will create enormous competitive advantages for the companies that use them.
2. Network management.
If you have ever experienced that gut wrenching feeling of realizing you were supposed to be on a call five minutes ago and totally forgot, you need more AI in your life. Peter Sweeney, founder of Primal.com, put it this way, “What started as an isolated app on the iPhone has evolved. Intelligent assistants constitute an entirely new network of activity. No longer confined to our personal computing devices, assistants are being embedded within every object of interest in the cloud and the Internet of Things.”
There are a growing list of options in the virtual assistant space that perform ever more nuanced services, but consider trying Cloze or or Julie Desk, both of which adeptly perform calendar functions, email follow ups, and more.
The potential for AI to make an impact in accounting services is enormous, and there are great technologies on the market that you can use today. But more generally speaking, any data entry task is excellent material for automation.
If you operate a lean startup and do not have time to do all of the tedious tasks associated with accounting, or if your accountant just needs relief, AI platforms like SMACC, which recently raised a Series A, are ideal. The program will intelligently read invoices, prepare invoices, and remind you when to send them, when to pay them, and provide visualizations of key metrics about your business.
It says a lot about the potential of AI that the big four accounting firms are all rapidly developing their own AI platforms.
You can design the greatest product in the world and you will go out of business if you cannot sell it. Entrepreneurs know that to be true. That is why entrepreneurs should take a hard look at their lead generation and sales lead curation practices to identify efficiency gaps that AI could solve.
Salesforce recently announced its foray into this space with Einstein, but that platform will not be available until next year. In the meantime there are plenty of options. Conversica, an AI sales assistant, will carry on ‘human-like’ email conversations with sales leads until they express interest in buying, at which point Conversica will alert you and hand over the conversation.
This service allows entrepreneurs to exponentially amplify their outreach and lead vetting operations. If you are still typing out pitch emails one at a time and painstakingly following up to each reply, you are falling behind.
Companies that failed to adapt to the Internet age went out of business in droves while others achieved staggering growth. AI poses the same challenge and opportunity. Its capacity to increase efficiency and provide exponential value beyond a single human’s own production abilities means that companies that use it will race ahead and the rest will fall behind. There will be a culling process with AI technologies as well, but smart entrepreneurs will begin trouble shooting them sooner than later.