Assessing AI for Your Business
September 14, 2018 | The times keep a-changing
It seems like every business article you read today talks about artificial intelligence. Whether it’s about how tech heavyweights like Amazon and Facebook are leveraging it or how new startups are disrupting industries through innovative uses of it, AI is playing a critical role in creating efficient, effective and responsive companies.
At Shift Interactive, we’re building intelligent web and mobile solutions that leverage AI to make experiences that are more personalized, automated and meaningful, but it still seems that AI has yet to find its stride within many businesses today. Research from Forrester seems to support that viewpoint, stating that 58 percent of business and technology professionals are researching AI systems, yet only 12 percent are actively using them.
It’s easy to think that AI is too expensive, too unclear, too bleeding-edge or something only for larger corporations, but I promise that’s not the case. AI can be as simple or complex as you need it to be to help improve your business.
At its simplest, AI means a machine can think and learn based on data it is provided. I like to think of it as being able to absorb information, interpret it and then act in an intelligent way based on it. An everyday example of this would be Amazon’s product recommendations it compiles based on your previous shopping searches and purchases, but AI can help deliver far more than just the perfect shirt to match my shoes. It can be used at deep levels of a business that result in optimized operations, proactive issue detection, sales forecasting, smarter marketing, refined user experiences and more.
For all the fear about jobs being eliminated because of advancements in AI, Steve Lohr of the New York Times says “artificial intelligence is freeing workers from drudgery far more often than it is eliminating jobs.” Thinking this way can help foster creative thinking about applications AI may have in your business today.
With how expansive its use cases are, it can be a bit overwhelming to strategize where to begin with AI. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to better evaluate where AI might be of the most benefit in your business:
- Where do we currently spend a great deal of manual effort in our business today?
- Which of the identified areas above affect our ability to meet our business’s top objectives?
- What data do we currently have related to these identified areas, or what can we easily begin capturing?
By working through these questions, you can begin to develop potential areas of focus in your business that could benefit from implementations of AI. With these goals and knowledge of the data your business has in hand, you’ll be ready to engage a technology firm to partner with you in creating AI that truly makes an impact for you and your business.