According to a MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group report, 9 out of 10 business leaders agree that AI represents a business opportunity for their company. There’s every indication that this is much more than wishful thinking. As intelligent technologies with mind-blowing analysis power offer to assist with or fully take over a number of tasks and business processes, they are changing the ball game radically and opening up new value streams and chains. Here are some of the most disruptive impact areas of AI adoption across businesses worldwide.

A Bit of History

Artificial Intelligence is both old and fresh news. While the concept has been around for decades, it proved a challenge to find practical, scalable applications in business and industry. Accordingly, AI technology was pretty much confined to the lab until recently.

Today, increased technology maturity translates into greater processing power and declining cost. Increasingly user-friendly solutions are placing AI into the hands of business users. Rapid AI adoption looks like it will revolutionize the way we design, produce, and market products and services, and the way we do business as a whole.

AI: The Ultimate Waste Killer

At the core of AI’s value proposition is its staggering ability to process terabytes of data from a wide variety of different sources and to make sense out of it. As it reconciles millions of data fragments into a coherent image, AI enables users to address complexities which the human brain is not equipped to embrace.

The most obvious of AI applications and use cases is perhaps process streamlining. By connecting all the data dots and streams, machine and deep learning models are enabling operational automation that translates into huge efficiency gains. From Quality Control and predictive maintenance of productive systems to ongoing process optimization based on sound historical data and to fraud detection and prevention, AI is offering business leaders the tools they need to improve productivity and cut operating costs.

AI’s contribution is particularly promising when it comes to resource efficiency. Better energy use and opportunistic strategies to leverage fluctuations in intermittent energy availability have the potential to drive a dramatic reduction in resource consumption and waste. Big Data and AI technologies have been blamed for heavy carbon impact. But, as a matter of fact, a report by PwC and Microsoft suggests that AI could enable a 1.5% to 4% cut in global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 across four key industries (agriculture, energy, transport, and water).

A Game-Changer in Customer Relations

In addition to bearing the potential for substantial improvement in customer satisfaction through shorter time-to-market, quality consistency, and increased ability to control supply chains and meet delivery commitments, AI is empowering businesses to forge meaningful connections with each of their customers.

Artificial Intelligence engines will examine and analyze customer journeys based on data from off- and online interactions, reviews, emails, phone calls, social media interactions, and more. The idea is to help you understand who your customers are, what their needs, expectations, and triggers are, and when and how to address them most effectively. AI-powered recommendations will help your marketing teams to fine-tune their strategies in order to boost up-sell or cross-sell and ultimately increase customer value and profitability. Businesses can also leverage AI to detect potential churn indicators early on and take timely action in order to keep your valuable customers engaged and loyal to your brand.

In sum, superior understanding of and control over the customer experience is enabling business leaders to improve it by orders of magnitude.

The Workplace Will Never Be the Same

Productivity gains and benefits in market position may be the tip of the AI benefit iceberg, while organizations often overlook the potential impact on internal organizational dynamics.

The automation and digitalization of administrative and repetitive tasks are driving a qualitative change in individual employee jobs — not only for manufacturing operatives, but also for health professionals, for train drivers, for accountants… you name it. Jobs that used to involve a lot of lower-value-added work are increasingly focused on planning, coordination, oversight, analysis, and decision-making. When the work is manual in nature, it increasingly is augmented by smart machines.

AI adoption is also changing all organizational workflows and processes, from Research & Development to sourcing, from production to marketing… and to HR Management. Greater employee empowerment requires new approaches to talent recruitment and management, as the desired skills evolve from compliance to out-of-the-box-thinking, from operational cooperation to creative collaboration.

Importantly, the capability of AI-driven tools to abolish asymmetries of information across teams is providing to everyone a clear line of sight to the priorities of the business. Thus driving internal alignment and empowering the whole business to act and work as one.

AI for Business Agility at Scale

The automation of data handling tasks and processes is eliminating the human error factor to enable sound and accurate analysis, guaranteed free from bias.

AI will automatically and intelligently detect any anomalies or deviations and leverage advanced modeling capabilities to find the best response plan. It will observe patterns in order to predict the impact of constantly shifting variables within highly complex systems and better anticipate outputs. Long story short, AI is opening up the opportunity to move from reactive to proactive management.

Since patterns repeat themselves, AI systems can keep a record of past situations and decisions in order to build up the “institutional memory” and accelerate the replication of best practices. Finally, more and more of today’s enterprise AI systems are leveraging deep learning tech’s uncanny ability for self-improvement to optimize and evolve continuously.

To wrap it up, everything indicates we will witness a growing gap between the businesses who embrace disruptive AI technology and those who don’t. Which side are you on?

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Valerie Zeller

Valerie is Sciforma Chief Marketing Officer. Main interests: digital transformation, change management, strategy execution. Send your thoughts @valeriezeller