From a business point of view, a very relevant question would be to ask: What makes AI smart? How can it improve the way I run my business? And what exactly makes AI so different from the IT I know and use today?
These are precisely the questions that this article will help you get answered. We’ll start by rolling out why AI is smart in a corporate context.
Automate making decisions
The short answer to the question is that technology enables you to automate making decisions and solving tasks in your business. And that’s a big deal.
Whatever your business is involved in and what the goal of your company is, a central connection will always exist. You make decisions, and you solve tasks.
Today, some tasks are solved by your IT systems, some are solved as ad hoc tasks, and in other contexts, you use processes as the way to ensure that tasks are solved.
Let’s say you sell curtains from a fleet of vans that drives out to your customers. When your staff visit the customer, they take measurements, choose the curtain materials with the customer and close the sale. And 14 days later, you deliver customized curtains to your customers.
Today, if a potential customer calls you, an employee must pick up the phone, open a calendar program (e.g. Outlook), find a time when one of your vans is in the area where the customer lives. Once the appointment is confirmed, your employee books a time for a visit and end the phone call.
You probably have a process for how such a conversation should be handled. You have a process to guarantee that you have a consistent customer experience and to ensure that neither you nor the customer is missing information when the conversation is finished. You have IT systems that enable you to book the customer’s appointment. Your IT also makes it possible to communicate with your curtain van driver so that he arrives at the agreed time at the customer’s home.
So it is a simple task involving people, processes, and IT systems. AI has the potential to replace all three things. An AI bot can take the customer’s phone call. Meaning, your AI will be having a dialogue on the phone with the customer to ensure that the booking will be placed precisely as your employee would have it. And when the booking is secured, your AI will ensure that the right next actions is addressed. Such as booking your van driver and sending confirmation emails to your new potential customer
In other words. Your AI will be performing precisely the same task that used to require efforts from as your employee, IT system support and a specification of a process flow.
And once the AI system is installed, then the system can handle anywhere from 1 to maybe 1000 calls per minute because there are no dependencies of people in the design of the solution. Because such a setup scales exponentially.
Google has already made a bot that can book appointments. It’s called Duplex, and you can watch a YouTube video showing the principle here:
And back to the case. In our example, the booking flow is the opposite way. Meaning, Google’s bot calls to book a time with a hairdresser, so it is the bot that makes the call and talks to a human. It could just as well have been a Bot that received the phone call as the case is for us in our example.
The obvious learning from this case is that such new technologies will change the opportunities you have for running your business more efficiently. It will also enable you to offer a range of new products and services that would not have been possible before.
The curtain van was just one example. As a case is it compelling, but you need to know how to zoom in on AI and your business. I’ll soon discuss how you can do this in a way that ensures that you get a complete picture of your overall opportunities on how to work with the technology.
To help you do this, you will get help from a set of frameworks that are designed to help you identify where in your business AI can help you create new ways of value.
However, before we get to that part, you have to understand two very fundamental issues. Namely, how AI works, and a perspective on how AI differs from what you can do with IT.