Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been used by brands for years through a wide variety of means.  

Although many brands choose to integrate the technology into their infrastructure to gain and learn from in-depth consumer behavior insights, AI has many other uses as well.  Some of the more significant uses of AI are focused on feature additions that allow businesses to grow quicker than their competitors.  Let’s look closer at how AI can help to break down barriers and increase a company’s competitive advantage in their industry.

Achieving a Competitive Advantage With AI

A recent survey of 800 leaders across seven European countries and the U.S. found that 93% of high growth companies with double-digit organic growth are expected to invest in AI in the next one to three years.  According to Andrew Nig, Computer Scientist and Global Leader in AI, "It is difficult to think of a major industry that AI will not transform. This includes healthcare, education, transportation, retail, communications, and agriculture. There are surprisingly clear paths for AI to make a big difference in all of these industries."  From this, it can be assumed AI must be utilized to stay competitive in business.

Dr Heike Bruch, the Professor of Leadership at the University of St Gallen, says that “senior executives plan to use AI to free up time for leadership – meaning time they spend on motivating and inspiring people in their organization, freeing up time for real people related tasks and human-centered tasks.”  These cost saving measures allow those in higher level roles to use their experience to plan and strategize big picture directives rather than be stuck in the trenches.

Staying ahead of the curve by adapting AI in your business quickly is what is occupying the focus of executives.  In fact, a recent Gartner study found that AI will be one of the top workloads that drive infrastructure decisions from now until 2023.  IT teams are putting more focus on A/B testing AI models over time to ensure it can grow and evolve alongside their current technology and achieve higher success rates.

All in all, AI brings the potential for more radical changes due to its ability to make decisions and take action much quicker than its human counterparts.  It has been seen as a means of increasing productivity within a company particularly amongst operational teams who can use chatbots to filter customers to a call center or to detect fraud in an instant.  This can drastically decrease the amount of overhead needed to sustain growth, thus allowing smaller businesses to gain a competitive foothold against their larger and better funded industry competitors.

How Does Machine Learning Fit Into the AI Picture?

Machine learning (ML) (The scientific study of algorithms and statistical models that computer systems use in order to perform a specific task effectively without using explicit instructions, relying on patterns and inference instead. It is seen as a subset of artificial intelligence.) has become increasingly embedded in many new technologies and solutions, delivering in-depth insight into business metrics and improving data-based decision making.  Johann Jungwirth, Executive Vice President at Volkswagen, proclaims that “AI and ML are viewed as disruptive technologies that are being deeply ingrained into all functions.”  Using AI and machine learning can improve the way you reach out to your customers, giving you a better advantage over a competitor that lacks updated or accurate information.

By using AI and ML simultaneously, it helps give you accurate predictions about qualified leads and market trends.  You can then use this information to help you build and segment your audience based entirely around data-driven analytics.  Once you have a clearer understanding of your customer via the combination of ML and AI, you allow yourself to refine your strategies to use the best channels, create effective marketing campaigns, and communicate with customers more efficiently.  This is the competitive advantage that provides companies with the potential to grow exponentially faster than the rest of their industry.

Building a Sustainable and Efficient Digital Ecosystem

If you try to understand the market insights that you’ve acquired without the help of AI, it would be almost impossible to effectively analyze it without dedicating several hours of your time and precious resources to dive deep into the data.  It is for this reason that companies big and small must invest wisely and quickly in both their people and their technology to stay competitive.  Without the people behind the technology to iron out the kinks and point the AI in the right direction towards an immediate solution that will benefit your business.

PwC’s 22nd Global CEO Survey found that 85% of CEOs agree that AI will significantly change the way they do business in the next five years.  Josh Sutton, CEO of Agorai, calls data, “most valuable business asset that does not reside on a balance sheet.”  Seeing that AI helps businesses sort through data to identify the ever-changing image of their customers while gauging how your brand is perceived on social media and other important channels is key to developing competitive advantages within a robust yet flexible digital ecosystem.

By developing an efficient digital ecosystem for your AI solution to grow within, it will allow the technology to better predict actions you will need to take in the future.  This gives you the insights that you need to become more flexible in adapting to every customer’s unique journey which has the potential to change rapidly with the formation of new trends.  This can help your business with marketing product placement effectiveness as well as bringing new, less risky products to market faster that consumers will clamor for (and more so than your competitors).

A recent survey of executives from pioneering companies found that 90% reported having AI strategies in place.  These executives are beginning to scale AI throughout their enterprise operations by involving their high-level management in their AI initiatives.  The deepen trust in their commitments to AI are driven by prioritizing the revenue-generating potential of its applications over the technology’s cost-saving potential.

AI’s role in the enterprise is growing as cognitive tools and tactics are standardized across IT environments. Görkem Köseoğlu, Chief Analytics Officer in charge of AI at ING, says that “AI is the next frontier, and some companies won’t make it.”  The companies that aren’t cut out to make it are predominantly those who have a reliance on AI as a means to capture their consumer insights rather than to be used as a supplement to their data and analytics solutions.

AI continues to penetrate more processes, allowing companies to provide highly personalized offerings at the right time and in the right context to their customers.  From emailing to chatbots, booking systems, and more, AI is driving accelerated growth from the boardroom to the factory floor.  These autonomously acting AI tools can use insights to reconfigure dynamic pricing on store shelves.  They can recalculate warehouse staffing projections and calibrate manufacturing machines to optimize supply chains.  Therefore, we can see just how AI has the ability to functionally support better decision making which has a direct correlation to the increase in productivity and profits.

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