The last two days I listened to experts in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cyber Security, and Digital Transformation talk about how slow technology has changed in recent decades compared to the exponential change we will see in the next few decades. Oh sure there were the graphs that showed how much has changed in the last 50 years, and in just the last 10 years. But the real eye opener is that things like AI and Cyber threats have been around for a very long time, but have just recently come to the forefront for your business. Are you ready?
Let’s put aside the thoughts and concerns of whether machines (robots) will be capable to think, or feel emotions similar to us humans. Let’s step back to the reality of how technology can help your business today. Let’s do this by looking at a few examples, namely Business Operations, Customer Experience, and Security. Each of these areas have many great books that get into the detail. This is a blog post so we’ll stick to short examples.
Business Operations are what differentiate your business from your competition in terms of being better or worse, faster or slower, and cheaper or more costly (to run). Business operations are composed of the tasks your business completes to run your sales, marketing, finance and other departments. An example of how technology can make a fundamental difference is in the volume and decision-making of tasks result from outside-in influences. Outside in influences are the stimuli your business receives from phone calls, emails, social media and every other form of communication your business receives, externally and internally. Some simply cannot be ignored. Your business is required to respond to those related to regulations, and proactive decision-making (versus reactive) can be more efficient and so add to the profit side of the equation.
My example is the fact most businesses used to have “admins” in their organizations. The justification for having admins was that your hired very talented leaders and managers and wanted to maximize their potential by eliminating day-day tasks that did not require their talent. Then came the cost-cutting and most admin positions were removed. But the justification remains. Now that AI has proven the ability to perform administrative tasks efficiently and effectively you are seeing a return of admins in several forms. Chat Bots, Digital Assistants, and plethora of special back-end processing techniques are handling larger volumes of tasks and at a rate faster than an human could handle them. This makes your human talent more effective and efficient by reducing the “noise”, all while ensuring your business does respond appropriately to communications.
Customer Experience (CX) is thought of by many as the most important key to survival for your business. The longevity of businesses has significantly been reduced so that we measure the lifespan in years, not centuries or even decades. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be as great as Apple is at CX, but if you must be better than your direct competitors. CX involves strategy, process, people and technology. CS technology often brings to mind Customer Relationship Management, or CRM. If you have ever used a CRM system you likely shared the frustration that it did not help you with your job, but became another part of your job! There are a lot of reasons lack of adoption is the achilles heel of CRM systems.
To name a few for our example, data was difficult to enter, hard to connect (with other data sources), and needed continued updating – by you. With AI that has all changed; at least for the leaders in CRM like Bpm’online. The leading CRM systems now use digital integration and AI to collect data, assimilate that data, and present that as meaningful information to you. In Bpm’online’s case a “Low/No code” approach is used so that you do not need to be a technical person to make changes to the process to make it more efficient, and to serve your specific needs. That means that the system enters most of the data automatically from multiple sources (your email, social media and online sources, business applications, etc.) and keeps that data up-to-date. By doing all this and presenting the data as meaningful information to you, your job just got easier and the boring stuff disappeared!
Security, specifically Cyber Security is arguably a threat to your business, and can be a double-edged sword. It can cost you a lot of unplanned expense to address, and it can shut down your business if you ignore it. Before AI your choice was to hire a number of smart people as gatekeepers to monitor and control the access to your business and it’s data. This was costly for large businesses and cost prohibitive for SMBs. The fact is that the volume of access, and the techniques deployed by hackers has skyrocketed beyond what can be monitored and controlled by humans alone. With AI huge amounts of data can be scanned, interpreted and acted upon – yes decisions are made – to again reduce the “noise”.
AI can also augment the training you provide for your people so that they do not “click on that link” they receive. AI can help them remember, and understand behaviors to avoid when they are thinking “Hmmm, what was that they said about not clicking on a link? This one seems OK, should I click on this one?” AI take out the emotion and sticks to solid reasoning; and it does not forget. So AI can reduce the huge volumes of potential threats to a manageable number that a talented person can manage and control. And it can accomplish this at a fraction of the cost of hiring the number of humans that would be required.
In summary, if you put aside the hype and fear, technology is capable today to help your business improve your operations, customer experience and security. The results are more effective use of your talent, the means to handle the huge volume of communications, and to do so more securely. There are specific technologies, like CRM, that provide a platform that now enables the business functions, not only IT, to streamline business processes, and so make your people more effective.
If you’d like to hear more about how Bpm’online can help your business improve, join us November 13th in Boston. Register Here.