AI Transforms Enterprises by Solving Their Biggest Problems

Artificial intelligence (AI) is in a unique position to optimize business processes across industries with big data.

by Drew Burns

posted on 04-26-2018

When I meet with customers, whether they’re in the travel and hospitality industry, retail, or any sector in between, they all have the same question and the same challenge — how do I create an awesome customer experience?

On the face of it, the answer is pretty simple: Understand what your customers want and give it to them. But that’s easier to do in theory than it is with the technology we’ve been using. Thankfully, artificial intelligence (AI) — applications that complete tasks that typically would require human intelligence — is slowly changing this and helping brands create a more frictionless customer experience.

AI technology is in a unique position to solve business problems and optimize business processes that “no human could legitimately perform.” Advances in algorithms, computing power, and analytics provide the additional ingredients needed to put AI to work in the enterprise.

Here’s how AI helps solve common challenges facing enterprises today.

AI helps us better understand data

Businesses are collecting more customer data across various touchpoints, but to have a better conversation with their customers they must leverage this data — whether it’s offline data from in-store interactions or call centers, to online data like purchases from their website — in the right way to create a meaningful experience.

AI can help enterprise businesses make sense of the all data they have by automating the data collection process. With the help of machine-learning, companies can do a lot of number crunching and real-time analysis to be more agile and adaptable based on the trends they’re seeing. In this way, they can find patterns in the data and draw better insights from it, such as identifying what’s most important about a visitor’s interaction depending on where they are in the customer journey, and developing the right content for those moments that pleases them.

Overall, companies will save valuable time and money based on doing business quicker, getting things done faster, and understanding things better.

AI can power personalization at scale and transform the customer experience

The biggest advantage of all this data is that it can drive more personalization, and that is where AI likely will have the biggest impact across the enterprise.

I have lots of conversations with companies around personalization, and that is probably the topic that is most whetting people’s excitement when it comes to AI.

Traditionally, personalization has been viewed as rules-based targeting based on the results of a manual test. Tests take time to run and reach significance. AI and machine-learning have brought speed to this process of testing by evaluating performance in real time during a test, and delivering the best personalized version of content or experiences to the right audience or even to each individual based on their preferences.

For example, some banks use Adobe Experience Cloud, which is powered by the artificial intelligence and machine-learning capabilities, to personalize product offerings for customers. They are moving beyond traditional marketing to more of that one-on-one, carefully and dynamically crafted communication. AI can address issues of data fragmentation in marketing because the technology can look across all the tools, platforms, and data sets marketers use to find patterns and discover insights that could help marketers more effectively target their audience. Using Adobe Sensei-powered anomaly detection in Adobe Analytics, these banks also can more easily identify performance issues in their apps.

In travel and hospitality, AI can enhance customer service and help consumers plan their trips.

One large hotel chain has transformed the travel industry by taking their concierge service to the next level. Their mandate is to have a full, real-time profile view of the customer — no matter where they are engaging — so the front desk knows, for example, if you like to hit the gym, try out a yoga class, prefer in-room dining, had a bad previous experience, or are even returning for an anniversary celebration. The company also has revolutionized customer service in its mobile application — not only by mirroring properties that you have searched recently online when you open the app, but by providing a personalized section related to your stay, and in-app messaging related to features and services in and around your stay in the hotel that you might be interested in. Automation allows the web and screen experience to be completely dynamic — they can literally treat locations on a page as a tile — and what might fill that tile can be completely related to you as a loyalty member, or even as a semi-regular customer, and based on your specific needs during your tip, whether its business or pleasure.

In healthcare, AI can play a big role in making sure patients receive the right care in an expedited manner. Machine-learning may improve individual care delivery and clinical outcomes — perhaps the most intimidating and personal interactions consumers have with an organization.

While all this is exciting, businesses need to prepare themselves for the changes AI will bring. Companies can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to AI. They must customize the technology for their particular business context, experts say, and companies may very well need to hire a chief AI officer or vice president of AI to steer this business strategy. Such new positions will be necessary to help companies establish a more robust data-driven culture that looks at data and information “as a second language.” Transforming the organization’s culture also can require changes in training, skills development, hiring, organizational hierarchy, data acquisition and monetization, analytical methodologies and business processes, according to Gartner.

How AI might transform the future of work

The automation benefits of AI don’t mean the technology will replace people, which is a common concern. However, it could add a level of efficiency to human-centered tasks that we’ve never seen before.

Still, no matter how intelligent AI becomes, it’s not going to know how to do someone’s job. Instead, AI will complement jobs, allowing people to work at a higher level. AI will handle a lot of that manual process at a much more precise and scalable way than humans will be able to do.

For example, in the insurance industry, AI can drive a “touchless claims process” that doesn’t require the involvement of human agents. “This process uses artificial intelligence and other technology to report the claim, capture damage, audit the system, and communicate with the customer,” says Blake Morgan, a customer experience futurist and Forbes contributor.

For customers, he says, this would remove red tape. For companies, automation would reduce processing times for claims, improve quality, and detect patterns that indicate fraudulent claims, which now costs the industry $40 billion a year. For workers, AI can remove the drudgery of a lot of manual tasks, like combing through documents, so they can focus on more meaningful and rewarding work that requires the instincts and intelligence only human beings can provide.

And it’s important to remember that AI works in concert with people, not without them. Some companies have a fear factor about putting their trust in the algorithm, but they need to understand that AI isn’t a black box. With AI, companies remain in control, and have to turn the dials on these algorithms.

As an example, consider what’s happened in the airline industry. Today, algorithms fly planes, and they fly them better than humans can. However, there’s still a pilot in the seat to account for any anomalies. We will need the human being to analyze what’s happening over time.

In highly regulated industries that deal with very sensitive information, companies will need more manual control, with whitelisting or blacklisting of certain attributes, or exclusion from automation built in.

Ultimately, AI is not about removing control or removing human beings or human thinking from the equation. It’s about solving problems, so humans are liberated to deliver more and better products and services to customers. That will transform how employees work, how companies function, and how customers interact with businesses — and ultimately make the experience better for everyone.

Find out more on the impact artificial intelligence will have on business at the next edition of Think Tank by Adobe, “The Future of AI in the Enterprise,” on April 30 in New York City.

Read more stories from our artificial intelligence series and to find out more about Adobe Sensei.

Topics: Digital Transformation

Products: Experience Cloud