Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer the stuff of science fiction alone. It’s widespread in business and in our homes — many people have smart phone conversations with Siri or rely on the assistance of Amazon’s Alexa. But, does AI make sense for your business? Consider these prompts when deciding.

Artificial intelligence has many applications and as many descriptors. Some will refer to machine learning or machine intelligence, others to cognitive computing or deep learning. Ultimately Big Blue, I’m referring to IBM not Famous Dex, estimates it’s a $2 trillion market in which computing power is used to understand data, reason, talk, make decisions and learn.

The Harvard Business Review charted the most popular uses of AI today:


Companies such as Samsung, Google, Facebook, Uber, and Amazon are all investing heavily in AI technology. But should you? Here are some questions to consider:

How efficiently are you able to maximize data analytics today?

We become increasingly connected digitally on a daily basis. This means a deluge of data available to business. This data can help:

  • Predict customer service issues
  • Identify prospective leads
  • Personalize marketing
  • Drive product development
  • Anticipate sales opportunities

And, that’s just the beginning. Of course, you could spend hours poring over spreadsheets with hella data points. Or, explore solutions harnessing AI’s power to enable your business to improve its processes and learn more from its data.

Could your customer service improve?

Many businesses turn to AI chatbots to improve customer experience. Intelligent digital agents can be accessible 24–7, where and when the customer needs help. Via instant messaging, the business can provide quick and easy answers to many of the familiar questions customers have. Incorporating AI assistance into website design can also help users navigate the business site more effectively, driving sales and gathering prospect data to support personalized data.

AI bots will power 85% of customer service interactions by 2020 — Gartner

Do you want to improve productivity?

There are many AI solutions to address back office functions of IT, HR, and finance/accounting. Consider the time saved just by automating technology to deal with password resets rather than having your tech talent wasting their time on this mundane task. Or, AI might be used to perform more menial tasks in HR by asking the standardized series of questions required of all applicants or new employees.

Could your employees benefit from more time to be creative/innovative?

Morale can also improve in a business when AI solutions take rote tasks off the plate of the people working for you. Applications can take over every day functions such as order tracking, fraud notifications, answering employee FAQs, staff communication, and even staff training. This can free up the people who know your company and its customers best to spend their time developing new product ideas, customer-centric marketing approaches, or more revenue generating innovations.

20% of business content will come from AI by 2018. — Gartner

Parting — human — thought

AI is one of the essential eight emerging technologies disrupting business and industry today, per PWC. Some 54% of its survey respondents were planning to make “substantial investments” in AI (second only to 73% investing in Internet of Things). Yet only 20% indicated they had the skills to address the technology. Thus, in considering your readiness for AI, examine your internal tech skills foundation and find out what support you can expect from any solution partners.