12 May 2021

Now more than ever, businesses are looking for ways to become more efficient, streamlined and cost-effective. Analysing business processes is a good start. But for real transformation, organisations need to understand how artificial intelligence (AI) can help them transform business processes for the better.

Business process automation essentially means moving away from manual, paper-based processes to electronic workflows. On the surface, this sounds like little – or no – human interaction is required. However, automation’s full potential can only be reached when people and technology work hand in hand.

AI business adoption

It’s hard to put a figure on AI business adoption rates. A 2020 McKinsey report suggested that 50% of companies have adopted it in at least one business function.

But the Covid-19 pandemic might serve to speed up that adoption further still. Just as it has accelerated all things digital, many companies are now planning to further invest in AI.

This is great news. But it does raise the concern of a widening gap between AI leaders and companies struggling to make the most of the technology. It’s now up to smaller companies to understand how AI can enhance their business operations and find cost-effective solutions.

Benefits of AI in business

AI technology offers huge possibilities for businesses. As we enter the age of automation, more businesses recognise how automation can lead to improved performance, reduced operational costs, higher profits and a better customer experience.

While these benefits might not be immediate, they sure are hard-hitting. Here’s a look at four business benefits of AI in more detail.

- Enhanced business operations: One of the biggest draws of AI technology is its promise to help businesses do more with less time and less resources. Repetitive tasks are dealt with at a pace that humans can’t match, leaving employees free to move onto high-value tasks that technology can’t do. In short, it helps maximise the talent of your human talent.

- Faster pace of business: Companies need to move fast; AI helps speed up the pace of business processes. Reducing the time from design to delivery means more immediate ROI.

- Efficient scaling up: The more AI, data and analytics are used in a business, the more opportunities for growth and scalability become a reality for an organisation.

- More valuable insights: Real-time data interpretation and exploitation thanks to AI means deeper, more valuable insights. This availability of structured information helps inform faster, smarter decisions.

Power Platform: Empowering employees

Microsoft Power Platform lets you place more power into the hands of your employees. This low-code tool allows end users to create solutions themselves (and pass them on to others).

Forming part of the Power Platform suite, AI Builder lets businesses use AI to reveal insights about their business data. Harnessing the functionality of Microsoft’s AI tools with either custom-built or off-the-shelf applications, AI Builder helps businesses align their business strategy around the customer journey.

Regardless of their technical expertise, AI Builder lets all workers add AI capabilities to their projects. This point-and-click experience is accessible, intuitive and helps organisations drive better business outcomes.

Digital transformation is a focus for both the private and public sectors. Thanks to the government signing a new three-year MOU with Microsoft allowing public sector organisations to maximise the potential of AI, more staff will have the digital tools they need to support businesses on their cloud journeys.

Talent: Unlocking the benefits of AI

When it comes to adopting AI technologies, there’s no such thing as a quick fix. There never is. The benefits are there, but it takes time, effort and total buy-in from the C-suite to realise AI’s true potential. A study carried out by research firm ESI thoughtLab revealed that, on the whole, companies are seeing good returns from AI. The areas enjoying greatest success include: customer service and experience (74%), IT operations and infrastructure (69%), and planning and decision-making (66%).

However, the research also flagged a gap between those companies getting it right and those struggling to harness the potential of AI. How far a company is on its AI journey certainly plays a factor in this divide. Patience and commitment are the two key attributes businesses need if they are to get value from their AI initiatives.

Unlocking the benefits of AI comes down to laying strong foundations and learning to trust AI. This is best achieved through a three-step process:

  • Think about scaling: If a small-scale pilot AI scheme has been effective, companies shouldn’t delay in bringing that success to the wider company. Cloud platforms will help accelerate and scale up AI efforts, and show the initial investment was worth it.

  • Monitor efforts: As the saying goes: you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Admittedly, calculating the ROI of AI is never going to be the simplest of tasks, but that doesn’t mean it should be brushed over. Measuring success is vitally important.

  • Stick with it: The real benefits of AI are only possible with long-term commitment and investment. With the right data practices, technologies, tools, talent, and processes in place, any company can become an AI overperformer.

To find out how Talent can help your business transform its business operations through AI, get in touch with the team today.

If you’re a Microsoft professional looking for a new challenge or a business looking for Microsoft experts to represent your brand, we’re here to help. So, get in touch.

zak.sheikh@talentinternational.com // + 44 7912 528 378