This article was originally published in the Autumn 2018 issue of The Record.
Organisations are using artificial intelligence (AI), data and cloud computing as the key building blocks for their digital transformation, implementing the technologies to automate business processes and operate more efficiently. Most industries are using these technologies to overhaul enterprise-wide business processes that connect people, data and systems and they anticipate seeing a significant impact in 2018 and beyond. For example, a new Juniper Research study suggests that chatbots could help the financial and healthcare industries save a collective US$22 billion in time and salary expenses by 2022.
Automating basic customer and employee interactions using AI-powered bots is the next step for organisations that want to increase efficiency and free up employees to carry out more important, high-value functions. However, AI bots can only help to build efficiencies, reduce costs, mitigate risks and improve the customer experience if they’re accessible businesses of all sizes – and more importantly, only if these companies get it right.
For bots to be successful, they should use machine learning to understand how best to interact with people, demonstrate a contextual awareness of the end user and constantly evolve based on what they learn, so they are natural to engage with. From an operational perspective, bots should integrate with both enterprise-wide business applications – such as customer relationship management solutions – and platforms like Facebook for greater accessibility.
An easy way for any business to make AI bots mainstream is to implement Microsoft Dynamics 365. The platform brings together Microsoft’s enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management suites, Office 365 and advanced AI capabilities. The new Microsoft Dynamics 365 AI solutions deliver modular applications that make it easier for any business user to build apps that extend and automate their business processes using a combination of cloud, AI and data.
Bringing AI to mainstream business applications means understanding where AI technologies can be successfully applied to existing systems, processes and data to help organisations accelerate their digital transformation.
AI promises to make lives better and enhance the activities people are carrying out today, but in a much more efficient and powerful way. Ultimately the success of AI and bots within today’s business market will depend on how well these new technologies integrate with existing infrastructure and core business functions. Most importantly, it will also depend on how well they are accepted by the end users – your customers and employees.
Paul Timmins is global director for Microsoft at DXC Technology
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