What every CEO needs to know about AI. Part two: returns

AI can provide a range of ways to increase productivity, improve forecasting, cut downtime and plug costly leakages across production, supply chain, procurement, customer care and administrative overheads.Service companies: improving efficiencySoftware robots from the likes of Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere, Pega and UiPath perform routine tasks such as accessing applications, data entry and calculations..And faster processes have improved the customer experience.Looking at how motor insurance claims are processed gives a powerful illustration of how applying the whole suite of AI technologies creates impact:Insurance companies have been using optical character recognition (OCR) to convert handwritten claims into machine-readable data..Pitney Bowes has introduced General Electric’s Predix system and has seen a 20% increase in machine yield, a 15% saving on parts replacement and has cut the cost of tech support by 10%.Worker productivity can be boosted by using “collaborative” robots that operate with human workers on jobs that cannot be fully automated..An outstanding example is Google’s DeepMind, which has cut the energy used by Google for cooling its data centres by 40%..Companies are using AI to accurately forecast customer demand for vast numbers of different items..Amazon has increased inventory capacity by 50% and reduced operational costs by 20%.Enhancing customer care at lower costAI can help companies meet customers’ ever-rising expectations for personalised service and for getting what they want straight away.Reduce incoming failure demand: When something fails to meet customers’ demands, they are likely to contact a call centre..Using Natural Language Processing and text mining, calls can be analysed to derive trends of demand and patterns of failure; then, appropriate action can be taken.Reduce the number of calls reaching call centre agents: Online chatbots that mimic how humans speak are already widely used..Chatbots act as gatekeepers, dealing with simple tasks, then transferring calls they cannot handle to call centre agents..Many Chinese banks allow users to identify themselves using only their face for online access and at ATMs.Speed up the handling of calls: Call centre agents typically spend up to a quarter of their time accessing different systems to find and update data during and after a call..The result: the average time taken to handle a call has been cut by 40%.Coach the agents: Call transcription can help call centre agents to learn from the way that their best-performing peers operate..Improve capacity utilisation: Call centres can use machine learning models such as Random Forest and Facebook’s Prophet to accurately forecast call centre demand..However, Coupa software uses machine learning to automate the clean-up and classification of information..Imagine a system that takes a picture of a receipt and uses optical character recognition to read the text, with machine learning then identifying the sum, date, currency and type of expense: put it together and it could create an expense entry.Attracting and retaining talentAs human resource departments step up from their traditional service role to strategic business partner responsibilities, they can take a cue from Michael Lewis’s book Moneyball to derive data-driven insights about talent.Find potential high performers: Forward-thinking HR teams are using data science to identify the traits that make someone a high-performer and to define the profiles of employees who are likely to do well in a particular role.. More details

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