Technology How AI is transforming business outcomes across industries and...

How AI is transforming business outcomes across industries and sectors

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Since late last year, AI development has accelerated at a seemingly inexorable pace. From large language models (LLMs) such as GPT-4 capable of extraordinary cognitive performance (such as scoring in the 90th percentile on the Uniform Bar Examination) to ASR platforms such as ASAPP (which has reached 98.25% accuracy), it is clear that the pace of progress in AI will only continue to accelerate.

Improvements in the field have moved so fast that a petition has been filed impose a moratorium about training AI systems has received more than 27,000 signatures, including from many leading AI researchers, intellectuals and entrepreneurs. While caution is certainly advised when it comes to technology as powerful as AI, the potential benefits of these systems are so great that we will soon see increased adoption of AI across a wide range of industries and sectors.

The competitive advantages that AI offers will accelerate its adoption and the technology will become increasingly differentiated by industry and use case. This means that AI will become deeply embedded in the day-to-day operations of a growing number of companies – a shift that will fundamentally change the way market share is distributed, what products and services are available to customers and how companies position themselves in the world.

Why AI adoption will be rapid and widespread

Intelligence is the most powerful and dynamic resource we have – it is an engine of innovation, it can be used for unlimited purposes and in the case of AI it even has the potential to improve itself recursively. One of the reasons why AI has caused so much fear is the fact that it exhibits the capabilities that people hold dearest: creativity, problem solving and the ability to express ideas in a convincing and compelling way. However, it is a mistake to overlook how AI and human intelligence complement each other.

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LLMs have received the most media attention in recent months as millions of people experiment with them and large companies such as Google and Microsoft integrate the technology into their products. But AI will revolutionize countless other areas – a recent Gartner report considered only the top five use cases in the financial industry: demand/revenue forecasting, anomaly and error detection, decision support, POC revenue forecasting, and cash collections. These use cases enable people to do their jobs more effectively. For example, revenue forecasting allows business leaders to plan more strategically. Error detection helps employees avoid tedious manual analysis and backtracking.

Between 2017 and 2022, McKinsey reports that AI adoption more than doubled. Gartner found that 45% of executives say ChatGPT’s publicity has led to a increase in AI investments, with 70% of companies exploring generative AI. With more resources flowing into AI research and use cases constantly growing, this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

The growing business case for AI

There is a corollary to the ever-expanding range of use cases for AI: drastic improvements in business outcomes. This is reported by a recent PwC questionnairecompanies that have distinguished themselves as “AI leaders” are deriving significant value from technology in many areas: increasing productivity through automation, improving decision making and customer experience, developing more innovative products and services, and improving employee experience and acquiring skills (this list includes only the top five results).

Consider Natural Language Processing (NLP): AI can now flawlessly convert speech into text, extract sentiment and meaning from massive amounts of consumer data, and provide instant credible answers to customer questions. The global call center market is expected to grow from nearly $340 billion in 2020 to $496 billion in 2027, which is no surprise given the billions of dollars major financial institutions, airlines and telecommunications companies are spending on these centers. ASR platforms such as ASAP dramatically improve automated communication, which will lead to much better customer experiences, efficiency gains and cost savings (since companies don’t have to spend as much on human capital).

Companies are becoming more and more confident in their ability to predict the ROI they can achieve with AI — 72% of AI leaders say they can confidently assess the ROI of current AI initiatives, while 59% say the same about initiatives planned for next year. There is no clearer sign that the business case for AI is getting stronger by the day.

AI has become an integral part of more and more everyday activities

While we are still years away from roads full of fully autonomous vehicles and other elements of the AI-powered future that have long captured the public imagination, the breakthroughs of the past six months alone have shown that it is extremely difficult to predict how fast this field will develop. As AI and ML evolve alongside major advances in robotics and automation, the economic impact will have tectonic implications.

Aside from the widespread adoption of AI across industries and industries, companies will increasingly find that AI is an integral part of a growing number of functions. Everything from product development to operations to accounting, sales and pricing will be impacted by AI, and businesses will be divided into AI to have And have-nots.

Take hiring for example – 85% of companies using AI for HR-related purposes say it helps them increase efficiency, while more than two-thirds report it has improved the quality of review requests. Speaking of human capital, it is being hired worldwide tree in AI, which will give some companies a serious competitive advantage for years to come, while others will fall behind.

AI will turbocharge many aspects of business, but companies will not be able to leverage this performance boost if they continue to use cumbersome and overly complex legacy systems. Just as there’s no point in tethering a turbocharger to a horse and buggy, there’s no point in deploying AI without the right supporting tech stack – from efficient workflow solutions to feature-rich and accessible customer-facing platforms (which is, your contact center user interface).

The acceleration of AI innovation and adoption will be a catalyst for huge investments in the technology, shifting billions of dollars in valuations as some companies use AI to drive competitive differentiation and others cannot keep up. Companies that embrace AI will devise new and productive ways to integrate it with their existing workforce, products and operations – an edge today that will pay off tomorrow.

Steve Schmidt is a general partner at Telstra Ventures.

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