AI: It’s Not as Intimidating as It Seems

Most people interact with some form of artificial intelligence (AI) almost daily. AI bots are setting our reminders, suggesting our newest favorite products, and even making our appointments. But the benefits of AI extend beyond our personal lives and have the potential to enhance how we do our jobs – as well as the overall success of our businesses.  

From the shop floor all the way up to the executive suite, AI can reduce manual effort and errors and eliminate tedious, repetitive tasks that burden busy employees. Improved employee retention, workforce engagement, and productivity often follow the implementation of an AI instance. But, realistically, are these benefits all that attainable, especially for small-to-midsize businesses? 

Many AI experts say yes. In a recent Forbes article, experts from SAP Concur solutions explore four accessible ways that AI can help any business evolve. More organisations of every size, from the smallest of startups to the largest of enterprises, are deploying AI, and they’re implementing this technology even on tight budgets and with limited resources during a time of unprecedented disruption.  

Take advantage of low barriers to AI entry 

While many business leaders are excited about the potential of AI, some leaders’ less-than-perfect experiences with AI may give them reason for pause. Perhaps you’ve been frustrated by an AI chatbot, deployed by your Internet service provider or favorite retailer, that couldn’t answer your question or solve your problem. Given that experience, you may think that maintaining a successful AI instance needs more time and attention than your business could possibly give.  

The truth is, today’s AI solutions can scale to meet the needs of any business, and the barrier to entry for deploying an AI instance is lower than ever before. Many software vendors offer AI solutions and services tailored to fit your needs, taking into consideration both the size of your business and your industry. Robotic process automation, or RPA, and low-code and no-code development also empower in-house IT organisations to develop and deploy their own bots. 

This example also highlights a common misconception about AI in the workplace. Not all bots are customer facing. In fact, some of the most effective and productivity boosting bots never even get to see a customer. Think about the power of forecasting software fueled by AI. These bots can enhance cash flow prediction and identify key financial trends that can help you make the most of your resources. 

Overcome the challenges of the day – today 

It’s an understatement to say that 2020 was a difficult year for businesses. Those businesses that performed the best in 2020 took the year in stride. Rather than buckling under the weight of greater expectations and fewer resources, successful businesses took the chance to provide more for a strained and increasingly burnt-out workforce by automating some of employees’ most-dreaded tasks. 

Consider the tedium of approving and auditing expenses and invoices. Even filling out finance documents and uploading paper-based information to a digital finance system is a drag, especially when employees have more-pressing work to worry about. Additional stressors, such as the unexpected shift to working from home amid a global pandemic, can also distract employees performing tedious and highly repetitive work. Greater distraction means a greater chance of human error.  

So, if you can’t remove the stressors, eliminate the work. AI-powered document analysis solutions can automate these tasks and empower employees to focus on more value-added work and avoid tedium. Rather than taking away employees’ jobs, automation enhances employees’ roles and capabilities and can contribute to greater workplace satisfaction and employee retention. 

Interested in learning more about the promise of AI for businesses of all sizes? Read the new Forbes article, “The Rethink: 4 Simple Ways AI Can Help Your Business Evolve.”