State of AI and why every company needs an AI strategy
In the 2nd edition of the ‘State of AI in the Enterprise’ study, Deloitte has assessed companies that are testing and implementing cognitive technologies and Artificial Intelligence today. The main findings support that early adopters continue to increase their investment in these new technologies, initiate more projects and harvest early revenues. The findings also indicate that AI is becoming a necessity rather than an option for companies to keep their ability to compete on the market. Therefore, one of the biggest challenges that companies encounter today is finding the right path to AI and defining their strategy to maximise returns.
The path to AI
Cognitive technologies are tasks that only humans were able to do before. Early adopters of cognitive technologies such as machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP), speech recognition, computer vision and robotics are pleased with the results of their investments. In total, 85% of the respondents stated that they notice ‘moderate’ or ‘substantial’ benefits of cognitive technologies. But not every company has the resources to build their own infrastructure and train algorithms. Cloud-based AI services can facilitate integration as fewer resources are required for companies. It is expected that with the increase of tailored AI services for businesses, more and more companies will take advantage of software-as-a-service (SAAS) models, according to the study, with an expected growth rate of 48% per year.
While there are many cognitive services on the market, companies struggle to find a strategic approach to AI as the correlation between competitiveness and AI grows. The study indicates that there is a lack of understanding in the current workforce to find the right mix between human and machine. While companies are training their personnel, respondents state that they might require new people to get the best of both. Instead of replacing human workforce, companies need to find the right strategy between automation and human emotional intelligence and creativity. In line with the respondents of the study, the right mix between human and AI is considered to be crucial for companies. Some cloud-based services are one step ahead by offering a hybrid solution that encourages the best of both. SAAS models allow companies to manage their unstructured data with pre-trained models in a constantly evolving knowledge basis, while the service price remains a fraction of the saved costs through automation and empowered agents.
ROI of AI investments
As companies still hone in on the right AI strategy, 82% of the surveyed companies state that their investments are already paying off. Across all industries, companies gain a financial return, but there are variations in-between.
This table based on self-reported data from the surveyed companies underlines that all industries recognise the value and returns they receive from AI. The advantages of automation are not limited to external processes, however. A lot of businesses today already use automation to streamline internal business processes. The study found that industries such as Industrial products and services, media and entertainment, technology, and telecommunications see high returns on their investments.
Customer Service in telecommunications, for instance, has the perfect conditions for automation. Especially in the telco vertical, companies have to deal with a large number of incoming customer service requests and processes. At the same time, the customer demand for fast service via more and more channels is steadily increasing, however, it is extremely costly for companies to meet this demand. This challenge is only compounded by the fact that the distribution of requests is highly-volatile so that support capacity is either not permanently utilised or processing times are unsatisfactory for customers at peaks. AI has generated high returns for companies by saving costs through automating and improving operations while delivering a superior customer experience. In a hybrid solution with customer agent and AI, automation does not only shorten waiting times for customers but also increase the agent’s satisfaction. Supported by AI, customer service agents do not have to answer the same questions every day and are able to focus on complex, value added tasks that require a human touch.
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