Tech of the future? AI driving biz value today

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology was long viewed as a cool innovation, but an unnecessary investment

Paul Whitelam ClickSoftware headshot

ClickSoftware's Paul Whitelam

from a business perspective. Not anymore. AI is emerging as a key element of business strategies across industries. In a recent report, Forrester predicted an increase in AI investments of more than 300% in 2017, compared to 2016, as the technology is enabling companies to leverage their data to improve workplace efficiency and productivity, while delivering tangible benefits to businesses. Some examples:

Human resources

Human resources is not typically an area that comes to mind when we think of where we can apply artificial intelligence, but AI-based technology can help industrial organizations quickly sort through thousands of job applications in a fraction of the time it would take a live person. Especially today when online job tools allow people to fire off applications faster than ever, HR teams benefit from the assistance in narrowing a pool of potentially hundreds of applicants to a few dozen. Of course, AI on its own cannot make the final hiring decision—there are elements of the process that require innate human instinct. That said, AI can extend the HR team’s bandwidth to focus on getting the right people in the door rather than spending time sifting through resumes and filtering out the definite “no” applicants.

Competitive advantage

Probably the biggest (and most obvious) benefit AI brings to the table is its competitive advantage. A recent Infosys survey of 1,600 business and IT executives found that AI is a long-term priority for innovation, with 76 percent of respondents agreeing AI is “fundamental to the success of their organization’s strategy.”. Take Ford Motors—earlier this year the company announced a plan to invest $1 billion over the next five years in Argo AI, an artificial intelligence startup that is focused on developing autonomous vehicle technology. Bosch is another company placing AI at the forefront of its business with the company’s “thinking factory,” which enables AI-powered machines to self-diagnose technical failures, automatically trigger the ordering of replacement parts and anticipate maintenance needs. The key takeaway here is that companies are seeing the value in investing in artificial intelligence today, and those companies that hesitate now run the risk of never catching up.

Artificial intelligence is not tomorrow’s technology—it’s already making an impact on how companies operate. AI enables organizations to take historical and real-time data and drive better decisions around workforce management, marketing strategy, customer retention and everything in between.

Paul Whitelam is VP of product marketing at ClickSoftware