• danielpshirley

Automation and AI in business

Updated: Feb 12


As technology develops at a fast pace, so do the capabilities of technology when it comes to business. Businesses use technology to efficiently manage tasks with minimal human interaction. By doing this there are able to save time and money but also gives the ability to scale up and have a much higher output compared to manually completing the task.


There are two main areas when it comes to this, these are Automation and Artificial intelligence. Some may confuse the two or think there are the same thing, but they are actually very distinct. Although they both provide the function of automatically completing a task using technology; it is about getting technology to work for you.


In this edition of our blog series https://www.adrastichyperlink.co.uk/blog/categories/how-to-2021-proof-your-business how to 2021 proof your business we will be discussing:


  • The differences between Ai and Automation

  • The capabilities and limitations of Ai and Automation

  • How Ai and Automation can help your business


There are some big differences when it comes to the complexity of both Ai and Automation. Automation is when machines or software is programmed to automatically perform tasks, without human interaction; such as factories. Whereas AI is is science and engineering that tries to mimic and demonstrate characteristics associated with human intelligence such as facial recognition.


Automation


Automation is much older that artificial intelligence, this is because the functions can be completed mechanically rather than with a computer like AI. The creation of early Automation coincided with the industrial revolution, for the first time tasks were being completed by industrial machinery. Over the generations, Automation has revolutionised business and the way business tasks are completed. People were worried about how it would affect them and that they would lose their jobs, this is true and not true. Automation has taken a lot of jobs away that were potentially dangerous, time-consuming or expensive. An example of this is Pinsetters at bowling alleys; bowling alleys today have machinery that automatically clears the lane and sets new pins. But where jobs were taken away, new jobs were created, many positions today would exist today without automation such as a technician that needs to service the bowling machines.


Great examples of how automation can be used with your business to complete a task more efficiently.


Manufacturing


Producing products by hand is very time consuming, some of the earliest examples of automation come from factorises manufacturing products. This was an important step for all product based businesses because it allows task to be completed cost efficiently but also to increase production volume allowing businesses to focus on other areas and grow. Machines are also able to complete intricate tasks to great precision, like computer motherboards where chips and microchips are laid in tight-fitting motherboards. This task would be very difficult and time consuming for human hands, but a machine will complete it with ease.


Booking systems


Businesses can offer a booking service to customers; this allows customers to fill in details which will automatically get sent to your business. On top of that, you are able to automatically collect sort, arrange, reply and even qualify the entries. This is a quick and simple process for not only your business but also your customer. It improves your user experience which equals better customer satisfaction and retention.


Business process automation (BPA)


There are many menial tasks in business that will need to be completed; without Automation, there will very low productivity in your business, which can lead to wasted money and employee dissatisfaction. Tasks that need to be automated are usually:


  • High volume

  • Time sensitive

  • Require multiple people to complete

Examples of this are:


  • E-mail and push notifications

  • Back up and restore systems

  • Sales orders

  • Time and attendance tracking

  • Payroll


AI


AI standing for Artificial Intelligence, just like Automation is about a machine performing tasks associated with humans. But unlike Automation, AI utilises digital computer software to make intelligent decisions to perform the tasks. AI is different because of the coded intellectual processes that give them humanlike characteristics like:


  • Finding meaning

  • Learning from past experiences

  • Ability to reason

  • The ability to adapt


Automation means a machine completes a task, AI is when a computer is programmed to complete very complex tasks by performing humanlike and rationally, allowing it to complete tasks with great proficiency. The ceiling for the capabilities of AI is much higher than Automation and as technology advances so will AI, from self driving cars to drones to robots AI will carry on evolving.






Here are some examples of how you can use AI to help your business grow.


Chatbots


A chatbot is a computer program that is able to communicate with and hold conversations with humans via online messaging. They are designed to simulate the way a human would behave and interact. By doing this you can speak to your customers and gain information from them whilst saving many man hours by manually responding.


The complexity of a chatbot can vary, from simply scanning databases or associated libraries to generate a response to common phrases or keywords. To sophisticated AI that uses natural language and extensive world classification processes to communicate with humans.


Businesses can develop their own brands stand alone chatbot which can be embedded into a businesses website or app. An alternative is to use social messenger platforms, you can import the conversation and answers you want to give. The benefits of social messenger platforms are being able to market to your customer on social media and them being able to contact you and ask questions instantly 24 hours a day.


Some of the most popular chatbot applications for your business are:


  • Facebook messenger

  • Twitter

  • Snapchat


Marketing


Businesses can use Ai in their marketing, the software is able to learn about customers characteristics, habits, interests and even personal details like geography and age. The data gathered about your businesses target audience using AI, can help you make decisions about which directions you would take your marketing strategy on.


By using this information the software can be utilised to complete many tasks such as:


  • Sourcing recommendations and content curation that is unique to your customers’ needs

  • Targeted ads to make sure your ads are only shown to your audience

  • Make adjustments to live campaigns, because the AI can analyse the real time data on consumer behaviour and you can make changes



You will be able to tailor your marketing very precisely to your customers and offer them products and services they would be interested in. This helps with your return on investment and make sure the money you invest is used efficiently and only shown to your audience to get the most out of it.


The main difference between Automation and Ai is intelligence. Automation is given pre programmed instructions, but if there is a change it can cause lots of issues in the system, for instance in a bottle filling machine, one of the bottles fall over, the machine cant decide to pick it up, if not manually fixed it will just continue and cause a pile up. Whereas with Ai, the software learns and adapts, so if the bottle falls the machine will recognise this and then moves the bottle and continue with minimal fuss.



Benefits of using Ai and automation in your business



  • Save time and money


When running a business time optimisation is key and manpower can be expensive. Using technology you can complete tasks, quicker and more efficiently. This works particularly well with data, during the pandemic, there were many cancellations of services. Tickets need to be refunded, appointments rescheduled, notices of business status sent out. This can all be completed with a click of a button, once you have a system set up, you input the data and the technology will take care of the rest. Furthermore, if you use AI you can even respond to customers and make sure your user experience much better. This can save you time and money.


  • Influence business decisions


You are able to make faster business and more accurate decisions using cognitive technologies. AI gives you a more in depth look into your customer than ever before. But it can also identify and predict trends; by doing this you are able to stay ahead of the curve and come up with ideas that will work. Using AI you can break down and analyse statistics in a very clear yet complex way. You are able to instantly collect and compare data, which in turn will give you a clearer picture of what is going well and where you need to improve.


  • Avoid Human error


Human error is inevitable when working with humans, we are not designed to be perfect. Machines are; technology will perform tasks with the highest precision and will rarely make mistakes. Although when a computer makes an error it is a human that would have to rectify it.


  • Scale


Using AI and Automation you are able to scale and gain reach that would never be possible using just humans. This means you are able to produce more or provide services to many more people. This will in turn increase your revenue and drive up sales.


  • Improved customer interaction and user experience


By understanding your customer and providing them with personalised marketing, it will increase engagement, improve sales and generate loyalty, this can be achieved using AI. When customers want to interact with a business they use, email, social media, online chats, telephone calls which all require human engagement. By using ai it enables companies to automate these conversations and respond accurately and humanlike. AI uses machine learning, meaning the more a customer interacts the more the machine will learn.



  • Real time assistance


Businesses that need to communicate a message to high volumes of customers can utilise AI. Businesses such as transport companies, like buses, trains, or the airport. They have millions of customers every day and using AI in real time they can, send personalised travel information, location information and estimated times of arrival.



Disadvantages of AI and Automation


AI and Automation are great tools to help your business grow and increase your sales. However, there are a few downsides when it comes to using AI and Automation.


  • High set up costs


Buying or developing Ai based machines or software can entail outrageous costs, this is because of the complexity of engineering and development that goes into creating one. Furthermore, the huge costs do not stop there, there is also repair, maintenance and upgrade fees. When things go really wrong and there is a severe breakdown, the process of reinstalling the system and recovering lost data has a huge time and cost consequences.


  • Can’t replace humans


Technology is definitely able to perform much more efficiently and precisely than a human being, but it will always lack real human intelligence and experiences. Humans can take other factors into consideration, such as empathy, emotions or morals. Machines are rational and will only complete tasks it has been programmed to do. This could be a problem in some cases, for instance, a business has fined someone for late payment, the technology will automatically issue the fine, but if an appeal letter comes through, it wouldn’t be able to read it and come to the necessary conclusion. Whereas a human will be able to assess what has been said and come to conclusion using, emotions and empathy.



  • Lack of creativity


Computers lack creativity and imagination, they are not built for creative work. In recent times many AI developers have tried to use AI for creative means and where this works to a certain extent it still is very limited. Companies are able to utilise this, especially with simple social media posts which allows you to enter some simple details and it will create generate content based on your input.


The problem with this is that it that you are limited by the creativity of who developed the software. Computer cant creates or make, all they can do is complete the task it was programmed to do. Meaning a developer might create 20 templates, a computer can only use those ten templates, it cannot come up with ideas and create a new template.


  • Generic


Especially with automation, your response to communications with your customers is limited to the different inputs programmed to the software. Therefore all communications will follow the same formula and all customers will get a similar response. While this works, because the computer can make sure it is the right response for that issue, it lacks the personal touch. This is important when it comes to customer service and sales, customers will appreciate having a real person to fix their issues because they are able to ask unique questions that deserve nuanced answers rather than generic ones.



Businesses must utilise technology, with AI and Automation. It will help bring your business to the next level. Technology can improve


  • Productivity

  • Strategy

  • Efficiency

  • Volume

  • Experience


As time goes and technology evolves it will become more and more accessible. So even if you think your business is too simple or you can not afford it, there will be a solution to fill your needs.


At Adrastichyperlink our goal is to help each business reach its goals and objectives through design. We can help you with your social media branding and marketing and make sure your company has a lively interesting social account. For more information get in touch, we would love to hear about your business.



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