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What Can AI Do for Business? 5 AI-Centric Benefits

Roland Alston, Appian
March 18, 2024

In just a few months, enterprise AI has rapidly evolved into a strategic partner for organizations that want to stay ahead of the disruption curve. Whether enterprises are leveraging predictive analytics for strategic decision-making, using machine learning algorithms for supply chain optimization, or applying generative AI and large language models to enhance customer service, it’s clear AI will help business in many ways. 

As your business navigates this AI-driven landscape, it’s crucial to consider how your current business operations adapt to this transformative AI trend and how leveraging AI’s agility and scalability can unlock next-level efficiency and innovation for your organization.

In this blog, we highlight the transformative potential of AI in business operations, exploring five tangible benefits that are reshaping the way businesses operate in the digital economy.

1. Smarter, more effective business processes.

Let's look at one of AI’s practical applications: streamlining repetitive tasks within a workflow. AI workflow automation uses artificial intelligence to efficiently scale growth by integrating a wide range of digital tools (e.g., intelligent document processing, APIs, software robots via robotic process automation) and orchestrating end-to-end automation within and between core business processes.

This is where AI-powered intelligent automation takes center stage, infusing workflows with advanced cognitive capabilities. Unlike traditional automation methods that simply execute predefined tasks, intelligent automation empowers machines to think, learn, and autonomously make decisions—with human oversight, of course.

Learn how to implement end-to-end process automation strategies successfully. Get the Process Automation Guide

2. Better product and service development.

AI revolutionizes product and service development with a trifecta of benefits. First, it enhances efficiency by seamlessly integrating with the development process, speeding up time to market and letting you make better use of your resources.

Second, AI helps personalize products and services, leveraging the power of algorithms to tailor offerings to customer preferences. As a result, companies can tailor their offerings precisely to meet each customer's unique needs, fostering customer loyalty and boosting their lifetime value.

Third, AI's prowess in data analysis empowers businesses to sift through vast troves of data, uncover valuable trends, identify untapped opportunities, and anticipate customer needs. With these insights, businesses can align their digital transformation journey with evolving consumer expectations.

3. Supply chain resilience.

In today's digital economy, AI-powered solutions are revolutionizing supply chain operations. From track and trace functionalities to claims investigation and compliance, AI automation platforms are unifying legacy systems and orchestrating processes to drive efficiency and cost savings across the board.

Track and trace.

Organizations with manufacturing operations leverage AI as a digital control tower, tracking the geographic location of shipments and ensuring the accuracy, authenticity, and safety of products in transit. Companies can better maintain product quality and integrity by using AI automation to control distribution and safeguard against fraud and counterfeiting.

Claims investigation and compliance.

Leading supermarket chains are leveraging AI automation to streamline claims investigation processes with distributors. By using AI to automate compliance team processes, including eliminating error-prone spreadsheet tracking, companies have drastically reduced claim processing times from hours to minutes. This AI use case not only saves tens of thousands of hours annually but also enhances operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Contract lifecycle management.

Enterprises increasingly turn to AI for contract lifecycle management to streamline and enhance their operations. By leveraging AI-powered solutions, organizations can automate repetitive tasks, such as contract drafting, negotiation, and renewal, reducing manual errors and accelerating the contract lifecycle.

AI algorithms analyze vast amounts of contract data to extract key clauses, identify risks, and ensure compliance with legal requirements, enabling businesses to expedite decisions. Furthermore, AI-driven contract management systems offer real-time insights into contract performance, allowing enterprises to optimize contract terms, mitigate risks, and maximize value.

Tip: When selecting AI automation tools to enhance supply chain operations, prioritize a unified platform over point solutions. Focus on these four factors: multiple automation tools for comprehensive automation, a data fabric layer for seamless data connectivity, process mining for identifying optimization opportunities, and low-code development for enhanced speed and agility. 

In the following section, we'll highlight how businesses can harness AI's power in customer service to meet and exceed customer expectations in a dynamic digital economy.

4. Revolutionized customer service.

AI-enabled customer service is the next frontier of customer engagement. It enables companies to deliver personalized experiences, streamline customer interactions, and reduce service costs. AI technologies could deliver up to $1 trillion in additional value each year for the global banking industry alone.

AI streamlines issue resolution by automating ticketing and routing, ensuring queries are directed to the appropriate department or agent for faster resolution. For example, Appian AI Copilot harnesses the power of generative AI to quickly build interfaces that give your customers a beautiful and effortless experience. And you can use AI Copilot to generate an interface directly from a PDF in just a few clicks.

Here are four other facets of AI’s impact on customer service that could help your business:

  •  AI can predict potential issues based on historical data, allowing you to proactively identify and quickly resolve problems before they escalate. 
  •  AI reduces manual work by extracting and categorizing information from documents and emails, allowing agents to focus on delivering personalized service.
  •  AI generates valuable insights from data analysis, enabling customer service agents to use customer preferences and sentiment to personalize recommendations and improve satisfaction. 
  •  AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants provide fast, always-on responses, speeding up response times and ensuring customers receive timely assistance.

Personalization has become the cornerstone of enterprise strategies across industries. The race for market dominance hinges on the ability to capture, analyze, and leverage personalized customer data on a massive scale, coupled with the strategic integration of AI technologies.

What was once considered a niche marketing tactic has become a top concern for C-suite executives. As companies vie for the hearts and minds of consumers, strategically utilizing personalized data and AI-driven insights is essential for standing out from competitors.

Now, let's delve deeper into how companies benefit from leveraging AI to enhance strategic decision-making.

5. Easier navigation of complex decisions.

How should you prepare for disruption? How can you improve customer experience? How can you do more with less? Operational decision-making is one of the most powerful—and challenging—aspects of leading a business. But 85% of business leaders struggle with decision stress, and the problem spans every industry. 

Here’s where AI can help. By analyzing historical contexts and correlations within massive datasets, AI empowers decision-makers to quickly glean insights and make informed decisions in real-time.

But data silos often restrict the flow of information, hindering a company’s ability to make informed, timely decisions. Enter data fabric—an essential tool that seamlessly links data across databases, cloud, and enterprise systems. This technology gives AI centralized access to data without migration, effectively eliminating data silos and enabling AI to fully leverage historical data to help executives make strategic decisions with unparalleled accuracy and insight.

AI paves the way for productivity gains.

Incorporating AI into your front- and back-office operations is crucial for automating workflows, driving efficiency, improving decision-making, and boosting productivity. Moreover, AI catalyzes the integration of institutional know-how and structured data sources, enabling companies to harness their business-specific data and expertise to elevate decision-making from good to great. 

Leading organizations are revolutionizing strategic decision-making, streamlining workflows, optimizing supply chains, and delivering unparalleled customer service with AI. Don't wait to unlock AI's transformative benefits for your business.

Download the 2024 AI Outlook today and get expert guidance on transforming your business with AI.