A mere glimpse at trade magazines, conferences, and “startups to watch” lists makes it clear that artificial intelligence (AI) has hit its stride.
Just over 15 years ago, AI was still the stuff of science fiction, specifically the 2001 Steven Spielberg movie AI: Artificial Intelligence. Now, AI and related terms like machine learning are part of common business parlance, and though it may not have taken the shape of a pre-teen Haley Joel Osment, AI is fast becoming an integral part of business ventures around the world.
According to a recent survey by tech giant SAP, 9 out of 10 business leaders believe AI will be essential to their companies’ survival in as little as five years time. With such an overwhelming consensus, it’s highly likely your business will need AI at some point in the very near future. With that in mind, here are our tips for how to prepare your company for AI.
- Determine what kind of AI you will need
Much like other technological developments, there are many ways for a business to implement AI solutions. The kind of company you run has a huge effect on the kind of AI technology you may need to use.
Customer-facing companies, for example, may be suited to one of the AI-powered offerings from SAP, which allow users to create intelligent chatbots and integrate them with social media platforms. Using AI in this way allows for better customer service, and a smoother user experience; there’ll be no need to put people on hold or leave them waiting while an employee answers their questions.
If your business works with a lot of overseas clients who speak different languages, machine translation might be hugely advantageous. Though not yet capable of replacing scrupulous human translators and interpreters, AI-powered machine translation can produce accurate translations of documents for internal use, helping to speed up communication between international branches and departments.
- Hire new staff (or invest in thorough training)
There’s no point investing in complex AI technology if no one at your firm knows how to use it. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many applications of artificial intelligence can be very difficult to operate. Unless you already employ somebody with expertise in that area—and if you do, why aren’t you using AI already?—you’ll have to either make a new hire, or invest in some serious training to make sure you have capable staff in place.
Specialist recruiters can help if you choose to hire new employees. EurSAP is an SAP recruitment agency who would be able to find workers to design and implement the chatbots mentioned above. Electus have a dedicated team working to find candidates for big data, AI, and machine learning jobs, meaning they should be able to help bring experts in all kinds of AI systems to your team.
If a full-time hire is too much for your business at the moment, bringing in an expert to set-up new AI systems as a part-time consultant is an effective alternative. Then there’s the training, with several AI training courses available to bring existing staff up to date. These courses will upskill your current staff, likely saving you money, and giving workers a great opportunity for career development.
3. Test the waters
Even though an overwhelming number of business leaders predict that AI will be hugely important, there’s a chance that your business could be an exception. That’s why, if you can, testing out AI technology before committing to it indefinitely is advisable.
Many applications of AI, including several SAP software packages, are available with free trial periods. This will give you a chance to test them out and see if they suit your business. It might take a few attempts to figure out exactly how and why your business should be using AI, and it is possible that you won’t need to at all. However, with the benefits AI can bring, one thing’s for certain: it’s essential that you give it a try.