Busting the myths of AI in business

Does AI offer a route back to profitability?

Artificial Intelligence can provide businesses with a route map away from the damage caused by the covid pandemic and back to profitability. With reductions in resources caused by the covid crisis, businesses are asking their people to do more with less, as they look to return to growth. 

This means that your teams need to be more efficient than they have ever been. AI can help, by minimising the time spent on mundane and repetitive tasks. But there are some significant barriers to the take up of AI in business. They are most often driven by bad press and myths. The most common of these are either conceptual abstractions (Myths 1 and 2) or practical objections (Myths 3 or 4)

Myth 1 – AI is just a science fiction idea 

Artificial Intelligence is poorly understood. It’s something that is talked about from both utopian and dystopian perspectives, in particular when it is about mimicking human intelligence to the point of replacing us. We’ve all seen the movies. At present AI for business has a much narrower definition. It is predominantly focused upon business improvement. Robotic Process Automation, machine learning and Hyper Automation are very real. They are growing massively and are becoming a business imperative.

“Automation is fast becoming a business imperative.”

Myth 2 – AI will take over everybody’s job

There is no doubt software automation will change and disrupt how we work, just as manufacturing automation did during the industrial revolution. At the moment the focus is largely on repetitive processes within a role. That’s not the full picture, because there are some things that we can not be done without AI, (but that’s not the focus of this myth). A relatively small number of complete roles are at risk from automation. Over time, the number of roles that AI can replace will grow. However, the process of change will also spur economic growth and new jobs will evolve. 

So what will the future look like? No one knows for sure, but PwC created this nifty little tool for seeing the likely impact of automation over the next 15 years by industry. Follow the link here to see more about the question of: How will automation impact jobs

Myth 3 – AI is something only large organisations can afford

Robotic Process Automation is where we have so far seen the fastest growth and the greatest take-up predominantly by large enterprises. There are many reasons for this. Often it’s just too expensive, so the business case isn’t there for smaller organisations. But the situation is changing. SAAS models, more accessible platform design and a new more fluid generation of vendors are creating a more level playing field.  Change is happening and it and the situation will develop quickly. Can AI become an affordable investment for Mid Market?

Myth 4 – AI is too technical for our business

Artificial intelligence requires technical expertise and as such is ‘too difficult’. Or so the thinking goes. Actually, the biggest difficulty is often understanding your own business and how you achieve your objectives. If you can recognise a business process, you can consider automating it. And then you can enhance it. Our technology is often completely non-invasive and the technical requirement is often minimal.

Conceptually, AI in business is real and its implementation will be a positive: it will augment rather than remove. In practical terms, it is affordable and accessible. Businesses will probably be in for a rough ride over the next few years, so anything that can ease the journey is worth a closer look…

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

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