Presented by Worldpay
It’s time to take a long, hard look at the potential benefits of artificial intelligence for your company — because your competitors are. The Global Center for Digital Business Transformation found that digital disruptors like AI and machine learning have the potential to overturn entrenched industry leaders and transfigure entire markets faster, they say, than perhaps any force in history.
Consider AI’s four major benefits:
- Reducing cost by automating processes that are done manually today
- Increasing productivity and gradually improving business processes as machines adapt and learn over time
- Understanding customers better by mapping bevhavioral patterns, and providing customers witha slicker, more tailored experience
- Offering customers and other businesses industry-leading insights that you’ve gathered from your AI systems
The problem is that despite the rise in the number of conversations around the benefits of AI, business leaders are still essentially flying blind when it comes to decision-making around artificial intelligence. We’re all on the same first page — AI is bigger than big, more important than mobile phones or fire.
So now what?
Adopt early, and choose the use cases that will offer the biggest impact on your business for your customers, and in your industry. But both internally and externally, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to AI, because that would be too easy.
Build it or buy it?
Everyone’s looking for the answer, especially tech monsters like Google and Baidu. They spent almost $30 billion on AI R&D, deployment, and acquisitions in 2016. On the buy-it side, the number of active U.S. startups developing AI systems has increased by 14x since 2000, and annual VC investment into U.S. AI startups has increased by 6x. And in fact, by 2019, startups will overtake Amazon, Google, IBM, and Microsoft in driving the AI solutions market.
On the build-it side, interest in TensorFlow and Scikit-Learn, open-source software packages for deep learning and machine learning, has skyrocketed.
But it turns out, it’s not an either-or choice.
Big AI vendors with resources in the cloud, like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and others, are magnets for the best in AI talent; AI startups are often helmed by former large-vendor employees who experienced a lightbulb moment and rushed off to innovate.
That means there is a pretty big chance that there’s a packaged AI solution out there waiting for you, which would require fewer resources, and be deployed faster and more efficiently, with helpful troubleshooters always in the wings.
But it’s never entirely plug-and-play. AI needs to continually learn, trained via client data right from the start, so your vendor will be working closely with you throughout the deployment and beyond. You need to continually feed good data into a well-built AI system, but in return, you’ll see growing returns every year as the system adapts and improves.
Powered by proprietary data, an in-house solution can launch your company ahead of the pack. That means differentiated data acquisition needs to become a priority, and R&D efforts need to be accelerated. And then the thumbprinted, private data collection you feed into your machine learning algorithms becomes a gold mine: your razor-sharp competitive edge.
But while you’ll end up with a system that aligns with all your goals, building an AI system from scratch requires some serious resources that you might not have at hand, or budget for. It takes a team of strong in-house talent, with a financial investment required not just to hire people, but to get your hands on the enormous amount of data you need. And a serious amount of time to go from design to development to deployment. In a world where AI has become do-or-die, most companies can’t afford to waste a moment.
The smartest way to begin leveraging the power of AI technology is selecting your third-party partners carefully: companies that have invested heavily in AI and machine learning and are bringing that innovation to the table when you incorporate their solutions into your own business processes, both back and front office.
From payroll and accounting to telemarketing, social media marketing, and customer support, third-party process outsourcers are increasingly leveling up as artificial intelligence becomes an increasingly powerful tool that’s transforming not only the way their platforms work, but how they’re able to join forces with their clients — that’s you — to offer solutions that bring all the force of AI innovation to bear on the business services you’re already paying for, ultimately translating into greater bottom-line performance.
Partner with an AI-powered customer support company like industry giant IBM or a startup like DigitalGenius, and you’re boosting efficiency, lowering costs, and ramping up customer satisfaction by funneling lower-level customer interactions to the bot to get handled fast and easy, and freeing up the higher-level employees to focus on the big questions.
Partner with a third-party payments provider like Worldpay, which has masses of data on payments from consumers all over the world, and you’ve gained access to the kind of machine learning that boosts the success of recurring transactions or fraud identification, leading to more successful transactions from legitimate customers.
In the end, the most important choice you have isn’t whether you build or buy — though that’s important. It’s who you work with, what they can bring to the table, and how you can use those capabilities to take your company to the next level.
Worldpay is one of the world’s leading payment providers. Driven by technology, their products and services are used by over 1.2 million customers globally in 146 countries, enabling businesses large and small to take payments online, in-store, via telephone and on the move. Visit worldpay.com to learn more.
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