Artificial Intelligence - Coming to an Application Near You

Artificial Intelligence is often perceived as a far-reaching, futuristic solution, fusing robots, and advanced software into self-replicating automations. However, the Hollywood-derived vision is far from reality. Today, even without realizing it, many interact with Artificial Intelligence on a daily basis. Artificial Intelligence is a growing part of the business landscape, with chatbots and initial support channels being performed using Artificial Intelligence technologies.  

So just what is Artificial Intelligence? Artificial Intelligence is the process of applying advanced algorithms to understand human intelligence and reasoning. These advanced algorithms enable computers to augment the planning, learning, problem solving, and cognitive decision-making capabilities of the human business team. As business teams are looking to increase efficiency, a surge in AI development across industries has taken place. This surge is filling the gap to enable business teams to focus on high value activities such as technological advancements in processing power and growing ability to maintain and process data. AI and Machine learning capabilities have reached unprecedented levels, enabling faster and more accurate data processing speeds than teams have previously experienced.

Machine Learning, a specific subset of AI, is differentiated from other AI technologies by the ability to “self-teach”. Machine Learning technology is effectively able to reprogram and reanalyze inputs as more data is ingested. This is enabled through advanced algorithmic operations, and result in increasingly more accurate output over time. With the capability to learn, recognize patterns, and accurately respond to changing conditions, more businesses are turning to AI and Machine Learning to perform repetitive human tasks. These technologies are providing insights with greater accuracy and speed to ultimately empower companies with better decision-making capabilities.

This is particularly important in the office of Finance and Accounting, where precision and accurate insights are often major factors in the success of an organization. These business functions are also under tremendous pressure to decrease the time to completion for many tasks. As AI is beginning to make its way into the business landscape, it is enabling today’s business teams to finally “do more, with less”. As a result, AI is effectively equipping high performing teams with the capability and visibility to focus time in the most important areas. The top areas where AI can be effective include:

  • Visibility & Detection – AI can sift through data points at a much higher rate of speed than even the most experienced data scientists. These data points can be used in reports and key inputs to process and enable a new level of reporting and ultimately, more informed decision-making capabilities.
  • Data Collection & Correlation – AI also extrapolates the capabilities of data collection, correlation, and updates. With the velocity required in today’s economy, it is not enough to know the details about customers. Being competitive in business requires a wholistic view of the customer, aggregating all available data from the order management solution, as well as today’s social media platforms.
  • Task Management & Processing – Many of the chat functions that are part of customer service websites are often enabled by way of AI. These use-cases are similarly applied industry-wide to more efficiently answer and route questions, provide guidance and mitigate processing inefficiencies.

So, with all these capabilities, the question remains, “just how do we best deploy Artificial Intelligence?” AI is ideal for processing highly repetitive tasks, whereby the algorithmic solution learns to associate tasks with corresponding outputs of a large dataset, based upon keywords, identification of outlying conditions and anomalies.

So, how does AI benefit business teams?

Best practices for deploying AI capabilities provide business teams with the ability to sift through high volumes of data, detecting and alerting the business teams of the outlying condition in an effective and appropriate amount of time. The business team can proactively respond to and address potential concerns. This is particularly important and relevant in the following scenarios:

  1. Business & Audit Compliance – Within the business process risk & controls matrix of many organizations, the business teams are often responsible for periodically reviewing documents. Business teams are often making their best efforts to perform these reviews in a timely manner, but throughout the course of a year, there will inevitably be a few that are overlooked. When deployed effectively, the AI tools can proactively identify anomalies, and enable the business teams to efficiently resolve preemptive concerns.
  2. Increased Sample Sizes – When deployed by internal and/or external audit teams, they are then able to review the full sample set rather than the previous limited random selection of values. Thus, audit teams are no longer restricted by time constraints to select a small sample testing set. AI empowers audit teams to evaluate the complete data set and proactively respond in order to mitigate risk and ensure greater reliability in financial statements.
  3. Increased Availability – Chatbots and AI toolsets provide business teams with answers to questions and increase the breadth of product knowledge based on the growing number of questions and correct response rates. Chatbots also decrease the amount of time business teams spend asking questions to find out the root of any issues or questions customers my have. They can even completely solve issues without human intervention.

The use of AI will certainly increase with the concurrent successes of use-cases today. The business community has always been creative in applying technology to resolve complex business problems. As organizations discover new applications for AI, teams will be both challenged and enabled to reach higher levels of product optimization, customer retention and profitability.

Special thanks to our partners at ThinkRisk.AI for collaborating and sharing key insights to the post

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