Global spending on Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to hit $35.8 billion this year, according to IDC. AI-fueled automation has the potential to greatly accelerate operational efficiency and enhance end user services. However, the degree to which these kinds of goals are achieved is very much dependent on the type of AI solution utilized by an enterprise.

Modern AI systems boast advanced functionality that outshines those from just a few years ago. These features are often ready to go out-of-the-box and offer a healthy competitive advantage over other solutions. In this blog post, we’ll detail some of the advanced AI features which directly contribute to business success and greater ROI (a trend that we’ve identified as AI2ROI).

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Cognitive AI

Executing high-volume tasks with machine efficiency inevitably leads to positive business outcomes. The automation of repetitive physical tasks (e.g., assembly line robots) has a centuries-long history, while the automation of routine transactional tasks by computers (e.g., banking customers checking their account balances via an ATM or app) has been happening for decades. However, rapid advancements in AI are now allowing the automation of cognitive processes, including related tasks that encompass decision-making, learning and conversational engagements.

Cognitive functionality enables new forms of automation which allows companies to reinvest funds previously allocated to human roles and functions. Case in point: Telefónica automated customer service at their Peruvian call centers using the digital colleague Amelia, and she now handles 4.5 million calls per month, more than 19% of which require no human intermediation. Previously, Telefónica utilized a basic IVR system; Amelia provides all the same automation advantages and then some, and also delivers it through a human-like conversational engagement for interactive user sessions.

Intelligent Automation

Intelligent automation is what happens when automation platforms use cognitive AI to automate tasks related to the creation of new automations. The RPA platform 1RPA, for example, uses cognitive AI to read and understand any unstructured text it encounters (web pages, emails, apps, etc.). Similarly, the autonomic IT management platform 1Desk is able to observe how human resolve issues and translate these observations into new workflows that can be added to the platform’s skills base. By automating many complex (but repeatable) automation-creation tasks, these systems are able to ramp up their automation production cycle and reduce engineering overhead.

Enhanced Customer Experience

The customer benefits of automation take many forms which can contribute to a brand’s Net Promoter Score: faster resolutions, additional bandwidth for employees to address unique customer needs and enhanced user experiences. On this latter point, cognitive AI can be used to deliver 24/7 queue-free access to information and on-demand services. Brands that provide these enhancements will find both operational savings and happier customers.

A great example is what happened when Allstate hired Amelia as a “whisper agent” to assist on customer service calls, and very quickly created lowered average call duration and increases in one-call resolutions. Similarly, the Nordic bank SEB hired Amelia to address the needs of an average of 300 customers per day, 91% of whom have rated their experiences as “good” or “very good.” These are results that simple RPAs or IVA systems could never deliver.

Companies should look beyond simple one-task automations for more far-reaching business value across their organizations. When companies run into barriers to ROI, or when point automations fail to deliver value, advanced AI features can help them materially impact their business operations and customer services going forward.

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