Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are disrupting nearly every industry. Machine learning is particularly gaining momentum in the business world, with 49% of companies exploring or planning to use ML. As this technology continues to evolve, it will benefit small- and medium-sized businesses in a myriad of ways. Like any technology transformation, large organizations are investing in AI and ML research and implementation, but SMBs will be the ultimate beneficiaries of these powerful new ways of doing business.
What Is Machine Learning?
Machine learning is based on the simple concept of configuring algorithms to govern specific behaviors. For example, you might write an algorithm for a security camera to take a picture whenever an object comes within a 10-meter radius. Although algorithms can get incredibly complex, they ultimately boil down to “if X situation occurs, execute Y behavior.”
ML involves machines taking an algorithm (rules-based programming) and improving it and “learning” over time as it interacts with more data. With ML, you can feed a computer with several terabytes and petabytes of data to help it learn situations and write its own algorithms based on underlying human-driven programming to accomplish the desired result.
How Businesses Can Use Machine Learning for Impact
Technology developers found it extremely difficult to train computers from noisy and disorganized big data for several years. Again, there wasn’t enough computing power to support ML. Over the last 2-3 years, there have been great advancements in big data analytics and computing power, resulting in several business applications of AI and machine learning. Here are some ways you can leverage ML today to make an impact in your industry:
Customer service plays a vital role in the success of any business. It’s an essential ingredient for attracting and retaining customers, which translates to increased profits. Many companies are already using support-focused customer analytics tools powered by machine learning to provide more convenience for their customers.
Zendesk, for example, focuses on self-service to enhance customer experiences. Research indicates that 81% of customers prefer self-service over speaking to an agent. Thanks to advancements in ML, Zendesk customers can get support from virtual assistants, chatbots, and other AI-enhanced tools that simulate conversations with customer service agents and offer accurate and helpful answers.
Security and Fraud Detection
Over the last few years, the number of data breaches and hacks has upsurged. In 2016 alone, 3 billion Yahoo accounts were hacked, and Uber reported that cybercriminals stole the information of more than 57 million drivers and riders.
Machine learning has the power to analyze millions of files and uncover threats and automatically eliminate them before they wreak havoc. Cisco is one company that has managed to significantly improve its security posture and fraud detection by deploying ML and an analytics engine known as Cognitive Intelligence. The engine continually monitors the behavior of the network to identify anomalies and eliminate threats.
Machine learning provides vital data analytics that eCommerce companies can leverage to delve deeper into their data to identify and target high-value customers. For example, you can use ML to look at your total customer value and get early indicators that suggest a customer is a high lifetime value spender. You can also use machine learning to execute dynamic pricing and maximize profits.
ML is all about pattern recognition with continuous improvement. Therefore, it can help business professionals identify patterns to improve efficiency. For example, ML has been used to train computers to recognize specific products from web pictures, read medical scans, and tag the right face on Instagram.
Machine learning is slowly but surely revolutionizing the business world. From virtual assistants to personalized experiences, ML is making our lives easier and more entertaining. As a business leader, you should put these innovations at the core of all your strategic decisions to steer clear of your competition. It’s a great way to provide exceptional customer support, minimize risks, and remain relevant in this hyper-changing world.
Whether you run a nonprofit, government department, or enterprise business, you can leverage the power of AI and ML to make a major impact in your organization. Contact Webhead today, and we can help you create the right AI and machine learning solutions.