You’ve heard the buzzwords online and in the office: automation, AI, data, and analytics. But what’s happening in the context of business? Automation is changing the way customers experience a business. However, AI is also drastically changing the way we operate our businesses. From the inside out, owners and employees across industries will be affected by AI.
Did you ever wonder if the visions of the future portrayed by The Jetsons or Terminator would come to pass? Take a closer look at the state of technology today. We have self-piloted cars that are 40 percent less likely to crash than human-driven vehicles. As well as robots that can correctly identify human emotions based on facial expressions.
Even more surprising is the concept of holding self-learning robots responsible for damages caused by autonomous decisions. The European Union has been considering it, which would give a robot nearly the legal status of a person!
However, beyond these manifestations of Hollywood film, there are significant ramifications for the business landscape. Automation is becoming an essential aspect of doing business. There are cost-saving and revenue increasing applications industry-wide.
So, how is your business adapting and evolving in the age of smart automation?
Automation for Small Business
Many small business owners incorrectly believe automation is out of reach, reserved for enterprises with large budgets. On the contrary, there is a vast amount of off-the-shelf software and tools that can benefit any business.
A few basic ways you might use these are:
- Logging transactions (primarily electronic like PayPal) as income for tax records.
- Utilizing GPS to log mileage on a company car or business trip.
- Automatic reminders for to-do lists.
- Recommending products to customers based on their preferences.
This is barely the tip of the iceberg of automation for small business owners. If you need to increase productivity in any area, from marketing and sales to project management, there are specific tools that automate tasks.
It’s often easier for a small business to implement new technology and automation compared with a large enterprise. Bigger companies must navigate layers of bureaucracy before implementing anything new and improved.
What Automation Means for Different Types of Businesses
AI and automation are overhauling the business landscape; let’s explore some examples from different industries.
You’ve most likely heard about automation in manufacturing. Between the widespread concern over the loss of jobs and the fascinating robotic arms, there’s a lot to discuss.
Most decent-sized manufacturers are now using or considering it, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Which brings coalescence and efficiency to the many different project management needs of manufacturers.
However, AI and automation have gone much further since the ERP platforms. AI now gets its robotic hands dirty on the shop floor, eliminating many machinists’ routine tasks.
People still manage the robotic arms and automation software. The vast majority of commerce is still human-to-human. Ambitious machinists can find promotion to positions like a project manager.
From the large enterprise to the small business, one of the first implications of automation is improved customer experience. Along with that comes improved employee experience, as people will complete tasks more efficiently and with less hassle.
Online businesses have ample opportunities to automate the majority of their processes. It’s prevalent for merchandisers to automate their processes with drop-shipping fulfillment services completely.
Big and small businesses are utilizing chatbots to a great extent. Chatbots are an example of AI that can give customer support; pre-qualify leads for sales, and much more.
The agriculture industry is implementing automation slowly but surely. From self-driving tractors to drone crop monitors, farmer’s manual tasks are outsourcing to robotics.
Internet of Things (IoT) devices can now measure the soil for its moisture content and other properties. Subsequently, the robotic devices can automatically water, fertilize, and spray vegetable crops as needed.
A fully automated farm is already a reality in Ohio, certainly the first of many to come.
Many people are benefitting from IoT devices with their insurance carriers without really considering the technology behind it. Insurers can keep track of the policy holder’s driving habits and even walking or jogging habits.
Is Society Ready for Human Machines?
A new field dubbed “biotech” has developed with help from the likes of entrepreneur Elon Musk. His startup, Neuralink, aims to repair severe brain injuries form stokes, cancer, and more.
Imagine plugging yourself into a computer and “uploading” new skills. Sound far fetched? It already exists in the ability of a person’s brain to operate a prosthetic limb.
The Big Picture of Big Data and Analytics
It has become critical for businesses small and large to consider the data they are producing every day (whether they realize it or not). By analyzing a business’ data, it empowers a company to turn essential pieces of information and standardize it.
Analytics and data research can reveal valuable insights into what a business’ customers truly want and expect. By combining analytics with AI, it’s easy to predict the purchasing habits and behaviors of customers.
No matter what your line of business, you are already producing some data. The key to success will be whether or not you start utilizing it to your advantage. Don’t hold yourself back; leverage your business with automation in 2019.
IMAGE: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain