Artificial intelligence (AI) application in business has companies big and small excited about the possibilities of this technology. But like all new technologies, it has to be applied properly and with clear strategies if businesses want to fully benefit from AI.

By 2025, Tractica forecasts annual worldwide AI software revenue will increase to $89.8 billion. And Gartner says AI technologies will be in most of the new software products by 2020, and it will create more jobs thanit gets rid of.

Artificial intelligence includes natural language processing, machine learning (ML) and cognitive computing. These processes have sub-processes which can be customized and personalized to address the specific needs of your business.

Here are six features to look out for in an AI solution. And although use cases may be different, having these features will allow you to use the technology to become smarter, solve problems, introduce new levels of efficiency, and go after new opportunities.

Machine Learning

Machine learning is in the news just as much as AI. This is because it is a subset of AI. But it requires good data to make it work. By establishing what you want to do, identifying what is available (data), and knowing the constraints, machine learning can start working on your problems.

With these processes in place, machine learning solutions can learn complex decision systems, find patterns and anomalies in data, raise alerts and much more.

Automation

Automation is one of the most touted features in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Being able to automate the manual processes in your company will save you time and money. The AI framework you put in place must be able to address different process automation tasks. To simplify the process, it has to be an easy to use visual modeling exercise without the need for additional skills or labor.

Invoicing, job applications, marketing and scheduling are some of the many tasks you will be able to automate.

Bot Design and Deployment

Bots are being used by businesses to interact with customers and make companies available 24/7. Chatbots as well as transactional, informational, and entertainment bots can be designed to provide valuable information and keep customers engaged.

Your AI solution should have an option for designing and deploying the bots for you. Conversational AI can be created for conversational commerce, return policies, company information and more.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU)

Key to fully optimizing your AI solution are natural language processing and natural  language understanding for full speech recognition and interaction. Your customers are going to be calling, talking and leaving messages. Being able to convert audio to text and using the data will deliver multiple benefits, including analysis and understanding of multiple languages and dialects.

The information can then be used to gain insight into customer sentiment, to launch personalized marketing campaigns, and to improve products and services.

Cloud Infrastructure

Cloud offers the scalability you need to grow as needed and access resources to deploy the most complex artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions. The interdependence of AI and cloud will be key to fully exploit the capability of both.

When you leverage platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) to create and launch your AI solutions, you will ensure near 100 percent resource availability at all times for business process automation and all other AI related tasks.

Price

Pricing for artificial intelligence and machine learning projects vary greatly, and no two projects are alike. Identifying the project definition and solution architecture is an undertaking in itself. But companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Google and IBM have solutions in place with pay-as-you-go pricing for managing some of the cost.

If the solution you choose delivers in its ROI, then it will be worth the price. But the benefit of AI is the technology keeps evolving and it will continue to deliver long after you have paid for it. The key is not only finding the right partner, but also developing a solution that will check all the boxes for your business.

Identifying the Need and the Technology to Solve it

As a small businesses owner, before you start investing in AI, it is critically important to identify the problem or problems you are trying to solve and the business opportunities you are trying to capitalize on. Once you have the answer to those problems, you can start looking for solutions and service providers to make it happen.

Another key point to remember is how the solution you select fits into your existing IT environment. Will it have a high learning curve? After all, if you are a small business and can’t afford another hire, it has to be easy enough to learn and be used by current staff. The goal of AI is to make your business processes smarter, and the smarter they are the more you will grow.

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