Intelligent Automation & AI Can Improve Business Resilience

Inflated costs, debt and lack of consumer confidence have all hit UK businesses this year. Combined with increasing cyber threats and risks to data security, many companies have been left wary of making the wrong decisions. Hundreds of thousands of businesses fail each year for various reasons, and there are growing fears that 2024 could see a wave of collapses.

The number of firms on the brink of going bust jumped by more than a third at the end of last year according to insolvency firm Begbies Traynor.  So, how can companies improve their resilience in the face of so much uncertainty? 
 
AI -  from automation intelligence, artificial intelligence, assisted intelligence and automation integration – can help companies improve their resilience by identifying risks and opportunities, optimising supply chains, improving security, balancing efficiency and resilience, and enhancing decision-making processes. Here are some of the main ways AI combined can help deliver better business outcomes:  
 
Less Susceptibility To Security Breaches  

Cyber security is intertwined with operational resilience. It is essential for safeguarding data, preventing disruptions, and responding to cyber threats effectively. Many cyber security strategies fail because they don’t adapt as quickly as the evolving threat. AI can bolster an organisation’s cyber defence strategy by identifying and responding to threats in real-time.  
 
AI can undertake the enormous task of continuously monitoring the IT estate for vulnerabilities at the same time as adapting and improving security measures to plug any gaps. Not only does this create more resilient operations, but it also frees up resources within the security team, leaving them to focus on more strategic tasks. 

Improved Competitiveness   

The ability to rapidly adapt to market conditions and customer preferences will quickly set one business apart from another. Simply put, companies that don’t innovate will find themselves less competitive in their industry. Organisations should consistently be on the lookout to identify new trends and gaps in the market to build a strong foundation for growth.  
 
AI can be a powerful tool for helping a business analyse vast data streams and provide insights that may not be apparent through traditional methods. Collating data from customer interactions, sales patterns, market demand and competitors can identify patterns and correlations that, combined with human intelligence, can spot emerging opportunities. These insights will help businesses to launch new products and services quicker in the face of ever-demanding customers.   

Enhanced Customer Experience   

Customers want a personalised approach as it makes them feel valued and understood. To deliver this experience, you must know your customers well and provide efficient and responsive interactions to promote loyalty. 
 
Businesses that use AI algorithms can deliver a more personal approach. They will have a deeper understanding of their customer’s behaviour and preferences based on their previous purchase history and browser habits. By analysing and applying this data to deliver personalised product recommendations and services you can make sure that any content that you suggest is relevant to each customer.  
 
AI is also already successfully revolutionising customer contact centres with 24/7 chatbots and improving response times. AI can also predict what areas of support customers likely need help with so that the business can address issues before they escalate. Brand loyalty and reputation are vital for future business resilience, so getting this right is critical.   

Revolutionised Workplace Efficiency  

AI-driven automation can filter through all levels of business operations, empowering organisations to make better-informed decisions, reduce errors and operate more efficiently. For example, AI can automate the routine and manual tasks of adding joiners and removing leavers or sending out invoices, freeing up time to be used more strategically. It can also optimise workflows and processes to improve productivity and reduce lead times. Time spent searching for documents can also be reduced as AI can automatically classify, organise and retrieve documents.  
 
AI can inform cybersecurity decision-making and flag trends in customer issues that affect specific business processes.

But it can also improve many other areas of decision-making. Stock inventory can be improved with more accurate forecasting, predicting demand more effectively and maintaining optimal inventory levels. AI can also use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to scan customer reviews, social media content and news articles and summarise findings to aid decision-making. By leveraging machine learning algorithms, businesses can achieve higher accuracy, speed and productivity across operational areas.    

Failure To invest Will Cost More  

The decision to invest in AI should be strategic and based on the specific needs and goals of the business – for example, to remain competitive, an organisation may not need to invest in advanced deep learning. Instead, it should choose the functions to deliver the best returns once intelligent automation or assisted intelligence and AI are applied. That said, companies that negate AI may find it challenging to remain competitive, efficient and adaptable in a rapidly evolving business landscape.  
 
AI, in its broadest sense, serves to evolve business processes, empower organisations to handle increasing volumes of data and attend to complex tasks with ease. Over time, companies that don’t invest may experience diminishing returns and increased vulnerability to disruptive forces, as well as being outperformed by their competitors.

When combined with human intelligence, AI can improve business resilience, deliver better outcomes, and help maintain your reputational health.    

 Scott Dodds is CEO of Ultima   

Image: Igor Omilaev

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