Before Artificial Intelligence Comes Automation Intelligence

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is getting way ahead of itself. It’s all the rage in the tech space. Venture capital is being thrown at anything that claims to have it. Startups are using it as a buzzword that they have to cram into their business idea just to sound like they are on the cutting edge of technology. They say AI is going to take over the world and that it will change the world at a pace faster than anything we’ve ever seen.
Recently, I saw an article about an online retailer that claimed to use AI to make people purchase more often because they could intelligently recommend products to the user. This sounds great, but is it really AI that powers such a system? In digging deeper, this “artificially intelligent digital commerce platform” was really just a survey presented to the user, which then generated suggested products that the shopper might like. They asked the customer what they liked and then offered them those products.  That’s smart business, but it’s not artificial intelligence.
Today’s version of AI is mostly a buzzword for setting up systems that are simply more educated about user preferences and then doing things that a worker manually set up as responses on the backend system. It’s more like understanding a predefined scenario presented to the user and simply responding to their inputs. If the user says they like to wear black t-shirts and blue jeans, then remember to present them with those options whenever they shop.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m starting to drink the kool-aid of what could be possible with true AI systems, but it will take time. I realize that the amount of data being generated by systems today is ridiculous. If you are able to combine this data in constructive ways, there are algorithms that could and are being generated that can learn over time and create recommendations for products and services, create reminders and caution you about things you should be aware of. For example, AI might be able to tell you that you’ll probably be running low on milk soon, based on the fact that you have five teenage children, it’s the end of the week and the last time you bought it was six days ago.
There are boundless opportunities here, but there is one thing that must happen before AI can take off and become truly intelligent. With all the data that companies generate, either for themselves or about their customers, it must be integrated before it can become powerful. If your customers’ purchase histories are stored in an e-commerce system, all their contact info is in a customer relationship management system (CRM), your purchase orders are in an enterprise resource planning system (ERP), and none of these things are integrated together, then no amount of intelligence can help.
Whether you are a small or large business, you should consider using an integration platform that will connect all your data together. An integration platform can connect social, e-commerce, marketing, ERP, CRM and other data together in ways that simply automate your business, saving you time and resources. There are hundreds of extremely popular applications that are logical places to start connecting application data and hundreds of other apps that small or medium-sized businesses (SMBs) use that may also have the ability to be integrated. Not only is an integration platform smart for productivity, it will also build the data connectivity that AI requires in order to be truly intelligent.
Integrating application data eliminates errors and gives you more time to work on your business and not in your business. It also saves time and makes same day shipping possible. Moreover, it gives companies the ability to use customer data in intelligent ways to notify e-mail marketing systems, give e-mail updates to the customer so they can see the progress of their shipment, handle refunds automatically and receive payments faster.
This is data automation at its best. Other integration platforms like Dell Boomi, Mulesoft and others have also created platforms that integrate application data together, thus powering the future of artificial intelligence.
Intelligent automation of a business is a prerequisite for AI. If you are thinking about jump-starting your artificial intelligence efforts, it is best to start by building your automation intelligence.
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