Automation seems to be the word du jour in recent years, and for good reason. Consider that automation processes don’t need to be revolutionary, but rather small, incremental ways of automating repetitive functions in the workplace can really add up over time in terms of cost savings and productivity gains.

That’s where business automation processes really shine and why you should be using them. Once the domain of large corporations that could afford the relatively new AI technologies, software platforms are abundant these days, meaning that anyone from the lonely solopreneur to the budding medium-sized companies all stand to benefit. Below are five business automation processes you really should be using.

1. A Quality AI Service Desk Automation Platform

The typical service desk needs to be manned, which means labour hours, opening and closing times (people need to sleep and eat!), as well as the limitation of being a one-on-one conversation. Servicely provides an inclusive AI service desk automation platform that excels in all of the above areas and more, boasting productivity boosts of up to 40 per cent. Not bad!

2. Machine Learning Solutions

Machines can reliably execute repetitive physical tasks over and over, but they’re getting pretty darned good at cognitive-skill intensive tasks too. Google’s best machine learning solutions were able to solve CAPTCHAs with 99.8% reliability compared to a mere 33% from humans. Machine learning on its own, however, doesn’t do anything. It requires a robust and sufficiently large base of existing data in order to ‘know what it’s looking for’.

3. Natural Language Processing

What good is an automated AI service desk solution if less than half the time, the software doesn’t understand natural human nuance in conversation? At best, you’re right at times, but at worst, your customers will only get frustrated working with this silly robot.

Enter Natural Language Processing. Advancements in AI now permit service desk software platforms such as Servicely to excellently understand nuanced language, or in other words, ‘natural human language’.

4. Cloud Infrastructure

We’re living in an age of the Internet of Things (IoT), whereby hosting the ever-growing quantities of data and business analytics locally just isn’t reasonable anymore. The cloud is already widely used for SaaS and PaaS providers for its incredible scalability, particularly useful for young and budding entrepreneurial activities where global reach and straightforward adoption over the internet are critical.

5. Prebuilt Algorithms and Code Segments

There’s a reason why the gig economy is full of Python, Ruby, and insert language here developers - simple, labour-saving code snippets and algorithms boost productivity by reducing or eliminating redundant tasks. Every business should be using some form of automation here, but what if algorithms and code were part of a bigger whole?

Sincerely’s AI service desk platform is a complete package, ready out of the box. Our solutions are truly intelligent in that they are backed by an intuitive self-learning AI that will only improve over time and use. This makes our service desk AI platform a robust tool for a myriad of applications and less reliant on constant patching and updating due to obsolescence.

Experience the best of what business automation has to offer with Servicely AI, machine learning, and deep learning service desk AI platform has to offer for your business.

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It’s 2020: technology is rapidly advancing, and with the availability of better tech comes the expectation for all of us to keep up with the digital trends.

Businesses everywhere are going paperless, and that means everything can be processed with just a couple of clicks. Gone are the days when people have to go through dozens of physical shelves to find a file.

With all these advancements, customers and employees are getting more impatient with any service delays and it’s hard to find a valid excuse to keep sticking with older means.

With proven speed and efficiency, no one wants to work in a business, start one, or work with one where the systems and processes are outdated, slow, and dysfunctional.

Employee and customer loyalty aren’t what they were before either. Excluding brand giants like Apple and Nike, consumers and staff no longer stick with a brand for a lifetime.

Employees and customers prioritise their experience over the brand. And for your business to keep up with that, you need to start automating a lot of your processes.

But, a lot of businesses still tend to turn away from the idea because of their perception of Artificial Intelligence (AI). They think that AI is:

  • Difficult to implement

  • Not delivering a good user experience

  • Hard to understand the first time

  • Still much like the chatbots we all had a bad experience with at some point.

Understandable; we humans do have a tendency to avoid what’s seemingly more difficult, but it’s rather short-sighted to say no to efficient processes that are rapidly and continuously improving.

To help you see its benefits, here are five reasons why AI is an advantage and not a curse to your business.

The 5 ways AI helps small to medium businesses

1. Enables staff to resolve their issues quicker and more independently

Before the dawn of AI, IT staff were flooded with calls and requests from other employees to fix issues as simple as a password reset. IT staff handle a myriad of problems, so concerns like these are not exactly the best use of their time.

In the same manner, it can be frustrating for the employees themselves to need to contact IT every time they need simple tasks done for them. Sometimes, they even have to wait a day or two, as their IT specialist already has a lot on their plate.

Also, now that working from home is becoming the norm amidst the global pandemic, it’s high time that companies start implementing automated help desks so that employees can troubleshoot on their own.

Gartner, a research company, reported that by 2021, 80% of emerging technologies will have AI foundations.

So it’s best to implement AI in your business, as arguably, it’s the future of technology. Why wait any longer for something that you can adopt and learn right now?

Doing so saves a lot of time and money and helps employees solve their problems more independently. Ultimately, this will result in a workplace that’s a lot more efficient.

2. Automates repetitive tasks to free up IT staff

It is a common misconception that “AI” automatically means “robots”. After all, the media continues to feed us with this context of AI; it’s undoubtedly the most interesting aspect of it. There’s even a movie called ‘A.I. Artificial Intelligence’ featuring a humanlike robot who develops sentience throughout the film.

While it’s true that the robots we’re familiar with from the movies we watch and the fiction books we read are a product of AI, what people often overlook is the fact that AI comes in different forms: sometimes it’s robots, other times it’s a set of tools in business software programs.

What all these types of artificial intelligence have in common is that they implement a system that completes repetitive and replicable tasks independently. That means humans don’t need to control them.

Carrying on from our first point, issues that frequently come up are better simply automated than requested for help repeatedly from the IT department, whose staff are probably busy with debugging more complex technical issues or monitoring and improving your company’s databases.

AI can automate many back end processes into easy-to-follow guides that staff can execute without the hassle of seeking the help of others.

3. Connects knowledge at the right time to the person who needs it

Remember trawling through internal databases and not finding what you’re looking for? You’re sure you saw it in this one specific folder just a few days ago. Maybe it’s been moved or deleted, how would you know without shyly badgering your IT staff?

Chatbot help desk automation is one of the AI forms with… not the best reputation. It left a bad first impression to many, and sadly, that impression stuck with them through the years.

But we can’t emphasise this enough: technology is evolving and advancing, and so are those chatbots we all used to hate.

Nowadays, users can hardly tell if they’re talking to bots or people tasked to copy-paste spiels to solve others’ problems. With the use of this technology, your employees can quickly search for the answers they need without spending too much time on it.

And, these chatbots are available to serve you 24/7.

4. Reduces call handling time

Customers hate waiting.

A survey by Click Software on customer attitude revealed that 35% of customers stopped doing business with some of their favorite brands after a single instance where they had to wait too long for their customer service representative to get to their concerns.

To remedy these kinds of problems, customer service agents are provided with more training, and yet this doesn’t seem to be enough to significantly reduce call handling time.

With new capabilities to automate knowledge discovery, handling times will be drastically reduced, and customers can quickly get the answers they need.

The graph below shows that switching to AI for customer service needs results in a massive annual cost saving:

5. Improve data quality and call assignment

How many times have you called a call centre, only to be left on hold or bounced around different departments and specialists? Unfortunately, it seems par for the course for call centres. But while it’s common, does that mean we should settle for that kind of service?

Of course not.

There are always ways to improve flawed processes, routine as they are. Automating service centres can improve data quality and help direct a call to the person or department that can actually resolve your enquiry.

“By using a call centre AI software, you can look at 16 months worth of data to see what the most common call-in topics were and why customers are calling. This helps you to better prepare your agents for the calls that they are most likely to receive,” said Jafar Adibi, head of AI at Talkdesk, which is a provider of cloud-based software for call centres.

The bottom line is that implementing AI vastly improves employees and customers’ experience whenever they need help.

Your IT staff don’t have to use up a bulk of their time handling concerns that other employees can learn to handle themselves, and your customers won’t have to wait forever while being transferred from one agent to another just to get an answer to a query that AI can solve in seconds.

Overall, this will help your business become more efficient, and give a good name to your brand and customer service.

Interested in automating your Service Desk using advanced AI?

Let us show you how to do more with less.

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Towards the end of 2019, social media was inundated with motivational quotes and messages about how the following year would play out.

The general consensus was that the start of a new decade would be the best ever. It wasn’t uncommon to see posts such as “2020. Just believe good things are on their way” dominate newsfeeds.

How wrong they were.

Skip forward a few months, and out of nowhere we were hit with a global pandemic that’s devastated lives and livelihoods. Several months in and some countries still face a continued battle, while others slowly try to return to normal.

While I don’t want to downplay the impact of COVID-19 and acknowledge the road back won’t be easy, I choose to view our future post-pandemic as still more positive, than game over.

This situation might be different, but business has been here before and it’s a well known fact that innovative thinking in recessions can result in booming businesses. IBM, Disney, General Motors, Burger King and Microsoft (among others) all started in tough economical or social times.

Now as we come to terms with working remotely and the continual digitalisation of the workforce, the opportunity that presents itself to small to medium businesses is automation powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI).

What is AI technology?

AI technology is considered a computer science that helps to build smart machines (or digital solutions) that can perform tasks that typically require a physical worker to complete. AI technology needs to be seen as a system of workflow that allows work to get done more efficiently.

While the World Economic Forum does state AI technology will displace 75 million jobs worldwide, it suggests AI will also create more than 130 million new jobs in return within a few years.

The introduction of AI technology does not spell the end of employees, it simply means staff are enabled to work in a more concise and less labour intensive manner, no matter their role.

Whether we like it or not, AI is here to stay.

It was reported by Gartner, a research and advisory company, that the migration to AI is well and truly on. Two recent reports they published found that:

● 37% of organisations have implemented AI; and

● By the year 2021, 80% of emerging technologies will have AI foundations.

These figures alone prove that the way we conduct business is changing and, in order to keep pace, AI needs to be introduced by small to medium businesses sooner rather than later.

AI is not just for large corporations

It’s logical to assume that anything tech-related from an emerging industry comes with a hefty price tag. The reality is, however, Enterprise-level automation solutions can be introduced on a small business budget.

As a small business owner or employee in your role, think about the tasks and processes that fill your day with frustration. No doubt you can list several things that make your blood boil.

Fortunately, there’s a high chance the pain points and obstructions you face can now be automated and reduce the need for your direct involvement.

Here are some ways automation can be used by small to medium businesses:

IT service desk or for IT personnel: How many times a week are you asked to do a password reset for another staff member? You do it without the obvious annoyance because you’re a professional, but it happens too often and slows you down in completing the more important requirements of your role.

AI technology can deviate repetitive tasks away from IT service desk staff or personnel and allow employees to solve their issue via step-by-step automation.

Onboarding new employees: It’s always exciting to welcome a new member to the team, but it does come with some headaches, mainly around how to enable them to hit the ground running from day one. Generally new staff members need a computer, log-ins and to fill out information required by Human Resources (HR) at a bare minimum.

The onboarding process can be entirely automated and reduce the stress of both the new staff member and the small to medium business experience during this time.

HR training: HR team members are required to do a lot in their role.

  • Recruit and hire new staff

  • Organise payroll

  • Conduct audits and disciplinary actions

  • Oversee employee records

Going further, it’s within the HR remit to provide guidance to management and staff to ensure they remain as healthy and functional as possible.

HR can benefit from AI technology and become more digitised through the automation of training and remove one barrier HR personnel face, being everywhere all the time.

Remote work: The big lesson learnt, in a business capacity, from this pandemic is just how mobile and location independent a workforce now needs to be. While there’s been talk on this subject for a number of years, pushing it to the absolute limit never really happened until COVID-19 forced our hand.

Now staff members need to be able to work from home or an island paradise (when restrictions cease) when it suits them. This means less face-to-face communication and will rely heavily on the use of automation to ensure the requirements of their role can be carried out seamlessly.

Afterall, if devices like Google Home operate quickly, staff don’t want to be hampered by the slowness of technology as they try to work.

With a small business failure rate nearing 90%

it makes sense that any advantage a small to medium business gets, it should capitalise on.

In a business sense, the big takeaway from this pandemic is how much more efficient, responsive and user-friendly workforces need to be to ensure staff are happy and small to medium businesses remain viable in difficult circumstances.

AI technology is by no means a new phenomenon, but the way in which small to medium businesses can use it is. Gone are the days of AI technology being reserved for the big end of town who willfully splash cash on innovative measures to increase their competitive advantage.

AI technology has evolved so powerfully that Enterprise-level automation solutions can be implemented on a small business budget.

Small to medium businesses that introduce automation now stand a good chance of living up to the social media hype of late 2019. With several months to go, AI technology just might make 2020 ‘your best year yet’.

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