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Artificial intelligence might be the way of the future — or increasingly, the present — but in order to successfully reap the benefits, executives need to ensure that purposeful steps are taken before and during the launch of the software. SAP’s report, “Making the Most of Machine Learning: Five Lessons From Fast Learners,” reveals the key components of deploying and maximizing machine learning.

“Machine learning is creating results for businesses — both on their income statement and with their customers,” said Mike Flannagan, senior vice president of SAP Leonardo and Analytics. “Executives need to view machine learning not as a quick fix but as an integral part of a larger strategy to give their business a competitive edge. This requires looking past the initial investment and focusing on the potential for long-term business value.”

To collect the insights, SAP surveyed 360 senior executives located in the Asia-Pacific, Latin America, North America and Europe between September and October last year. Half of the participants represented companies with $500 million or more in annual revenue. The survey aimed to review the opportunities, value and implications for companies considering machine learning.

Coined as “fast learners” in the study, companies that were early adopters — and leaders — in optimizing the software’s potential mainly all had c-level executives make AI strategies a priority. What’s more, being open to change and creatively rethinking current employee responsibilities led to success. “Seventy-five percent of fast learners plan to retrain employees displaced by machine learning to perform more interesting and higher-value tasks that keep them within their organization,” the report said.

The survey also confirmed that successful executives use AI to discover new business models and strategies. “Thirty-one percent say machine learning has already resulted in business model or business process innovation,” the report said. They’re also using platforms to build fresh revenue channels — and safeguard against inaccuracies or redundancies.

The report also confirmed that siloed departments only contribute to challenges. By deploying the platform across departments, they also are connecting product development and customer satisfaction teams. “Forty-one percent say machine learning is translating into higher customer satisfaction,” the report said.

As consumers increase their demands and diversify preferences, deploying platforms that inform their ongoing brand interaction will not only strengthen their loyalty, it will provide key insights to develop accurate and lucrative business strategies.

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