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Decision Points Issue 3

Decision Points Issue 3
A Communication of ABM Systems. A Decision Inc. Company

Leveraging Artificial Intelligence to augment Business Processes

Earlier this year at the Microsoft Ignite Roadshow, it was easy to see that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Cloud Services attracted the most interest with delegates queuing by the hundreds to get a seat at these sessions.

Seeing this eroded any remaining doubts I had about the adoption of AI. Huge investments have been made in the area of AI and how it can improve both business processes and customer experience. Many organisations, worldwide, have been integrating AI with great results.

When I speak to people who haven’t yet adopted AI, they typically ask me two questions;
1. “How do I use AI?”, and
2. What skills do I need?

Here is good news… leveraging AI is not complicated and you don’t need a team of mathematicians and data scientists to do it.

Getting back to basics, AI doesn’t need to replace people. The age of the Terminator or the rise of the machines is still a long way off. Instead of looking at AI in terms of a single bot replacing an entire call centre with voice recognition and intelligent conversational capabilities, look at AI as a tool that can do the small, mundane (annoying or repetitive) tasks that drain the life out of people.

To better understand AI, below are some examples where it can be applied:

  • Vision: Identify the content of images.
  • Speech: Speech translation, converting speech to text and text to speech.
  • Language: Understand a sentiment of text, translate text.
  • Knowledge: Build Question and Answer databases and leverage “chat” functionality.
  • Search: Search content (images, data or text) to get autocomplete suggestions.

This list is not comprehensive; however, these examples may give you ideas of how AI can be effectively used.

Tech giants like Microsoft have prepackaged many of these AI functionalities for you. These endpoints are available through Azure and only require you to subscribe through your Azure tenant. No math, no data science and not a single line of code.

With the amazing power of AI at our disposal, how do we start using it to improve service delivery to customers and employees? Most modern process automation tools can call web services. Some may even have native drag-and-drop components to call Microsoft services. Without getting too technical, you can incorporate AI into business processes with drag-and-drop development.

Some of the technologies I like are Azure Logic Apps, Microsoft Flow and Nintex Workflow Cloud. These technologies allow you to consume data from a variety of source systems, manipulate the information and consume cloud services passing information back to the source system or onto a new system.

Let’s look at some use cases where we can translate text or understand the sentiment of a social media post.

HR – Understanding overall sentiment towards the company (Text)

Most companies endeavour to understand how their staff feel about their company. This is usually done by asking a series of 1-5 rated questions, however, the real value can be found in the comments.

So, how do we take advantage of these comments? By utilising an embedded form within an intranet portal, employees can anonymously post a comment about the company. The comment is then routed to a Text AI Service created in Azure to interpret the sentiment. This can then be passed to HR (Comment and Score) to get a continuous feed of company sentiment.

If you are confident in your company, you could even publish the score in real time and show the entire company how much your people enjoy their working environment.

Safety – Identify unsafe conditions

Vision AI compares an image with a series of qualified “test” data. This means it compares the image submitted to a selection of images previously uploaded and tagged with specific content. How this can help safety is quite interesting.

Standard PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is required to work on any site where manual labour is conducted. You can upload a series of examples of what is considered acceptable work wear to teach the AI brain what is adequate attire when coming on site.

As people walk in or are identified as being inappropriately dressed, the inspector will take a photo and the AI brain will identify whether or not to allow the employee on to the site. The closer to 100%, the “safer” the worker is dressed. Any worker not dressed to standard (i.e. under a pre-defined % threshold) can start a disciplinary workflow and a record created on the employee’s profile. AI can even be used to identify staff members using facial recognition.

When it comes to AI, don’t think of AI in terms of replacing people within the business. Instead, look to AI to simplify time-consuming monotonous tasks and replace them with efficient automated processes. By introducing AI, one small function at a time, you can quickly start to make substantial strides throughout your company’s value chain.

Speak to an ABM Systems Digital Specialist and find out how you can start leveraging AI to Augment Business Processes.

Hein Taljaard, Head of Digital,
ABM Systems

Qlik Sense November 2018 Patch 3 is now available

On 28th February, Qlik released Qlik Sense November 2018 Patch 3. This release addresses a number of performance issues and we recommend that you apply this latest patch at your earliest convenience.

Issue 20 March 2019

Cecilia Timm

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