The Four Most Promising Applications of AI - Modern Distribution Management

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The Four Most Promising Applications of AI

Distributors are well positioned to leverage artificial intelligence.

Editor’s note: Hear more on this topic from Wu in his keynote session, “How AI Enables the Future of Business Intelligence,” at the MDM Analytics Summit 2018 on Wednesday, Sept. 19 in Denver.

The promise and excitement of artificial intelligence (AI) appears to be everywhere you look. Business leaders work tirelessly on strategies to implement it – and it’s no wonder that 72 percent of executives believe AI will be “the business advantage of the future.”

Distributors, in particular, are well positioned to leverage AI to automate certain tasks and initiate actions based on their existing models and past results. This will improve their business intelligence (BI) systems that they’ve been using for years to surface actionable insights more efficiently. Historically, these systems have been passive decision-support systems that merely aid humans by delivering information to help them make decisions, but ultimately require that humans make the call. Human intelligence has been more reliable than traditional business analytics, which don’t always offer an accurate picture.

But with the emergence of big data and impressive computational power, data scientists now have the ability to use much more sophisticated models. Developments in AI enable distributors to better automate systems and leverage actionable insights that improve business results.  

But not all AI is created equal. And with so many questions around the implementation of AI hidden behind the hype, how are business leaders supposed to know what the best applications are for their business?

AI is being used in a wide variety of ways by businesses across every sector. However, these are the four most prominent – and promising – applications of AI in business today:

1. Fully autonomous systems

Machines are learning to act and react on their own. This application is largely driven by the rise of self-driving cars, where the AI is constantly learning and ultimately enabling the machine to know how to react to all the potentially different environments and circumstances.

A similar application is relevant for distributors as well, particularly within fulfillment centers. For example, sensors within Internet of Things (IoT) devices can detect inventory levels and automatically place orders, automating the fulfillment process and enabling businesses to run more effectively. 

2. Human-computer interface

AI is changing how humans and businesses interact with machines. Think of computer assistants like Alexa, Siri and other chatbots. This form of perpetual AI mimics higher cognitive functions of humans and can be used in the form of “intelligent digital assistants” to help companies boost productivity.

3. Online personalization

AI can drive recommendation engines, helping companies like Amazon, Netflix and Spotify learn from users’ online behavior to deliver highly personalized suggestions. Companies can leverage this application of AI to deliver personalized recommendations over time, improving the customer experience. 

4. Automating business decisions

Organizations are using AI to improve their BI systems and gain a competitive advantage. The learning loops in this application of AI can give distributors data-driven insights than enable them to make better informed decisions and identify opportunities to grow revenue.

By better understanding the different applications of AI, business leaders can determine which is right for their business. Only with this foundation of knowledge can they begin reaping the benefits of this technology. 

Michael Wu, Ph.D. is the Chief AI Strategist for PROS, and is the keynote speaker at MDM’s upcoming Analytics Summit 2018, Sept. 18-20 in Denver. Register or click here more information


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