For some years there has been a great deal of hype about Artificial Intelligence (AI) being the next big thing to change the world we live in. But recent studies have revealed that fewer people understand and implement AI than we are led to believe by the media. So what is AI and what is the impact in the Outsourcing and Shared Service (OSS) industry?
Artificial Intelligence goes beyond robotic automation (see our previous blog I Robot) and includes everything from cognitive computing, to machine learning, computer vision, to deep learning and natural language processing. In fact, AI displays characteristics that mimics (but as yet cannot duplicate) human learning and behaviour. But in reality, AI is many different nascent technologies, and those industries and businesses which understand the elements that are relevant to them, and how best to adopt them as they mature, will drive the most competitive advantage.
For example, the use by outsourcers of chatbots or virtual support agents is growing strongly in many customer service centers. This has the potential to enhance the user experience, as well as deliver operational improvements such as 24/7 accessibility, high handling capacity, multiple language coverage and faster call turnaround times. Other applications for chatbots include IT helpdesks, HR recruitment and compliance checking. So maybe its not surprising that in a 2017 Forrester survey suggested two thirds of respondents believe that chatbots will outperform mobile apps within five years.
So although there is still a high potential for AI to deliver productivity gains, cost savings and service innovation in the OSS sector, there is some way to go before this still emerging technology has a transformative impact.