A conversation with Justin Foxwood, Solution Engineer at TBI Inc.
Justin Foxwood, Solution Engineer at TBI Inc., took time recently to answer questions about the benefits of AI and what companies need to consider when implementing this technology.
Q: Why is automation crucial for businesses to start implementing?
Foxwood: The benefits that automation brings to a business are substantial which is why adopting an automation strategy is crucial. With automation, time-consuming, manual tasks are no longer delegated to employees and instead are completed by automation technology. This increases performance and streamlines processes, creating a better experience for both employees and customers. Automation also can lead to increased efficiency and less room for error, saving money for companies while increasing productivity.
Q: What are some ways AI can help lead to automation?
Foxwood: Incorporating AI into automation strategies will expand the tasks that can be automated and completely diminish the need for humans to complete certain tasks. As AI systems learn and advance, the expansion rate of what AI can do for the business grows quickly. Tasks can become more efficient. For example, AI can improve customer service by learning from previous customer service calls and score the service, a task that previously had to be done by humans. As AI learning increases, so does automation and the amount of human touch that is necessary.
Q: What are the benefits of implementing AI?
Foxwood: The main benefit of AI is taking out the human part of tasks. This decreases the room for error and increases productivity as employees can focus on more complex tasks. AI is also beneficial because it can continuously learn and get better at tasks, further decreasing room for error. Taking the human touch off of tasks, it is faster and available 24/7, something that is especially beneficial for things like chatbots.
Q: What are some key considerations when companies are debating implementing AI into their automation strategy?
Foxwood: Firstly, taking the time to understand where the most overlap occurs with customer satisfaction and staff taxation. Meaning, is there a part of the business that most often sees dissatisfied customers due to long wait times? This is where AI can do the most good for both parties. Second, it is key to phase in AI automation thoughtfully, so customers are not left feeling overwhelmed by change and can adjust over time, as well as enabling data sets to be accumulated gradually for future AI rollouts; crawl, walk run. Third, starting with a hybrid model where live staff is still available on demand should the customer not feel comfortable with self-service automation. This can help combat the notion that certain support options are being taken away by AI and instead be thought of as an extra support avenue.
Q: Where should companies start when looking to incorporate AI?
Foxwood: Companies need to understand where they are headed, what they want to achieve, and then develop the roadmap to get there. This will allow them to see where automation and AI can help them improve processes. Then, they should look to bring in experts. Partnering with a technology services distributor will allow you to find and receive the best platforms and solutions for your company.
Q: What should companies consider when looking for an AI vendor?
Foxwood: With the number of options increasing daily, finding the right vendor can be very challenging. Enlisting the help of an agnostic third party is one great way to cut through the noise and identify the best in breed platforms. When evaluating a vendor though, it is critical to understand whether their platform has been purpose built for AI functionality, or if they’ve only enhanced a legacy solution with AI features; this is important to ensure scalability later. Another best practice is to understand the real-world application of the AI solution being evaluated as they all look good on paper. If available, requesting a Proof of Concept (POC) environment that allows a business to test drive a solution is very helpful. Lastly, establishing and documenting the vendor’s support structure for the AI life cycle is crucial. The rollout of an AI solution averages around three months, knowing how the chosen vendor will support the business at all stages of this process is incredibly valuable.