Artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics, individually, topped the digital agenda for companies in 2018 according to CIO magazine. The publication noted that the intersection of the two technologies will drive success for businesses. The combination helps businesses become more successful by giving them a new level of insight into their operations and customer relationships. At OpenText™, this is called AI-powered analytics.
Put simply, AI is about teaching computers to do what comes naturally to humans. We bank our experiences and use this knowledge–and the lessons we’ve learned–to help us reach decisions. But it will take us a lifetime to build our knowledge based on a limited amount of experiences – we can’t handle too much data.
Where we can instinctively see patterns in relatively small amounts of data, AI has the potential to examine almost any amount of data or variety of data quickly and efficiently to extrapolate meaning and predict outcomes. The more data it has available, the better it will learn. Through this, AI-powered analytics can uncover completely new insights that would have remained invisible to humans based on AI’s ability to learn for itself.
Today, every organization wants to reap the benefits of becoming an intelligent and connected enterprise. The challenge is the more connected an enterprise, the more information that it must handle – from both structured and unstructured data sources. It requires a solution that can quickly automate and analyze this massive amount of data to ensure its maximum value is realized. That’s why AI-powered analytics–sometimes called cognitive computing–has rapidly become a major focus for almost every organization and industry sector.
Aren’t AI and analytics the same thing?
While Artificial Intelligence and advanced analytics are closely related, they’re not exactly the same thing. In fact, there are many types of artificial intelligence. For AI-powered analytics, the most important type of AI is machine learning. Machine learning tools deliver the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. Within AI-powered analytics, machine learning algorithms are used to apply what has been learned from past data to new data to predict future outcomes.
This makes machine learning sound very much like predictive analytics, but there are differences. Predictive analytics is also about the analysis of historical data to predict future outcomes. As a discipline, it had been around a long time before machine learning. What the application of machine learning technology brings to predictive analytics is the ability to handle the amount, variety and speed of data that every organization faces today. In addition, unlike human beings, machine learning tools helps AI-powered analytics software to become more and more accurate the more source materials it has to learn from.
Predictive analytics is not the only type of analytics that is contained within an AI-powered analytics solution. It can be seen as part of the evolution in advanced analytics that began with business intelligence (BI). While BI is still sometimes seen as an umbrella term for all analytics, historically, it was used to describe an early form of descriptive analytics (dating back to the 1990s) that uses historical data to explain what had already happened. BI provides analytics and reporting dashboards to make it easy for people to interpret the results of data analysis, and this type of dashboard is also an important element of more advanced analytics that enable data-driven decision making.
Predictive analytics evolved from this to predict what will happen based on past events. This was followed by prescriptive analytics that provided recommendations for actions based on those predictions. The introduction of AI has allowed these more advanced analytics approaches to be used to harness the data within organizations and derive the maximum value from it.
AI-powered analytics platforms – such as OpenText™ Magellan™ – combines all these advanced analytics techniques with AI to give you the power to identify, capture, blend and analyze the mammoth amount of data available and present the results using comprehensive data visualization and dashboarding capabilities that make sense of the information to business managers and users.
Are AI-powered analytics and big data analytics the same thing?
It’s likely that you will have read about “big data analytics”–the application of predictive analytics to the vast amounts of structured and unstructured data from many different sources that an organization has to deal with today. As such, big data analytics can be thought of as a subset of AI-powered analytics. The key difference being the ability of AI-powered analytics to handle “Big Content”–the unstructured data that’s held in emails, documents, sales presentations, images and videos.
For example, OpenText Magellan uses a type of AI known as Natural Language Processing to synthesis and analyze information in written communication and speech. It allows this type of unstructured data to be analysed in a way that has previously not been possible. This is essential with estimates suggesting that over 80% of the data that an organization processes every day is unstructured. AI-powered analytics offers the most attractive solution to releasing the business value in this data. This is an important area so we will go into big data analytics in more detail in a future blog.
The best AI-powered analytics software. Changing how you work
Many BI analytics processes can benefit from AI. As humans and software work together more closely and more intuitively, the best AI-powered analytics software helps work processes become more fluid and adaptive.
For example, AI-powered analytics solutions can help drive superior customer experience. As the ability to gather and interpret more and more data about your customer’s behaviour increases–purchase preferences, in-store interactions, browsing activity, social media engagement–the software gains a greater understanding of customers through approaches such as correlating or cross-referencing their online and offline behaviors. In this way, you can provide many ways to personalize how your company interacts with customers and improve every customer engagement.
It’s clear: Businesses that learn to harness the power of the latest AI and machine learning tools and integrate them with advanced analytics capabilities sooner, rather than later, are set to gain early advantage, and those that don’t risk being left behind.
What are the benefits of AI-powered analytics?
The potential benefits of AI-powered analytics technology are huge – and more use cases are appearing all the time. One of the advantages of AI-powered analytics software is that it isn’t an either/or solution. You can start small and then expand your capabilities at a pace that is right for your business.
Benefits of the best AI-powered analytics software include:
- Increased efficiency – Software doesn’t make the same kind of mistakes–poor data entry, lack of attention, inconsistent application of rules– that people make, and machine learning can help to reduce the frequency and effects of human error both in low-grade, routine processes and in increasingly more sophisticated environments. Again, natural language processing is the AI tool that lets customers and other stakeholders interact with computers rather than people in a way that is increasingly natural for them. The best AI-powered analytics solutions–such as OpenText Magellan–allow data to be handled and analysed to drive improve decision-making.
- Lower operational costs – Apply machine learning algorithms and predictive modeling to make decisions based on changing circumstances, achieve cost savings, by optimising your business, your workforce or your products. You can use natural language processing to automate customer service applications to free your representatives.
- Revenue growth – AI technology can help increase revenue by identifying and maximising sales opportunities, as well as using advanced analytics to generate quality leads and grow your customer base. It can also help to augment internal skills by offering intelligent advice to sales staff, field agents and customer service representatives to support future growth. In fact, some experts suggest the best AI and analytics software can boost revenue growth by up to 25% a year.
- Improved customer service –The ability to use predictive modeling to react to different customer interactions in an intelligent way is increasingly transforming the ways that businesses deal with their customers, whether online journeys through websites or automated customer services. For example, you can model a customer’s ideal experience based on their previous behaviors and preferences.
Why choose OpenText for AI-powered analytics?
As one of the foremost names in enterprise information management (EIM), it should come as no surprise that OpenText is at the forefront of practical applications for AI and analytics today.
OpenText Magellan is an AI-powered analytics solution that harnesses the power of AI and adds automated analytics to deliver improvements based on the data and systems you already have. It pulls together both structured and unstructured data throughout your organization and analyzes it to identify patterns.
Magellan leverages machine learning algorithms to unlock the value of EIM data to help you understand and analyze customers, trading partners, employees, orders, invoices, cases, documents and other data. By harnessing the power of big data and big content, it delivers data visualization, task automation, business optimization and sophisticated dashboarding that enables enterprises to make smarter decisions with their data.
Editor’s note: This article is the first in a series of blog posts explaining the world of artificial intelligence and analytics, which we will publish through 2019. This series will include definitions of fundamental concepts such as AI and machine learning, as well as buying guides and explorations of how AI can contribute to industries such as retail and health care. If there’s a topic you’d like us to cover, or these articles inspire reactions, please feel free to contact us or leave a comment under the blog.