New technologies and innovations are constantly changing how the business world operates. Due to the rapid rate of innovation, anyone running a company today would be wise to learn what about these new systems and innovations and how they will affect the private sector at large — before companies and individuals are forced to play catchup.
Indeed, it’s definitely hard to keep tabs on everything tech-related. But those who cannot will soon be left behind as others yield the major productivity and efficiency gains that these technologies can offer.
The following is a rundown of just a few of the leading innovations that are beginning to truly revolutionize how the business world operates.
1. Robotic Process Automation
When most people think about automation, they picture human-like android robots serving as a butler or giant machine arms putting together automobiles. But in the corporate world — away from Hollywood blockbusters — a simpler type of automation is proliferating and adding significant efficiency to a host of simple tasks.
Referred to as robotic process automation, this relatively mundane innovation is really just smart software that can be installed onto computers and act much like a human user. Through simple programming, RPA solutions can thrive quickly and flawlessly when completing highly repeatable tasks, especially those that require going back and forth between systems or programs.
For example, transferring information from Microsoft Excel files into a proprietary database can be done quickly by these bots — and 24/7 without a single mistake or bathroom break. In the process, companies are either able to hire fewer employees or, better still, place people in new roles after they had been previously toiling away in data entry or other mind-numbing work.
2. Customer Intelligence
They say knowledge is power and, in the modern private sector, this has been termed “business intelligence.” While the reach of the underlying Big Data is vast and wide, customer intelligence has leaped to the forefront as one of the best applications to drive sales, customer loyalty and strategic decision-making.
By learning more about customers, companies are able to target them better than ever before. This is being done through social media, interaction history analysis and increasingly through the AI capabilities of customer service cloud call centers.
And through smart response technology, including chatbots that can field customer questions and predictive capabilities that can anticipate common customer concerns, these cloud-based contact centers are helping companies both increase customer satisfaction scores and compile treasure troves of data that, in turn, lead to better brand experiences in the future.
3. Machine Learning
In addition to rapid RPA adoption — and the AI movement powering customer experience improvement — companies are also using machine learning and other cognitive technologies in myriad ways. Among the most useful and advanced is fraud detection. Such innovations are capable of scanning millions — even billions — of financial transactions to understand common patterns.
PayPal is just one company that has put this to use in order to help flag and even block transactions that seem illicit. It can also streamline the resolution process and help refund money to clients more quickly if someone fraudulently drains their account, as investigators can lean on the technology’s accuracy to make assumptions about the nature of the transaction.
The strides it has made so far are significant to operations, and the FinTech disruptor is still looking for ways to improve machine learning capabilities.
Fourth Industrial Revolution
The fourth industrial revolution, as economists call today’s collection of technological advances, is upon us. Beyond just the networks, websites and smartphones that gave rise to the modern age, the technologies coming online now are truly revolutionary. They will change the way society works and interacts in such a profound way that most have still not wrapped their head around it.
Of course, this is just the beginning. The practical applications of automation, Big Data, business intelligence, artificial intelligence and machine learning are just now starting to affect change. But even the use cases we have seen so far illustrate just how much further things have to advance.
It’s a brave new world out there, and all companies should be looking for ways these innovations can help their business grow.