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AI in Business Intelligence: Can It Replace Management?

Andrew Kurilo
Andrew Kurilo

Is your job safe? Can artificial intelligence replace all managers and make decisions for you? Let's look at the impact of AI in business intelligence.

Artificial intelligence is already all around us. From the suggestions you receive on Google and automatic order processing to the emergence of self-driving cars, it has already become a part of our lives. It’s only natural for it to transform industries, and disrupt the established status quo. One such area is business intelligence. 47% of companies are already actively using it. Let's take a closer look at the impact AI has in that area.

What is AI exactly?

For the longest time, artificial intelligence had a certain reputation as a technology that will replace all human labor or humanity as a whole, depending on how apocalyptic you want to be. As it developed, however, people started not only better understanding what it is, but also started regularly using it in their day-to-day lives. Just to clear up any possible misconceptions, let’s look at what AI is and what AI is not.

Broadly speaking, artificial intelligence is the practice of machines being able to perform tasks that require some degree of intelligence to perform. More specifically, it allows computers to demonstrate behaviors such as problem-solving, learning, perception and others with the help of predetermined algorithms. 

AI is neither replication nor a replacement for human intelligence. It’s high time we leave this misconception behind. It cannot solve the problems that you haven’t identified yet, but It does work very well within strict parameters you set up for it. In other words, while it can’t perform miracles it is still an incredibly valuable tool to have in your business arsenal.

Artificial intelligence has an impact on management in various different industries. It is more noticeable in the fields that require a lot of regulations. Among them are healthcare, financial services, trading, and many others – the reason for that being the acceleration of the various compliance checks.

Of course, to reap the benefit of artificial intelligence your business has to be at least somewhat digitized. AI can help with back-office jobs, but it can’t cook restaurant-quality meals, for example. As we’ve mentioned, it cannot fully replace people but is able to assist them with their workflow and make them more efficient. Let’s look at one of the interesting examples of AI helping people: decision making.

Can AI really make smarter decisions?

Let’s look at an example. HR processes despite having “human” in the name can also be transformed into an automated AI operation. One of the core tasks of an HR department is hiring new employees. Decisions of this caliber may seriously affect the business of a company of any size. To minimize the risks, artificial intelligence can analyze all of the potential candidates and present you with the most optimal choice. It can be based on their skills, need for a certain specialist in your organization, and even biographical facts. AI eliminates any bias a recruiter may or may not have.

So will AI replace all recruiters? Not in the near future. While it certainly makes their job easier, the machine cannot yet tell whether or not a person will be a good fit. The company culture and interpersonal relationships are also huge factors in the hiring process. While AI is able to scrape for “managerial experience” it can’t differentiate between a supportive and a tyrannical leader.

The same principle works when applying AI to other business areas as well. One of the most substantial impacts is on the analysis of Big Data. Such huge amounts of data are impossible to process as accurately and effectively by hand. Often the work that can be done in minutes by AI may take months of human labor. As long as the information is objective, the results you receive have an extremely low margin of error. But that’s just descriptive analysis. Behavioral and historical patterns provide you with even more useful insights. That’s the most beneficial aspect of AI in business intelligence systems.

Proactive analysis of BI

Business intelligence (BI) is a type of enterprise software and strategies that are used for data analytics. It is often used for data mining, reports, process management, predictive analytics, benchmarking, and much more. BI acts as a central hub that can be accessed and used in order to get an in-depth insight into your business operations.

BI can offer three types of data analytics:

  • Descriptive

  • Predictive

  • Prescriptive 

Descriptive analytics gather, aggregate and display the data. Predictive provide possible forecasts of future events based on probability. And last but by no means least, prescriptive intelligently analyze trends, show several different detailed trajectories and give advice on the best course of action.

So how is AI transforming BI? As useful as dashboards are they are just not enough anymore. The information they display should always be relevant and updated in real-time while also remaining digestible and avoiding data overload.

The common phrase you often hear about the use of AI in business intelligence systems is the “shift from reactive to proactive analysis”. As much as it is a cliche in the area, it’s still relevant. Processing vast amounts of complex data is an arduous task. The nature of the analysis has also transformed from a descriptive to a prescriptive one. In other words, they don’t just contain reports that you have to sift through to find valuable information. What they provide is a course of action that is forecast to yield the maximum profit or benefits for the company.

It is another form of decision-making aide. Smart business intelligence systems can illustrate to you a course of action you should take, which direction to pick in your strategy and keep the profits high while minimizing the expenses.

Hyper-personalization and hyper-automation

In this article, we mentioned that search engine suggestions also use artificial intelligence. That’s just one way it can be used for personalization purposes. AI brings unique solutions for each individual user and adapts the experience accordingly to make it as efficient as possible. 

Just like AI is able to predict the course of business, it can also analyze the behavior of people and try to predict it. This has emerged in the form of momentary markets that offer customers the right offer to the right people at the right time. In terms of business intelligence, it takes the form of optimization. This includes promotions, targeted offers, maximizing conversion, and much more.

The same amplification is also noticeable with the automation trend. If you integrate AI into robotic process automation (RPA), it can eliminate most limitations. For example, by adding natural language processing into a chatbot. It allows the bot to understand the speech patterns and respond to them appropriately. You don’t need to type out a command anymore. A simple mention of the word may be enough for a machine to understand the intent of your question. 

This logic also works on a bigger scale. Business process automation (BPA) and business process management (BPM) transform entire systems. When the whole corporation is on the same page it drives their business forward regardless of the approach they chose. The same works with artificial intelligence too. IT staff aren’t the only employees who should work with AI directly. The key question is determining what tasks take the most time out of the day. While company-wide adoption is not necessarily a prerequisite to the success of this technology, it is certainly a huge factor.

In conclusion

So, can it replace management? AI in business intelligence has the potential to replace the decision-making process, but it won’t replace decision makers themselves any time soon. Whether you’re a project manager who needs to organize tasks efficiently, an office manager who needs to log employee requests or chief manager who makes difficult decisions, this technology can help.

Prescriptive analytics remains the main feature that is impacting the most organizations at the moment. However, it’s not the full extent of it. It grows along with the technology and will become increasingly more useful in the years to come. Hyper-personalization and hyper-automation will only support this trend and bridge the gap between business intelligence and other areas of enterprise.

So, should you be worried? Well, it depends. Do you offer more than the simple automatable operations? If you feel like you don’t, take this opportunity to learn a new skill and develop both as a person and a professional. And if you know how your job can be effectively augmented by AI then the value you bring to your company will also increase.

Image Credit: Suwat Rujimethakul / Getty Images
Andrew Kurilo
Andrew Kurilo Member
CEO and co-founder of Digital Skynet, an outsourcing company that focuses on custom software development. A certified professional developer with a passion for business development and expertise in the field of business processes automation. I created a company that helps small and big businesses from all parts of the world.