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The transformative AI trends that will lead us into 2020

Olivier Pin, VP product management at DocuSign

Keeping across the latest technology can feel like a full-time job. The constant rate of change can be overwhelming, even for the most tech-savvy of businesses. One of the largest developments that many companies have been grappling over the last decade is that of artificial intelligence (AI). Gartner predicts that over the next two years alone, AI will generate business value worth $3.9 trillion.

Why is the opportunity so large? Big data and next generation analytics are becoming increasingly important in helping companies transition to new, agile ways of working. It’s now clear that AI is front and centre in this development, providing the tools that let businesses unlock the full potential of the big data revolution. In other words, AI is freeing data from the physical filing cabinet and making it available when and where it’s needed.

AI’s decade in review

The last 10 years has seen the industry talking about the potential of AI as businesses have begun to experiment with incorporating the technology into their day-to-day processes. Today, AI has reached a level of maturity where that potential is beginning to be realised.

In McKinsey’s recent global AI survey, 58% of respondents reported that their organisations have embedded at least one AI capability into a process or product in at least one function or business unit, up from 47% in 2018.

These statistics show that as we enter the next decade, AI is seen as a business norm that is proven to be firmly situated with many organisations. A current example of where AI has successfully been applied on a wide scale is language translation, radically simplifying and speeding up the process of mass translation, an invaluable tool for multi-national companies.

Looking to the future, the key driver for next-gen AI in 2020 is an increasing emphasis on speed. Any technology that helps companies accelerate is highly relevant and that’s where AI can continue to excel – through its ability to help companies move faster through eliminating and/or speeding up low value tasks.

Contracts –  a key part of day-to-day life in a company – are a perfect example of where artificial intelligence is still needed to shake up what can be an archaic process, in order to save time, money and resources for businesses. Imagine you are a lawyer, analysing an extensive contract. Artificial intelligence is able to power smart searches through volumes of document-based data in order to detect and verify the presence of certain clauses. As well as this, it can automatically detect and highlight differences that need to be investigated or interpreted into business impact for example. It can even propose corrections or clauses that have been accepted before that look similar.

Enabling a data-first culture

We live in a data-saturated world and data continues to rightly shape every facet of the organisation. It inspires ideas, solves problems and makes money for businesses. Gaining data insights and acting upon them has always been a critical factor in the development and growth of a business and going into 2020 AI will continually enable companies to do this at an unprecedented rate.

This is important because we have reached an era where not only speed, but also a pairing with accuracy in order to develop insights, is the primary currency. Businesses are all in a race. It’s no longer just about who’s got the best product, it’s about who can deliver it in an accurate and efficient fashion.

Despite scaremongering headlines arguing the opposite, AI will not replace humans entirely – instead it will free them from repetitive and mundane tasks, which will increasingly fall into the realm of smart automation and therefore release time for more creativity – key for businesses looking to stand out in 2020 and beyond.

Increasing expectations from customers

As well as data-first, businesses must ensure they are thinking customer-first. With customer and consumer demands at an all-time high, many individuals now not only want speedy and simple contact with their service providers, but they want to manage as much as possible themselves, more than ever before. Artificial intelligence and machine learning has allowed apps like Monzo and Starling, which have torn up the banking sector in the last five years, to give consumers a new lease of independence enabled by technology that is not set to wain anytime soon. Chatbots, for example, have enabled customers to have a better experience when it comes to customer support.

In order to maximise AI’s potential going forward and avoid stagnation, businesses should look for suppliers that not only have a proven track record of implementing the latest AI tools, but those that demonstrate a commitment to working with their customers to develop bespoke, flexible and scalable solutions capable of adapting as a business grows.

The intelligence may be artificial but the advantages it brings are real, tangible and proven to boost bottom line performance, to fully access them requires a side-by-side approach to implementation and a true partnership attitude.


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