If machine learning is one of those technologies that you keep hearing about, but don’t quite know exactly what it is, you aren’t alone. Most people only know that it has something to do with A.I. Some of the most successful businesses in the world are using machine learning, and its artificially intelligent capabilities to improve their offering or effectiveness. Today, we will begin to explain what exactly machine learning is and how it is beginning to work for businesses just like yours.
If you come away with anything from this article it should be that machine learning is just a small part of what A.I. is. Essentially, machine learning is just that, it is a method of getting a computer to analyze huge amounts of data by having them, for lack of a better term, learn. Basically, the computer will automatically analyze data sets different ways and find the most effective or efficient answer to the problem presented to it. The significance is businesses today take in an immense amount of data and being able to properly analyze all of it is nearly impossible for companies to afford without the use of powerful automation software.
Machine learning takes automation a step further by utilizing the speed and reliability of the computer to do the heavy lifting. This system has allowed for expansions to business analysis, from business intelligence to predictive analysis. With more knowledge available, people can do a better job, promoting exceptional profitability.
Machine Learning for Small Businesses
Up until now most of the companies using this strategy have been enterprises and larger businesses. Think Google’s search engine or Amazon’s ability to give you solid product recommendations. This is due to the cost associated with the development of A.I. and machine learning constructs. Today, however, developers are beginning to use this technology in new and interesting ways; and, best yet, making it commercially available for use by smaller businesses for the first time.
One consideration a small business’ IT administrator has to make when making the decision to move to a strategy that includes machine learning is where it fits for the organization. Other questions persist as well. They include:
- What is the capital and operational investment of deploying this technology?
- How it will have to be utilized to provide a competitive advantage?
- What systems can be improved through the use of machine learning?
- How much time do you have until you would be at a competitive disadvantage if you didn’t invest in the technology?
If any risk assessment doesn’t deter you, utilizing the technology can accomplish some very specific and powerful tasks.
What are the Benefits of Machine Learning?
Constructs that make use of machine learning carry with them very specific benefits. Some of them include:
- Forecasting business – Predictive analysis will provide you with a reasonable roadmap of how situations will unfold, based on analyzed data.
- Customer service – Chatbot technology automates customer service with solutions to the many queries made by current and prospective customers.
- E-commerce – Helping customers find what they are looking for, and suggesting the right products and services makes the sales process faster.
- Reputation management – By analyzing internal and external data sources to monitor brand popularity, a company can manage both positive and negative sentiment.
These are only four of the many processes that can really help improve your business. As the technology improves, more A.I. and machine learning applications will be used to manage, maintain, and streamline a lot of your business’ slow-moving manual processes.
Rise of the Machines?
While this technology seems advanced (it is), there’s no threat of sentience. Meaning there is nobody is going to take the technology as it stands now and make a computer that will take over the human civilization. In fact, if that is ever a point of contention about moving to a machine learning platform, you should put it out of your mind.
That said, a machine learning construct is definitely more difficult to manage because not only does it require that you properly warehouse your organization’s data, it also requires you to trust that the findings are accurate, even if they produce unpredictable results. This is exacerbated if your data warehouse isn’t properly set up and portions of your empirical data is neglected.
Many small business owners have begun to utilize machine learning, but with the general infancy of the technology, it’s not a surprise that many others are taking a wait and see approach. If you are interested in learning more about how this emerging technology can be used to make your business better, contact the professionals at Excedeo today at 619.398.4100.
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