Artificial Intelligence and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)

This is an era of cognitive computing and artificial intelligence – a system of machines that work and react like humans and perform different tasks like problem-solving, decision making, learning, and planning. The emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digital automation has led to the death of traditional Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). Companies and startups always looking forward to ways to increase their efficiency and optimize costs. BPO services provide a lot of advantages like increase the production of the products and lower the cost of companies allowing them to expand their business. However, with the evolution of artificial intelligence, BPOs can be made even better by the utilization of machine automation methods.


The Rise of the Machines

Artificial Intelligence helps you analyze rich data volumes and make better decisions. Traditional BPO only focus on how to increase operational efficiency and lower the cost of business. It does not create an experience the digitized automated companies produce for their customers by using cloud, analytics, and algorithms. In order to thrive in the next generations, BPO needs to develop and make use of machine learning methods and algorithm tools.

According to McKinsey & Company, Artificial Intelligence can automate as much as 45 percent or more of any particular task giving employees an opportunity to focus on higher level work and core responsibilities. In many ways, AI proves to be a natural partner of business process management solutions. Let’s take an example of AI already in use. AI-driven natural language processing enables to interact and analyze applications easier and speeds up many of the individual tasks just by understanding the words spoken and the context of the application. For example,  AI-powered natural language processing can allow doctors to speak clinical notes and medical precautions into a device, which then automatically assembles into appropriate forms, lab orders, and prescriptions. In another case, it also helps to dictate text from medical and clinical journals by identifying keywords and phrases. 


Japanese Insurance firm replaces workers with IBM’s AI

Today, a number of companies are implementing artificial intelligence techniques like computer vision and machine learning to make their business grow better. For instance, a Japanese insurance company has replaced around 34 employees with an artificial intelligence system which calculates payouts. The AI system depends on IBM’s Watson Explorer which possesses “cognitive technology that can think like a human”, helping it to “analyse and interpret all of your data, including unstructured text, images, audio and video”. The technology helps to read thousands of medical reports, surgical procedures, and medical histories before analyzing and calculating payouts.


Unilever uses Artificial Intelligence to hire employees

Let’s take another example of a multinational consumer goods company – Unilever that has been hiring employees using artificial intelligence ways and it’s all a success story. Unilever is one of the biggest consumer goods brand known for producing Lipton, Dove, Axe, and many more items. It has around 170,000 employees all around the world. Last year when it came to hiring entry-level employees, the company did not rely on sending a representative to various universities, gathering resumes and arranging phone calls to manage interviews of the selected candidates. It would be a time taking and tiring process. Instead, the company decided to play neuroscience-based games that measure the inherited traits of the candidates and then arranged their interviews, recorded and analysed by AI.

In order to do so, the Dutch-British company partnered with digital HR companies like HireVue and Pymetrics to automate the first step of the recruiting process. When candidates successfully go through AI screening step, they are asked to play different neuroscience-based games on the Pymetrics platform. The results are interpreted then and if their traits match the required profile, they would appear in an interview via HireVue, where they are asked further questions.

The technology analyzes different parameters to know about the traits of the candidates and interprets results for the hiring manager. All of this can be completed on a computer. If the candidate successfully passes these two steps, they are invited to a Unilever office for a one-to-one interview. At the end, the hiring manager decides if the candidate is suitable for the job or not. 


Retail Companies need both Human Agents & AI

Similarly, retail companies also need Artificial Intelligence services in order to grow better and improve their efficiency. Let’s see why companies should use AI automation and customer service agents in their call centre departments:

•    AI such as speech recognition method can provide call centre agents important background information about different customers during calls to make interactions more personalized and effective.

•    AI can respond to customers requests and solve multiple tasks at once instead of hiring more agents.

However, human agents cannot be completely eliminated from the equation because there are many customer issues that cannot be fixed using AI and need to be resolved with empathy and human interaction. It is better if human call centre agents are integrated with Artificial Intelligence to improve scalability and reduce cost. In such cases, AI can be used to monitor exchanges via social media, and other online channels and can route the most important inquiries to human call centre agents.

Process automation and computer vision are increasingly being used by many other industries like Health, Finance, and Technology to analyze policies and claims, decision making, planning, detect fraud, and for marketing. Although in its early stage of development, it has demonstrably improved efficiency and minimizing the risk of human error, expanding businesses ideas with optimized cost.

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