Firms that keep pace with machine learning will forge a brighter path to innovation and success, rather than playing catch-up later.
Picture a world where your machines have the ability to detect exactly who you are through facial recognition, pinpoint what your next purchases will be via product recommendations and your navigation systems pick-up traffic congestions in real-time. These are only a handful of the outcomes shaped by machine learning (ML). Below I’ll dive deeper into the impacts of ML and it’s tremendous potential to transform the enterprise.
What is Machine Learning?
Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience – much the same way humans do. There are many subsets of machine learning, such as deep learning which is a sophisticated (and complex!) way of analyzing massive amounts of data to help solve problems that were previously impossible to solve. There’s also natural language processing that enables software to understand and even detect the nuances of human speech. Clearly, machine learning is vast and powerful and has paved the way for remarkable inventions, such as self-driving cars, recommendation engines (like Netflix), speech recognition, enhanced web search, credit card fraud detection and much, much more.
Research from IDC forecasts that spending on AI and machine learning will grow from $12B in 2017 to $57.6B by 2021. Industry leaders, like Walmart, are even using machine learning to transform retail operations and customer experience. For example, they are optimizing the delivery routes of their home deliveries and using facial recognition technology to pin-point dissatisfied customers. Social media giant Facebook also leverages the powerful capabilities of machine learning for its News Feed feature, using statistical analysis and predictive analytics to personalize each member’s feed.
Why Machine Learning Matters
Machine learning helps you understand, unify, categorize and simplify your data. This is BIG for businesses who handle multiple data sets that are scattered across different sources.
Here’s the impact of machine learning on today’s business:
- Advanced algorithms can learn, identify and predict your business outcomes.
- Predictive analytics forecast the success of new product offerings based on specific customer profiles.
- Productivity, efficiency, processes, and workflows are improved using intelligent automation.
- A more personalized experience through learning from customer interactions with the organization.
But how do you get to reap these rewards? One solution to conquering your data is investing in data scientists and machine learning engineers (part analysts/part geniuses who use their analytical and technical abilities to extract insights from massive data sets).
Machine Learning in Action
While there are several benefits to machine learning, it also has its caveats, such as the time needed to truly understand its impact on your business and broader implications (hopefully this blog has enlightened you on some of those impacts!). But once you conquer your hesitations, I guarantee that the realm of possibilities for your business will be infinite.
As an example, we recently used the powerful capabilities of machine learning to search for potentially fraudulent expenses at a Fortune 100 firm. Suffice it to say, analyzing the large amounts of expense and supporting data was a big challenge. Using machine learning algorithms, however, our platform was able to evaluate EVERY expense claim (as opposed to the small, random samples previously selected). With the help of ML, we were able to flag over 1, 500 expense claims for closer evaluation, saving the company hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. More importantly, these new risk-detection algorithms allow all expense claims to be scanned and prioritized for human review based on actual risk factors.
We suggest discussing your objectives with an experienced data science professional and conduct a thorough data gap analysis to understand the state of your organization’s data infrastructure in order to set your expectations appropriately.
Machine learning is not magic, but with the right planning and hard work up front, it can certainly perform wonders!
Still don’t believe in the power of machine learning and how it can transform your business practices?
Get in touch with our expert analyst to change your mind.