Why would an organization double down on artificial intelligence (AI) during turbulent times? The short answer: AI is becoming synonymous with time- and cost-saving efficiencies that define continuity in digital business.

But the question is valid. With elusive ROI and complex use cases that don’t always make it into production, it’s easy to put AI initiatives on the chopping block, not the focus list. Yet, many organizations are focusing on it—and the successful projects are proof that practical AI is well suited to address current challenges and opportunities for continuity in uncertain times.

Forget the hype cycle—the reality is that there are tons of practical AI use cases for surviving and thriving in challenging times. Many of these come from the successful management of vast quantities of unstructured data, which you’ll see is fuel behind many of the examples below.

Here are three ways you can lean into digital business with the help of AI.

To learn more about the use cases below and how IT infrastructures can be ready for them, watch the Pure//Accelerate® Digital on-demand session that inspired this blog post, AI Is Here: Is Your Data Center Ready?

1. Protect customer loyalty and improve engagement.

 In the last couple of years, almost every organization has had to rethink and reinforce its customer experience (CX) model. The need for digital-first customer experiences disrupted IT infrastructures, web experiences, sales, supply chains, and more. Those that rose to the occasion protected customer loyalty and drove more engagement, coming out stronger on the other side.

Here’s the first prime opportunity for AI. A smarter, AI-powered CX can draw customers closer and close gaps, even when volume spikes. You’re likely already refining and ramping up in this area, and AI can help with scale, accuracy, and depth in three ways:

  • Recommendation engines: Deliver more personalized experiences, serve up recommendations, and anticipate preferences.
  • Chatbots and interfaces: Be there to answer questions and provide support when you can’t with tailored customer support via chatbots and portals. This is natural language processing (NLP) at work, turning questions and search queries into data that systems can process and turn into helpful responses.
  • Analysis of behavioral data: When you can anticipate behavior and preferences, you’re poised to deliver better support. This isn’t an unfair advantage anymore; it’s table stakes for effective CX and something AI can do at scale.

“The most common mistake with AI is to focus on automation rather than augmentation of human decision-making and interactions. If CIOs focus only on further automation via AI, they miss the hidden opportunities for greater personalization and differentiation. AI can augment humans, as it can classify information and make predictions faster and at higher volumes than humans can accomplish on their own.” – The CIO’s Guide to AI

Learn more about tapping the value of unstructured data for recommendations and personalization.

2. Streamline operations and reduce costs everywhere possible.

Another critical business priority that became key to survival is not just cutting or pausing unnecessary projects but also finding ways to improve necessary ones. Change management and business intelligence definitely took center stage as we streamlined work and reduced costs. AI has the capability to assist with both, especially in terms of:

  • Forecasting accuracy: When you need to reduce inventory, anticipate demand, and reduce waste, AI can help you quickly and accurately discern where to do so.
  • Industrial inspection: AI has long been a candidate for more efficient, safe, and effective manufacturing and industrial processes. Combined with the power of unstructured data, AI can start to jump in where humans cannot.
  • Giving teams their time back: This is the automation application that has disrupted industries, workflows, and job descriptions, but most would argue that it’s for the better. When AI is applied to routine, repeatable tasks, individuals are less at risk for burnout and have more time to do high-value work.

Get steps to successfully launch practical AI projects for the most ROI. 

3. Distance yourself from the competition by positioning for the upturn.

 Great continuity strategies aren’t just about the here and now—they’re about what-ifs and tomorrows. Here’s where AI can be the future-proof foundation you need to be ready for what’s next. It’s also an argument for getting in on the ground floor.

We’ve already seen AI’s promise, especially in terms of:

  • Churn prediction: Machine learning models are commonly used for churn prediction. This can leverage customer data to make helpful, data-driven predictions and act accordingly, such as discontinuing a product or service, doubling down on inventory where demand appears to be increasing, or taking proactive measures to keep from losing a customer who appears to be leaving the fold.
  • Agility: Outmaneuver the competition with actionable insights that get you ahead while minimizing risk.
  • AI-enabled analytics: Finding that needle in the haystack is your competitive edge, and AI can do it quickly and efficiently.

Watch to learn more: Building for Tomorrow: Simplifying Infrastructure for Modern Analytics and Unstructured Data

Is Your IT Infrastructure AI-Ready?

Survival in tough times—and acceleration coming out of them—can benefit most from these three agenda items. And, as you’ve seen, AI can play an important role in each.

Ensure your IT infrastructure is up to the task and can support the data requirements needed to enable AI. Pure Storage® offers the industry’s leading unified fast file and object (UFFO) storage platform with FlashBlade®, and our AIRI® infrastructure solution was just named the “Best AI Solution for Big Data” in the 2021 Artificial Intelligence Breakthrough Awards”.¹ Explore AIRI or take a FlashBlade test drive today.

To learn more about how IT infrastructures can be ready for analysis of unstructured data, watch the Pure//Accelerate Digital on-demand session AI Is Here: Is Your Data Center Ready?