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3 Ways Generative AI Will Shape Your Business 

If Generative AI hasn’t transformed the way you run your business yet, get ready; it’s about to. OpenAI’s ChatGPT brought Gen AI to the wider consciousness in November 2022 and Microsoft’s rollout of Copilot to M365 in January 2024 integrates Gen AI seamlessly into the everyday Microsoft workflow.

Since ChatGPT’s launch, Gen AI has infiltrated almost every industry you can name. Finance, media, legal and IT are already experiencing massive changes as businesses discover how Gen AI can streamline workflows and boost productivity. Even industries where you might not expect to see AI make inroads, Generative AI is adding new capabilities that can be integrated into existing workflows (1).  

Amidst the Generative AI explosion, Microsoft have infused AI into all of their products under the Copilot brand, which promises to make these capabilities easily available to businesses.  With the recent release of Copilot and its availability to all Microsoft 365 customers, our clients have been asking us how they can prepare for Copilot. 

Copilot is Microsoft’s deep integration of Generative AI with their products, built on their partnership with OpenAI, and has shown impressive productivity and usability increases for their initial cohort of clients. Outside the Microsoft space, Generative AI is much more easily available to businesses and those not taking advantage may be left behind.  

In this article, we’ll examine three ways that Generative AI makes knowledge workers in service industries more productive. 

1 – Improved Customer Experience 

Today’s customers demand personalised experiences from the brands they buy from. Generative AI makes it easier for businesses to personalise their customer experiences at scale.  

Gen AI uses advanced algorithms to generate content. However, the magic happens when you combine this function with the ability to analyse large amounts of data about an individual’s behaviours and preferences. Here, we’re in the world of Predictive AI (2). The AI identifies patterns, correlations and trends in the data, which it can use to generate hyper-personalised content designed to enhance the user experience. 

Let’s look in more detail at the types of content the Gen AI produces and its benefits. 

1.1 – Personalised Interactions 

Chatbots have been around for a while, but incorporating Generative AI into chatbot creation is a game-changer. Large Language models like the ChatGPT model used by Copilot are excellent at generating responses that answer the user’s question and read like they’re written by a human (3). But unlike humans, they work 24/7/365 and don’t need breaks.  

Generative AI can be used in combination with other AI approaches such as classification and predictive AI.  When you add Predictive AI, you can analyse large amounts of customer data and preferences to provide tailored product recommendations. This combination can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

1.2 – Enhanced Customer Service 

Businesses can use Generative AI solutions like Copilot Studio or Azure OpenAI and Cognitive Services to automate customer interactions and improve customer service. Customers can now get an identical (or even better) experience from dealing with a chatbot or virtual assistant than they would with a human customer service agent. 

The main difference is that with a chatbot, the customer doesn’t have to navigate frustrating phone menus or wait on hold. Organisations can now deliver faster response times and improved support service at a fraction of the cost of employing more customer service agents. 

1.3 – Enhanced User Interfaces  

Generative AI can easily generate initial layouts for applications based on a short description of the functionality of the application, which can be a valuable starting point for creating prototypes and getting both professional and citizen development projects off to a rapid start. 

Gen AI also gives more businesses more confidence in making their interfaces more conversational. They can display chatbots and text boxes more prominently, actively encouraging the user to engage rather than call a phone number, for example (5).  

2 – Streamlined Operations and Efficiency with Automation

Gartner (6) identifies the key contribution of Generative AI to business value as being ‘new and disruptive opportunities to increase revenue, reduce costs, improve productivity and better manage risk.’  

It does this by enhancing business workflows, automating repetitive manual tasks, and boosting efficiency. In the future, the companies that best harness Gen AI could have a significant advantage over their competitors.  

Let’s look at three examples of Gen AI in action in business. 

2.1 Process Automation 

If you have tasks in your business that are the same every time, it’s possible to create a Gen AI-powered solution to automate it, by using AI powered process mapping tools such as Power Automate Process Mining, freeing up your human resources for more strategic and high-value activities that drive growth and innovation. 

If these tasks are text-based, such as writing emails, summarising documents or writing code, it’s likely Generative AI could already save you time (7). For example, GitHub Copilot is an AI-powered application for developers that suggests code completions as they type and makes coding suggestions from natural language prompts (8). 

2.2 – Analytics 

Generative AI (combined with Predictive AI) is capable of processing large data sets quickly, with a level of accuracy previously unheard of. It can make the role of analysts and business leaders more effective by allowing them to interrogate their data to a high level of detail – using natural language – delivering insights with context. This helps businesses become more data-driven, making better decisions and allocating resources more efficiently. 

For example, a fashion business could ask your Gen AI solution, ‘What are my top 5 selling skirts in Q3?’ and ‘How do skirts sales compare to Q3 last year?’ and get an instant answer. With these insights, you can equip your teams with the information they need to focus resources in the right areas. 

2.3 – Creative Content Generation 

Generating content is the primary function of Gen AI solutions like ChatGPT, at least currently. It automatically generates unique and engaging content much faster than a human could ever do it. And while right now it lacks the flourish of human writers, it’s improving all the time. For most functions, such as product descriptions, job descriptions and internal communications, it’s more than adequate. 

ChatGPT excels at creating summaries and building outlines. Tell it a bit about your organisation and ask it to create an outline for a marketing plan, for example. It will come up with a framework in seconds that you can customise and build out to make it relevant to your business. 

3 – Enhanced Product Development, Problem Solving and Innovation 

Generative AI is significantly impacting product development and innovation, helping businesses generate new ideas, solve problems and optimise design. 

Product design has always been time-consuming, complex and expensive. It requires endless concepts and prototypes, with multiple product iterations before you get to the final agreed design.  

Generative AI is beginning to change this, notably in fields such as creative and coding. While Generative AI cannot create designs specific to your exact needs and requirements, it can be an effective way to generate ideas, get to a prototype stage, and product something generic that you can iterated on to get to a polished, company-specific result. 

Now, let’s look at three ways that Gen AI enhances innovation. 

3.1 – Streamlining Idea Generation 

Gen AI excels at the ideation stage of the product design process. Getting started on a brand-new design is hard, but Generative AI can give you a starting point to get you from concept to finished product faster.  

A simple natural language prompt like, ‘Give me three potential strategies for tech dev’ gives you alternative starting points to develop concepts that you can evaluate against each other by simulating potential outcomes.  

3.2 – Optimising Product Design 

Generative AI can be utilised to create and refine product designs, enabling businesses to bring innovative and customised products to life more efficiently.  

After the initial design stage, Gen AI can help designers discover ways to improve that they might not otherwise have thought about. They can use natural language to interrogate the results and look for anomalies (which would use other machine learning techniques to identify). 

3.3 – Data in, data out 

AI is most effective for your business when it’s got your secret sauce included – your data. When you bring your data into the mix, the possibilities for tailored customer interactions, using analytics to produce better business decisions and improve customer outcomes are endless. 

However, the old saying ‘garbage in, garbage out’ is just as relevant in AI as in anything else. Your data must be organised to make it accessible to the AI algorithms. It must be: 

  • Labelled – categorise your data to make it easier for the algorithms to access and use 
  • High quality – your data must be accurate enough to train your AI solutions 
  • Sufficient in size – the more high-quality data you feed your AI, the more precise the results will be 

Bringing your own data makes the outcomes more accurate and reduces the likelihood of hallucinations. The flip side is that you need to understand how and why your data is being used by the vendors. (Microsoft’s story on this is particularly strong with a commitment to responsible AI and not using your data to train new models.) 

We should also talk about cybersecurity at this point. Cyber-attackers are now using Generative AI as a way to breach organisations’ cyber defences. Examples include using Gen AI to ‘deep fake’ your staff members in order to get sensitive information. Ensure your cybersecurity strategy is robust enough to deal with this new frontier of cybercrime. Talk to your MSP or managed security services provider to find out more. 

Conclusion 

We’ve seen how Generative AI can transform your business across the board, from customer experience to streamlined operations to product design and beyond. Gen AI can boost employee productivity and enhance innovation. It can take repetitive tasks out of your people’s hands so they can focus on what they actually do best.  

Microsoft’s Copilot is the most accessible way to start with Generative AI, and embracing it is a great first step. 

The greater opportunity is in using AI to transform your organisation.  By creating an adoption strategy, to build the right Gen AI tools and processes, you can reap all these rewards and more.  

How prepared are you to take advantage of Gen AI? For example, preparing your data for AI access can avoid ‘garbage in, garbage out’. 

At Doherty, we’re experts at helping businesses be best placed to leverage Generative AI, and as a Tier 1 Microsoft Partner, we’re at the forefront of developments around Microsoft Copilot.  

To find out more, visit our Microsoft partners page

Sources: 

1 – Forbes – Which Jobs Will AI Replace? These 4 Industries Will Be Heavily Impacted 

2 – HBR – Generative AI Will Change Your Business. Here’s How to Adapt 

3 – Forbes – 20 Effective Ways Small Businesses Can Leverage Generative AI 

4 – Microsoft – Use Copilot to solve customer issues 

5 – Prompt Engineering – How AI is Transforming User Interfaces – The Conversation 

6 – Gartner – Gartner Experts Answer the Top Generative AI Questions for Your Enterprise 

7 – BCG – Generative AI 

8 – GitHub Copilot 

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