By Pete Schmitt, Chief Technology Officer
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a ubiquitous term since the launch of Open AI’s ChatGPT, but AI’s scope extends far beyond conversational chatbot agents. In this blog post, I’ll explore the depth of AI’s intelligence, its learning capabilities, and its ability to help accelerate reaching your business goals… all when it’s appropriately leveraged using your own data rather than broader external sources.
By the way, if you haven’t played with ChatGPT yet, you may be one of the few in the modern world. I would first ask, why not? Too busy? Fearful? Skeptical? Don’t care? In denial? Or maybe you’ve seen the Elon Musk interviews or other news about it pulling inaccurate data or concocting fictitious facts, and all of that only fueled your uncertainty and fear. Whatever it is, there’s no judgment here, but I will say this: it’s groundbreaking technology, and we’re living through a time in history that is like no other.
Well, in some sense, AI’s incredible capabilities have been documented, to a degree, I dare say ‘predicted,’ in sci-fi movies such as “2001: A Space Odyssey” (circa 1968, mind you!), “Total Recall” (1990), “Minority Report” (2002), and “The Matrix” (1999).
If you’re a technology geek like me, you could probably name ten more.
It’s here. It’s real. And it’s here to stay.
The question is, what are you doing about it now?
In a recent TechCrunch article, “ChatGPT Shrugged,” the reporter documents how she probed the tool with questions to determine where it would admit its fail points and eventually got to this:
“It is important to note that my responses are not guaranteed to be perfect or always correct, and there may be cases where my responses may not be relevant, coherent, or appropriate.”
Yes, there are many unknowns, and the news makes big headlines for instances where it has gone wrong. But what you’re not hearing much about is how AI is, and has been for quite some time, dramatically transforming businesses for the better, sometimes in small – and other times drastic – ways.
The Inner Workings of AI
AI possesses remarkable intelligence that goes beyond simple chat interactions to intelligence and learning realms that are often hard to fathom. Not only can AI comprehend vast amounts of data, recognize patterns, and derive valuable insights, but it can do it mind-blowingly fast, and its capabilities span natural language processing, computer vision, predictive analytics, and more. Meaning it can tackle even today’s most complex business challenges across any industry.
AI systems learn through a process known as machine learning. By feeding them data, models are trained to recognize patterns and make predictions or decisions. With each iteration, AI algorithms improve their performance, leading to enhanced accuracy and efficiency with each computation. This continuous learning process empowers AI to be highly adaptable to evolving business needs as well as to dynamic internal and external environments.
Be Mindful of What You Feed It
However, from a real-world business value, the question is: what are you feeding it? And how do we leverage it to our business advantage without putting our data, systems, or company’s future at risk? How do you give your CEO, management, and employees (and possibly shareholders) confidence that you’re using it responsibly to accelerate positive business outcomes?
Frankly, these are somewhat monumental questions, but in my honest opinion, they are easily answered when you strip away all the hype around ChatGPT and think beyond the news headlines.
By automating repetitive tasks, AI streamlines operations, reduces cost, and enhances productivity. AI-driven analytics enable data-driven decision-making using more complex datasets faster than ever. That leads to more informed growth strategies, outmaneuvering the competition more often, and maybe most importantly, vastly improved customer experiences. All of this leads to competitive advantage, improved customer retention and satisfaction, new potential revenue streams, and much more… but only if you embrace it.
Microsoft ‘Clippy,’ Meet Your AI Grandbaby, Copilot
Do you remember the Microsoft animated helper icon named “Clippy?” He was that cartoon paper clip that showed up in your applications as you began a task to guess what you were attempting and then offered tips along the way to help expedite your work. Yes, it was cheesy, but this was the early AI I’m referring to; we all just didn’t think of it as AI.
Now, as Microsoft works towards its AI vision for the future, they’ve launched Copilot, an AI tool seamlessly integrated into its suite of products and designed to enhance business processes, workflows, customer support, and its future product integration strategies. In essence, Copilot is designed specifically to analyze data from within your organization’s own applications and environment to provide valuable recommendations and insights.
Copilot is integrated into Microsoft Teams, Dynamics 365, Power Platform, Azure, and more. The integration allows organizations to leverage Copilot’s AI capabilities within their existing Microsoft ecosystem, enhancing productivity and efficiency across different business functions. Here are a few tangible ways Copilot is intended to help.
1. Business Process Optimization: Copilot can be configured to analyze and optimize business processes by identifying bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and areas for improvement. By analyzing data generated from various sources, Copilot can provide actionable insights to streamline operations, automate repetitive tasks, and improve overall productivity. This leads to cost savings, enhanced efficiency, and a more responsive and agile organization.
2. Workflow Enhancement: With Copilot’s AI-powered recommendations, organizations can enhance their workflows and collaboration processes. Copilot can suggest optimal workflow configurations, task assignments, and resource allocations by analyzing patterns and historical data. This helps teams work more effectively, improving coordination and accelerating project timelines.
3. Customer Support and Experience: Copilot’s AI capabilities can greatly benefit customer support operations. By analyzing customer interactions, support tickets, and historical data, Copilot can provide personalized recommendations to support agents in resolving customer issues quickly and efficiently. Copilot’s AI algorithms can also anticipate customer needs and provide proactive support, enhancing the overall customer experience and satisfaction.
4. Future Strategy Development: Copilot’s data analysis and predictive capabilities enable organizations to make informed decisions about future strategies. Copilot can provide valuable insights that drive strategic planning and business growth by analyzing market trends, customer behavior, and internal data. This allows organizations to identify new market opportunities, optimize product offerings, and develop customer-centric strategies.
Copilot utilizes large language models, the ‘DNA of AI,’ such as GPT-3, to provide contextual code suggestions and auto-completion based on the code being written. By understanding the semantics and syntax of programming languages, Copilot can generate code snippets, complete function calls, and even offer suggestions for entire blocks of code.
Microsoft Copilot’s integration of large language models significantly enhances developers’ productivity by reducing the time and effort required for routine coding tasks. It helps avoid common errors, promotes code consistency, and assists in exploring different coding solutions. With access to vast amounts of code repositories and developer forums, Copilot taps into the collective knowledge of the coding community to provide insightful suggestions and best practices. By leveraging the DNA of large language models, Microsoft Copilot revolutionizes the coding experience, enabling developers to write code more efficiently and effectively.
So Why Should You Really Care?
Real-world examples are everywhere, showcasing AI’s transformative impact on business operations. In some cases, companies have implemented AI-driven demand forecasting that enhances supply chain management, reduces inventory costs and waste, and reduces risk from operations.
In other cases, AI is transforming customer service by analyzing customer data and interactions to create personalized recommendations, offer proactive support, and predict customer needs. AI-driven marketing automation drives targeted campaigns by analyzing and predicting behaviors and identifying patterns that lead to higher conversion rates and increased revenue generation.
In the End…
AI’s potential extends well beyond chat interactions, providing businesses with a wealth of possibilities for growth and efficiency. Whether it’s Copilot or other AI tools, embracing AI-powered solutions allows you to unlock potential new efficiencies, productivity, innovation, and competitive advantage that could otherwise take years or decades to achieve.
Ready to find out how to leverage AI in your operations?
If we’ve piqued your interest enough, but you’re really not sure where to start, contact us at (800) 544-8877, and we’ll have a fun chat (pun intended).
“As the lead for MicroAge technology and engineering, Pete researches new and emerging technology to ensure that his team is at the forefront of technology trends and best practices so that they can deliver the best possible technological solutions for clients. He brings an extensive background in information technology, customer service, and professional services and is known for delivering second-to-none client experiences—a philosophy that is directly attributable to our long-standing success and reputation.”Pete SchmittChief Technology Officer