Back office or Front office – where to utilize AI?

This is an old blog post when Zefort was known as Oh, those were the days!

We all know that Artifial Intelligence and Machine Learning are the hot topics of 2017. It is evident that introduction of new technology (GPU chips), extremely scalable cloud computing and a growing number of AI algoritms has enabled huge steps forward in the field of AI in past three years. Many are talking about how AI will bring huge benefits to businesses and how it will change the way we work. But concrete examples of how an organization is utilizing AI today are hard to find.

Back office or front office?

According to Harvard Business Review, customer interface might not be the right place to start. They asked in an AI survey the participants to estimate their returns on AI in revenue and cost improvements. The outcome was that AI will have the biggest impact functions of IT and finance/accounting. According to the survey result, one should focus the AI initiatives in the back-office instead of the front office.

AI will have the biggest impact functions of IT and finance/accounting.

We at fully agree with these findings. AI has just started to make its way from a very niche technology towards main stream solutions and at this stage, the AI applications are very narrow. It is quite easy to find specific, limited and repetitive tasks in the back office. But when thinking about the front office and customer interface, tasks there are not that simple. We all know that the customer interface is one of the most important – if not the most important – interface the company has and one should not implement there something, which does not fulfill its task 100%. Especially the exceptions to the normal process flow.

As an example, just think about Apple’s Siri: it is great, when you want to call someone. That task it does very well. Simple and easy. But try something more complicated with Siri, like making a calendar entry… One would not like to have Siri as her company representative in such case.

AI will definitely hit the front office in future. But to start with, companies should pick first the low hanging fruits at the back office.

What to see a concrete back office example? Visit

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