Beyond the hype: growing your business with AI

14 October 2020

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While AI may have become a buzzword in many industries, few companies are currently seizing its full potential. iBanFirst Chief Data Officer Yann Stadnicki shares his views on why AI should be better harnessed and how the payments sector can lead by example.

 

According to a survey by the World Economic Forum on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the Financial Services industry, 77% of business leaders expect that AI will become an essential part of their business within the next two years.

However, a large proportion of businesses are still underutilising AI services. This is mainly due to industry ‘hype’ and a limited understanding of its potential.

 

Becoming an AI leader, not an AI laggard

It is unfair to assess the capabilities of artificial intelligence if a business does not fully embrace its extensive qualities. Businesses must become ‘AI Leaders’ not ‘AI Laggards’ if they are to truly maximise their business impact. An ‘AI Leader’ is a business that uses AI for both cost reduction and revenue generation. On the other hand, ‘AI Laggards’ include the large swathe of businesses that are jumping on the bandwagon, merely using AI for siloed projects that create little tangible business impact.

Contrary to popular belief, becoming an ‘AI Leader’ doesn’t need to be daunting. As a former Silicon Valley technologist and now Chief Data Officer at iBanFirst, I have witnessed first-hand how emerging technologies can transform business operations. Artificial intelligence equips the CFO with intelligent insights to drive international growth, leading to huge cost savings and a dramatic increase in profitability. Companies can also use AI to better forecast their cash flow and resourcing requirements, focusing their strategy on resilience and growth.

Meanwhile, it’s a win-win for customers. With AI, customers can get more out of their financial services and tap into insights to make smarter choices. For example, a major US bank created an AI-operated chatbot to help users with transactions and personalised financial advice, doubling their daily client engagement since its launch.

 
AI business benefits

Artificial intelligence enables all companies to compete, regardless of their size, on a level playing field while creating tangible business outcomes in the process. According to Accenture, by 2035, companies leveraging AI will be able to boost profitability by 38% and productivity by 40%.

While many companies have focused on customer-facing AI projects, like chatbots, there are significant benefits to be experienced when AI is implemented behind the scenes too. An AI-powered fraud detection firm has helped a Danish bank increase real fraud detection by 50% and reduce false positives by 60%

 
The golden opportunity

AI presents a golden opportunity for every company, in every stage of their growth, to drive business impact – especially for those that are making and receiving international payments on a daily basis. Whether that involves tracking payments, increasing transparency around the costs associated with international transfers, or achieving a better foreign currency exchange rate in real-time.

To tap into the potential of AI, I would urge you not to use it as a ‘clip-on’ solution for your company. Instead, embrace it as a central part of your business model. Lay the groundwork with the right technologies and build an AI capability that will drive your business forward. Meanwhile, educate your people on what it is, what it does, and how it will benefit your organisation in the long term. This is the best way to create a strategic advantage to maximise cost savings, boost profitability, and prepare for the AI revolution.

 

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