Deloitte: The top business use cases for AI in 6 consumer industries

While disparate, all focus on serving customers—and have a common set of current and future business issues, according to a new report from Deloitte AI Institute.

AI concept

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The biggest challenge implementing artificial intelligence is moving from concept to scale. A new report from Deloitte finds that in consumer-related businesses, the challenge is especially difficult because many have large legacy data and analytics platforms, and decentralized data and analytics operations.

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Another common obstacle is achieving alignment and integration across business units and among IT stakeholders. These consumer businesses include consumer products, retail, automotive, lodging, restaurants, travel and transportation. Yet, "consumer-related businesses are actively exploring ways to harness the power of AI, and many valuable use cases are emerging,'' according to the report, The AI Dossier.

However, AI adoption and maturity levels vary widely for reasons including scalability due to data quality and complexity, organizational constructs and talent scarcity, and lack of trust, the report noted.

For each industry, the report highlighted the most valuable, business-ready use cases for AI-related technologies and examined the key business issues and opportunities, how AI can help and the benefits that are likely to be achieved. The report also highlighted the top emerging AI use cases that are expected to have a major impact on the industry's future.

For example, in customer service, one of the largest segments of customer relationship management, it is now possible to personalize the customer experience across all channels, using machine learning, conversational AI and natural language processing through the customer journey and lifecycle, the report said.

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AI can help by automating customer interactions through the use of chatbots. It can also be used in tandem with Internet of Things devices to sense the sentiments and needs of connected customers and to personalize the customer experience, the report said.

Consumer demand planning, forecasting and marketing will also be enhanced through AI, the report said. "As the number of sales channels used by consumers continues to grow, retailers should continue to improve how they plan across multiple sales channels—and how they handle disruptions. This typically requires improved demand-planning and replenishment capabilities that harness the power of AI."

In the past, marketing systems could only make decisions based on a fixed set of assumptions and narrowly defined inputs and outputs,'' according to the report. Although such systems can provide useful insights on a macro level, they are often difficult to scale and largely lack the ability to look at audience specifics, the report said.

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"However, thanks to AI, marketers now have the opportunity to analyze consumer mannerisms on a much more detailed level,'' the report said.

6 ways AI creates value for business

The report looks across all the industry-specific use cases to identify six major ways AI can create value for business:

  1. Cost reduction: Applying AI and intelligent automation solutions to automate tasks that are relatively low value and often repetitive, reducing costs through improved efficiency and quality.
  2. Speed to execution: Reducing the time required to achieve operational and business results by minimizing latency.
  3. Reduced complexity: Improving understanding and decision-making through analytics that are more proactive, predictive and able to see patterns in increasingly complex sources.
  4. Transformed engagement: Changing the way people interact with technology, enabling businesses to engage with people on human terms rather than forcing humans to engage on machine terms.
  5. Fueled innovation: Redefining where to play and how to win by using AI to enable innovative new products, markets and business models.
  6. Fortified trust: Securing a business from risks such as fraud and cyber and improving quality and consistency while enabling greater transparency to enhance brand trust.

"Artificial intelligence has made the leap to practical reality and is quickly becoming a competitive necessity. Yet, amidst the current frenzy of AI advancement and adoption, many leaders are questioning what AI can actually do for their businesses," said Nitin Mittal, U.S. AI co-leader and principal, Deloitte Consulting, in a statement.

At the same time, AI is driving new levels of efficiency and performance for businesses of all sizes, said Irfan Saif, U.S. AI co-leader, Deloitte risk and financial advisory and principal, Deloitte & Touche, in a statement. "Organizations have the opportunity to unlock the full potential of AI when they embrace it and deploy it at scale throughout their enterprise."

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