AI for Businesses: Top Applications, Types, and Benefits

Artificial intelligence is nothing new in the business world. It’s helped countless businesses refine their workflows and make data-driven decisions, including automating tedious tasks, performing data analytics, and leveraging historical business data.

Today, if a business isn’t incorporating AI into the company’s system, it might make slower progress than its competitors, miss out on cost reduction, and even fail to grasp various customer-related opportunities.

In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of AI for businesses, the most common types of AI currently available, and how companies can use them to run things more efficiently while lowering operational costs.

Main Types of AI for Businesses

Artificial intelligence can help companies in the following core aspects:

  • Process Automation
  • Cognitive Insight
  • Cognitive Engagement

Related: The Best AI Websites of 2023

1. Process Automation

“Process automation” is an application of AI that makes work easier and faster. You might use artificial intelligence to automate repetitive tasks in a system (like administrative office work or sending emails).

Process automation is the most common (and often the cheapest) AI type used in business. As fewer admin responsibilities are required, companies may be able to scale down their employment. This makes it an ideal example of a low-cost, high-return investment.

A more specific type is “Robotic process automation” (RPA), which leverages software algorithms to autonomously perform recurring tasks that would normally be done by human workers. This is accomplished through the use of APIs (Application Programming Interface) and interactions with a software’s user interface.

A business might use RPA to:

  • Use natural language processing for key points of legal documents
  • Keep inventory levels optimal with order automation
  • Automate updates to client records based on information from emails and contact centers
  • Automate billing systems

2. Cognitive Insight

Business artificial intelligence tools can process overwhelming amounts of data. This falls under the type called “cognitive insight,” an analytics tool that works on top of deep learning. It looks for patterns in your data, which helps foretell future outcomes in particular scenarios.

For example, cognitive insight can understand consumer behavior using past records. You can leverage this to predict what products your customers would likely purchase next. Companies can also use cognitive insight in the following:

  • Real-time fraud prevention in terms of credit and insurance
  • Give insurance quotes depending on how likely a customer would make a claim
  • Extreme personalization where companies develop marketing plans using individual customer data (e.g., location, purchase history, and similar metrics)

Cognitive insight is heavily reliant on data. It’s modeled and trained on top of numerous data sets, and as it processes new data, its ability to predict outcomes continues to improve over time.

3. Cognitive Engagement

Because people expect needed information in an instant, cognitive engagement is a key player here. This type of AI uses “natural language processing,” (which handles human language) and returns results based on the user’s query or prompt.

Common examples are chatbots and intelligent agents that are designed to simulate how humans communicate with one another. Companies use these bots to answer frequently asked questions from customers and employees.

Businesses can also apply cognitive engagement in the following situations:

  • Offer 24/7 chat support to solve common issues like password change requests and financial quotes
  • Medical software that helps develop treatment strategies based on a patient’s health status
  • Recommendations for product and service purchases
  • Employee support for troubleshooting device-related issues, human resources policies, and employee perks.

A major benefit of this AI type is providing businesses with a way to communicate with clients outside of office hours. Companies can also use cognitive engagement in tandem with cognitive insight to create personalized recommendations.

What Are the Main Benefits of AI in Businesses?

Using products and systems powered by artificial intelligence offers plenty of benefits, including boosted progress, faster data analytics, and natural language processing. Here’s how these three major benefits could boost businesses today:

Data Analytics

Companies need data to back their decisions, especially regarding planning and investment. They can gain valuable insights into the various aspects of their business using data analytics.


AI helps reduce wasted time and effort when it comes to performing tedious processes. In turn, employees can focus on doing work that brings more value to the business. Because it relies on predefined code, automation also tends to be more error-free.

Natural Language Processing

Communication is crucial in business, and natural language processing bridges many of its barriers. For example, AI can understand questions and offer answers in a customer’s native language using NLP.

How Is AI Used in Business?

AI isn’t only useful in streamlining processes. It can also play a key role in sales, marketing, inventory management, accounting, human resources, customer service, and much more.

Related: Interested in learning more about AI? Check out Coursera’s Machine Learning Specialization.

1. Sales

According to a 2022 study, a survey of 332 sales managers was conducted in which 42% of them reported that their company was only utilizing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to store the data of leads and customers. In addition to that, a staggering 15% advised that their company was not using CRM at all.

The survey also suggested that, on average, salespeople only spend 32% of their workday actually selling, while 68% of their time is spent on tasks that were not generating revenue.

By incorporating AI into their sales strategy, sales-focused companies can potentially improve lead quality, forecast upcoming trends in the market, and automate prospect contact. In turn, this could increase efficiency and reduce costs.

Lead Prioritization

This involves the concept of “lead scoring,” a method of determining the quality and worthiness of a certain lead. By ranking leads with AI, companies have a better understanding of who to engage with, then develop plans to convert them into paying clients.

Market Demand Forecasting

AI can also help predict the types of products and services that consumers will likely have an appetite for in the future. This works by AI accessing historical sales data and consumer interactions.

Email Outreach

A key to increasing sales is reaching out to clients to convert leads and introduce new products. With AI-based email marketing, the AI can learn to personalize email content and product recommendation based on customer data.

It can also optimize the campaign by sending emails at more opportune times and to a better-suited audience. To top it all off, AI can perform tasks at peak efficiency without the need for human supervision.

2. Marketing

Good marketing is crucial for establishing brand image, maintaining relevance, and creating demand among consumers. In addition to making marketing work more efficient, AI provides insights into stronger customer engagement.

Search Engine Optimization

AI can rapidly speed up search engine optimization (SEO) steps, like identifying searcher intent, primary keywords, and competitors. Tools like Jasper and ChatGPT can also help to produce SEO-friendly marketing content, and Canva’s Magic Write feature is known to generate blogs, copy, lists, and more.

Generating Images for Marketing

Eye-catching graphics also play a key role in advertisements. If done right, AI artwork can stimulate and persuade consumers to make a purchase (or another action favorable for a business). Aside from producing textual content, AI tools like DALL-E 2 can also produce artwork usable for marketing.

Image Recognition

Artificial intelligence is advanced enough to understand the semantical meanings of images and videos online. Marketers can leverage AI to identify how certain items and services are being utilized.

3. Inventory Management

Companies in the retail industry know how important it is to keep their inventory in optimal states. This involves maintaining good stock levels, reducing human error, and ensuring that few-to-no defective products are delivered.

Warehouse Management

AI can help streamline the various processes happening inside a warehouse, resulting in fewer human-caused damages. This also frees up staff, encouraging them to do more valuable work in other areas of the warehouse.

AI can boost warehouse management in the following aspects:

  • Automated communication of warehouse updates using cloud-hosted services
  • Logistics processes like pallet counting, selecting appropriate equipment, and automatic reordering
  • Reduced costs and consumption of resources otherwise used for managing warehouses with human labor
  • Gaining insights into employee performance with AI-powered performance and wage tracking

Product Checking

As mentioned earlier, artificial intelligence is also capable of image recognition. Some AI tools can determine whether a certain product has defects based on its images. When it comes to product inspections before delivery, customers are less likely to receive substandard items.

Semi-automated Orders

Keeping good stock levels in terms of both raw materials and finished products is a crucial step in inventory management. This allows businesses to minimize downtimes due to stockouts.

Given the number of documents one must process, material procurement can be tedious. There’s also the need to find the right suppliers. If assigned to humans, these aspects might be done less efficiently.

Incorporating AI can improve procurement while:

  • Matching the right supplier based on the low-stock materials
  • Gathering current market prices and supplier information
  • Automating quota calculations

4. Accounting

Accounting requires accurate financial records, especially because misrepresentation of financial data in tax filings can result in legal consequences. AI can be helpful as it enhances accuracy. Here are other ways AI can be useful in accounting:

Implementing Corporate Policy

Companies follow specific rules when determining what counts as valid expenses, particularly when it comes to expenditures. AI can help enforce these policies by ensuring that what’s recorded on paper is reasonable.

For example, it can test whether the invoices presented by employees can be counted as a necessary business expense. If not, auditors can identify whether employees are spending money indiscriminately and aren’t following the policies rolled out by the company.

Streamlining Repetitive Tasks

Companies can transform the arduous tasks of accountants. Automated AI processes can gather all documents into one directory, categorize them according to their appropriate accounting code, and even process files to find patterns and trends.

AI is more able to finish tasks faster than humans without mistakes. However, employees should still review with final revisions and tweaks to ensure compliance and accuracy.

Budget Forecasting

By leveraging the historical data of a business, AI might be able to predict future performance. By tracking previous patterns, it may forecast the expenses and revenue and assist in developing budget forecasts.

5. Human Resources

HR is another department where introducing AI can have a significant effect, particularly when it comes to recruitment, onboarding, and employee learning. Below are three ways artificial intelligence can augment human resources.

Skill Matching

AI tools can crawl the CVs of applicants to find those that best match an employer’s experience and skill requirements. In addition to seeking specific keywords, semantically similar words and phrases are detected via machine learning.

Some AI algorithms can also recommend specific jobs that match the current skillset of a candidate. This helps give potential applicants a heads-up (for shortlisting) before a company officially publishes a job posting.

Two popular skill-matching AI tools include Breezy HR and JobAdder.

Onboarding New Employees

Companies can automate the delivery of employee resources and paperwork. Some AI onboarding tools have the ability to track an employee’s progress by crawling documents and sending follow-up prompts.

AI virtual assistants can also recommend learning directions to new employees that are modeled on previous successful employee studies. New hires will have a clearer outlook on what the business expects from them.

Bridging Skills Gap

Institutions aiming to develop their employees’ skill sets can absolutely leverage AI’s power. For example, AI tools can create individual employee profiles that track their skill interests, learning style, job scope, and similar factors. In turn, they can develop personalized learning curricula that bring value and employee enjoyment.

6. Customer Service

As most businesses can’t survive without customer service, it’s crucial to pay attention to customer issues and complaints. Many customer service departments are turning to 24/7 client support to address these.

Detecting Message Tone

Using natural language processing, artificial intelligence is often able to detect the intent and sentiment behind a message. By assessing the likely reasons for a client reaching out to customer support, AI can redirect the message to the appropriate team.

For example, if a customer returns a product with trigger words like “disappointing” and “defective,” AI can forward the message to the team handling product returns.

Identifying Urgency

Artificial intelligence can also identify messages that need immediate action by detecting and filtering contexts and trigger words. This is true for both positive and negative messages from customers like:

  • “I want to stop using your services.”
  • “I’m interested in your latest offer.”

Will AI Create More Job Opportunities?

As AI becomes more advanced, the demand for skilled professionals who know how to leverage it will also balloon. For example, data analysts who can use AI to draft reports quickly would be particularly in demand across industries.

Companies might seek people in the following professions, too:

  • AI engineering
  • AIOps
  • Dana analytics
  • Data annotation and labeling
  • Data sourcing
  • DevOps

The fear of AI replacing human jobs isn’t unreasonable, but there’s currently a treasure trove of specialized jobs that AI can’t do. These are typically focused on human creativity, discovering new ways to solve problems, and careers that require human decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is an Example of AI Used in Business?

Delivering personalized content to customers is one of the best examples of AI in business. Tracking a customer’s purchase history, location, and interaction with a particular web page, can help companies customize their offers.

Final Thoughts

Businesses are rushing to incorporate AI into their systems today. This is largely because AI can make better workflows regarding process automation, email campaigns, employee sourcing, and more. Such a change calls for professionals skilled in using AI for businesses.

Ready to stay on top of this fast-rising industry? Check out Coursera’s top-ranked program for AI For Business Specialization!


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Emma Collins is a tech writer for Productivity Spot. She's been writing tech tutorials & how-to guides on Windows, Android, iOS, Social Media, Data Recovery, Cybersecurity, Gaming, and more as a tech writer for over 6 years. You can find her work on many established tech websites, including, MakeUseOf, Help Desk Geek, Online Tech Tips, Switching To Mac, HandyRecovery, Cleverfiles, and more.

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