I often meet with businesspeople who are excited to get started using AI, but they’re confused about what it can and cannot do. AI is being built into business software with incredible speed. Some examples of AI-powered applications available today are lead scoring, sales forecasting, marketing, service, and many more.
For all the ways in which this intelligence is exposed, the AI that powers business applications really boils down to a few discrete functions which, when combined in innovative ways, can deliver real value. It is, in a way, like Taco Bell.
Taco Bell doesn’t have that many ingredients: It’s mostly beef, refried beans, cheese, tortillas, salsa, lettuce, and tomatoes. However, they can combine these ingredients to make many different menu items according to their customers’ tastes. Everything from a soft taco to a Mexican pizza to a quesarito are just different combinations of the same ingredients, and yet they each serve different segments of Taco Bell’s customers.
Now, as AI-powered business software matures, it’s allowing businesses to make their own custom predictions — and that means it’s more important than ever to understand the “ingredients” that AI provides.
By and large, a good AI platform comprises four different ingredients. We’ll take a look at them separately (many times they’re useful by themselves — sometimes it’s nice just to eat cheese), and then we’ll have a look at some examples of how these ingredients can be combined to make for a robust menu of AI applications.