According to techjury.net, 77 per cent of the world’s population uses artificial intelligence (AI) but only 33 per cent are actually aware they’re doing so. The smartphone that’s sitting beside you or perhaps in your hand, the videogames your kids are playing in the next room, the Spotify station you’ve got on in the background, and the list goes on – all utilise AI while you go about your activities.
Business administration operations, such as smart email categorisation and automated customer support, already routinely use it. But even though so many people worldwide, including you, are using AI in their day-to-day operations, many are still sceptical about how these technologies can and should be used more intentionally in business.
What is AI and how does it contribute to visibility?
At its core, AI is just a technology’s ability to use an algorithm (or set of instructions) to process data, optimise the outcomes of those algorithms based on the data it collects, and therefore display a sense of “intelligence”. It can learn from past processes and improve its algorithm to become the best digital co-worker your team could ask for, working along in the background to help your business. And though data is used to increase automation across your processes, it’s also used to improve decision making by providing insights, smart recommendations and helping your organisation do the right thing.
One of the biggest realisations we’re taking away from the pandemic is that financial visibility is key to ensuring business continuity. Understanding your cash flow and supply chain and finding ways to stay agile through disruption is vital to the success of growth of an organisation. AI informs automation, and automation then drives the data needed to inform real-time insights into cashflow. This sort of analytical visibility helps keep suppliers operational, cash flowing and business in action.
How can AI boost e-invoicing and procurement?
You can see that top businesses are taking steps towards implementing AI, you can see some of the values realised after implementation, and you can rest easy knowing that your workforce won’t be replaced with blinking, square-headed robots with claw-arms. AI works entirely as servant, not master. And since it runs in the background of your operations, you’ll hardly know it’s there – much like you don’t consider what’s keeping a plane in the air when you’re on a flight.
Let’s take a look at how AI can work in action in your procure-to-pay (P2P) process.
For starters, if you’re a multinational firm with a history of mergers and acquisitions, your financial tools may be varied and disparate. At Basware, we build a layer on top of those existing tools to harmonise your entire financial process and then integrate it with the existing landscape.
These modern technologies will enable AP and procurement departments to achieve efficiencies such as:
• Automating the conversion of machine-readable PDFs to electronic invoices (e-invoices) with close to 100 per cent accuracy
• Saving time and energy across all P2P functions and redirect energy to more strategic initiatives
• Improving cashflows and generating savings through early payment discounts and DPO optimisation with faster invoice processing times
• Drastically reducing manual handling of business documents in both procurement and AP
• Identifying increased savings potential by gaining visibility over 100 per cent of your organisational spend
• Achieving high-performing supply chains by analysing supplier performance and quality
• Considerably increasing both your data quality and accuracy
AI strategy is here – for the short-, mid-, and long-term
According to Forbes, “90 per cent of leading businesses already have ongoing investment in AI technologies. More than half of businesses that have implemented some manner of AI-driven technology report experiencing greater productivity.” And Forbes isn’t alone in these findings. NewVantage research from 2020 shows that 91.5 per cent of top businesses surveyed report having an ongoing investment in AI. And 54 per cent of business executives in a PWC survey say their adoption of AI within the workplace has led to significant boosts in productivity.
For example, our own personal experience paired with research from multiple sources shows ways businesses are using AI to improve their organisations:
• 36 per cent of executives say their primary goal for AI is to optimise internal business operations (Harvard Business Review)
• 36 per cent of executives say their primary goal for AI is to free up workers to be more creative by automating tasks (Harvard Business Review)
• 79 per cent of executives worldwide say artificial intelligence will make their job easier and more efficient (The Economist)
• 72 per cent of business decision-makers say AI can enable humans to concentrate on more meaningful work (PwC)
• AI can warn of late payments to increase early pay discount capture and increase overall savings
• AI can process millions of financial transactions to analyse and provide insights
This all shows that AI is here to stay. For the short- and mid-term, AI will dominate the finance landscape. In the long run, it will combine all external data along with the internal data to analyse and drive further efficiencies.