We are in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution, characterised by widespread digitisation and the emergence of various cutting-edge technologies. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a major tech buzzword of the year, alongside technologies like Machine Learning (ML), the Internet of Things, and advanced data analytics. AI has found applications in various domains across our personal and professional lives, and its functions are continuing to grow and evolve. Let's explore the role of AI in businesses today, with a focus on its impact on the Global Business Services (GBS) model.
How is AI transforming businesses?
The field of AI has been around since the 1950s, but it is only in the last few years that the concept has developed into usable technology with a myriad of applications. AI can today analyse vast amounts of data extremely rapidly and efficiently, and businesses can use this processing power to support various processes. With AI, it is possible to predict likely future outcomes of actions taken today, and these insights can help organisations make smarter strategic business decisions.
Modern everyday applications of AI include smart digital assistants, data research to identify patterns, autonomous processing of data, smart customer relationship management systems, ML, and cybersecurity.
These applications have revolutionised customer service and enabled businesses to analyse large volumes of data quickly, manage customer interactions more efficiently, automate processes, and improve data security. With increased adoption of AI across customers, suppliers, and the end-to-end ecosystem, we will see a rapid AI-led disruption across businesses.
AI and GBS business solutions
With advancements in technology such as AI, shared services and the global business services model have evolved from being primarily cost-saving initiatives to adding value and boosting efficiency, effectiveness, and experience across several functions. AI can be used to transform four common GBS functions, namely Finance & Accounting, Procurement, Supply Chain Management, and Human Resources.
Finance & Accounting (F&A)
ML-led AI can be applied across Accounts Payables (AP), Accounts Receivables (AR), and General Ledger (GL) operations. Additionally, activities like Invoice data extraction, GL coding, duplicate invoice identification, reconciliations, ledger intelligence, tax planning, working capital analysis, and fraud management are areas where AI can be applied extensively.
Armed with intelligent technologies like predictive analytics, GBS providers can accurately identify procurement risks and opportunities early in the procurement process. Once these tenable risks and opportunities have been established, they can be used as bargaining chips when negotiating with prospective suppliers. AI-enabled data analytics can also help organisations better manage risks and streamline their sourcing strategies by identifying patterns in historical procurement data. Self-service cognitive bots, sourcing intelligence solutions, cognitive procurement, and contract management solutions are some of the common applications in the sourcing & procurement space.
These technologies improve efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance accuracy in sourcing and procurement processes. By leveraging such innovations, businesses can make data-driven decisions, optimise their procurement processes, and stay ahead of the competition.
AI can help with supply chain optimisation by ensuring accurate capacity planning, inventory optimisation, and demand forecasting. By giving supply chain professionals the information and insights needed to make better, faster decisions, AI can help reduce cycle times and speed up supply chains, while also reducing the chances of unexpected disruptions. By augmenting supply chain services with AI and other contemporary digital technologies, businesses can ensure that goods and services will be delivered in a timely and efficient manner.
AI and ML can be used to automate repetitive HR tasks. AI can be extensively applied in learning & development, recruitment, employee onboarding, and employee help desk operations. The impact of enabling self-service to employees and providing anytime anywhere access will significantly improve the employee experience in today’s hybrid working environment.
Generative AI and its associated applications have just opened up an altogether new set of possibilities in the AI world. GBS business solutions providers can leverage technologies like AI, ML, and automation to offer organisations better value and efficiency across a wide variety of functions. Modernising the global business services model shifts the focus from cost savings to process improvements, better control over operations, and a better user experience. As AI technology matures, operations will see higher degrees of transformation implementations as well as adoption, leading to a truly digital-first operating model.
(The article is written by Santosh Unni & Bipin Nambiar) Santosh has over 25 years of experience in the field of digital transformation at Infosys BPM and is responsible for the same for EMEA and APAC regions. He also heads the Artificial Intelligence Centre of Excellence and has managed operational transformation for many clients through the evolution of technologies.
Santosh has over 25 years of experience in the field of digital transformation at Infosys BPM and is responsible for the same for EMEA and APAC regions. He also heads the Artificial Intelligence Centre of Excellence and has managed operational transformation for many clients through the evolution of technologies.
Bipin is a Senior Delivery Manager with Infosys BPM and has over two decades of experience in building and delivering technology solutions, with a focus on cognitive intelligence to enable business processes.
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