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When Machine Learning Meets the Business World

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When Machine Learning Meets the Business World

Let's discover what happens when Machine Learning meets the business world. Take a look at how it will transform businesses as well as how it will minimize risks.

· AI Zone ·
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Machine Learning

Businesses have always been at the forefront as early adopters of new technologies. Advancements in computing like Machine Learning have already made a notable impact on the business world. With business operations and processes spread across varying levels, the inclusion of a Machine Learning framework can prove worthwhile in increasing efficiency, productivity, and speed.

Machine Learning has found widespread acceptance among enterprises. MIT Technology Review and Google Cloud recently published a report based on their studies in Machine Learning and its adoption. The reports state that about 60 percent of the respondents have already implemented Machine Learning into their business.

Markets and Markets predicts that the Machine Learning market will be worth around 8.81 billion USD by 2022. What these studies claim is an expanding market for Machine Learning and the obvious benefits that you can gain by incorporating it into your business.

Implementing such models can push your business to stay ahead and drive innovation aided by technology. However, a majority of the technology executives or business owners are uninformed about where to apply Machine Learning for solving their own unique business challenges.

So, how can you apply Machine Learning within your organization to guide crucial business operations? The obvious answer is in having a thorough knowledge of the basics of Machine Learning and its applications and impact on the business world. Becoming well versed in this will guide you, address these gaps, and enable quick implementation of Machine Learning in your organization.

A Peep Into Machine Learning

With all the complex terminologies like data, patterns, indexes, and insights, what is your understanding of Machine Learning? As we described above, ML is transforming every field that it touches. But what constitutes an ideal definition of this concept?

The idea that machines could learn from its own interactions without any intervention or programming from humans led to the formulation of the Machine Learning concept. Coined in 1959, Machine Learning has since then become a key point of focus like other proposed computing forms like artificial intelligence and Neural Networks.

Machine Learning enables systems to automatically learn and gather experience without any explicit programming. It involves specific algorithms that can gather data, process it using statistics and then predict outcomes or generate insights.

The algorithms used in Machine Learning are classified into three forms known as supervised, unsupervised and reinforcement learning. We shall delve briefly into these classifications before moving onto its applications in the enterprise. As data scientists, we have to know the basics of some common Machine Learning algorithms.

Supervised Learning — The input and output data are provided to the system in a supervised Machine Learning algorithm. By classifying them both under labels, these input and output data sets are then mapped to form a basis for reference and processing.

Besides, supervised learning also involves assessing the feedback as a part of training the algorithm. Data scientists and analysts work in tandem to supervise the input and output variables that are fed into the system to begin the processing.

Unsupervised Learning — Unsupervised learning is the opposite as the algorithms require no training. The data is not labeled or classified and the algorithm works on that data stack to sort out and process it accordingly without any guidance.

An unsupervised learning system uses another advanced method called Deep Learning to analyze the data and discover insights and patterns. Unsupervised learning is used for more complicated things like speech-to-text conversion, language processing, and image recognition.

Reinforcement Learning — In reinforcement learning, the algorithms learn on their own based on a rewards system. This works by trial and error as the algorithm gets rewarded and penalized based on its actions and behavior. In this way, a reinforcement learning system analyzes its own background and learns from the environment to which it is assigned.

Machine Learning Remains Indispensable for Business

For the first time, Machine Learning gave computers the means to learn itself. Unaided by programming or human intervention, an ML computing system can learn from its interactions and from the available data. If you look at the structure, flow, and operations involved in a business, then the obvious conclusion that you derive is about how ML can benefit these processes and enable transformation.

Machine Learning turns raw data into meaningful insights for solving complex business challenges. Since it was introduced, a lot of companies around the world have benefitted from using ML with major improvements in their business operations. Google is one technology major using advanced computing like Machine and Deep Learning for making its search engine more refined and powerful.

Businesses have the biggest advantage when it comes to Machine Learning because of their increasing reliance and early adoption of technology. The availability of faster computing, scalable storage, and easily accessible data have led to Machine Learning platforms in getting more popular.

With enormous amounts of data stored and generated by businesses, a Machine Learning embedded computing system or platform can help mine this data to find solutions all by itself thereby remaining an indispensable part.

How Machine Learning Will Transform Businesses

In enterprises, the data can exist both in structured and unstructured forms with the latter estimated to occupy about 90 percent. Machine Learning is vital for processing unstructured data, which is time-consuming if done manually. Besides, it can generate new insights using the available data and turn it into a structured and labeled form for easy access. Some of the ways in which Machine Learning will alter business are:

Provides Streamlined Data Visualization

The ability to visualize data is one of the key advantages that lies in incorporating a Machine Learning framework. With the entire world going visual, adopting a method that visualizes the vast data troves can help the personnel in a company know in depth about a project or information. Data visualization can derive meaning from a large stack of data by using a combination of static and interactive elements.

Machine Learning can help in improve data discovery by finding out actionable insights from large data sets. The personnel can better understand through these visualizations of huge datasets. This will stimulate them to take the right action, which will drive forth efficiency and innovation within the organization. Moreover, Machine Learning can bring out an added advantage into data visualization by:

  1. Enabling predictive analysis through the use of algorithms that learns and detect patterns for improved data accuracy and speed.
  2. Build a better understanding of the customers using the collected data to offer personalized services and create outstanding experiences.
  3. Improve the dynamics of data visualization with real-time results, which provides detail about the overall business processes.

An ML system can generate a meaningful visual detail from both the structured and unstructured data.

Generate Valuable Data on Customer Behavior

Data is constantly produced when a customer interacts or purchases a product or service from an organization. This data collection continues if the services are offered in digital domains through upgrades and other forms. Leveraging these data can produce a remarkable insight into customer behavior, which forms the basis of every business today.

Machine Learning can help with this aspect by collecting user data in plentiful and deriving rich insights that will help create tailored solutions and experiences. When a business employs a Machine Learning algorithm, it undergoes a process of training and testing in different situations to derive meaning from the data obtained from customers.

Besides, the valuable data obtained from Machine Learning about customer behavior has several other applications such as:

  1. Identifying purchase patterns by reviewing their previous associations like browsing and purchase histories. This will in turn help in offering the best services to the customers, which increases the likelihood of more visits and conversions in the future.
  2. Suggest product recommendations to the customers to persuade them into buying. Machine Learning is already employed for suggesting product recommendations by leading e-commerce firms like Amazon and for curating content by the web and mobile application company Pinterest.
  3. An ML implemented model can drive better customer satisfaction and experience. An ML system can analyze call records held with customers and direct the process to the right personnel. This ensures that customer loyalty is secured along with a decrease in cost and time involved in the process.

Substitutes Human Labor With Automation

Manually entering data can always result in certain errors, which will considerably affect the business processes. And with huge amounts of data, human effort is painstaking and time-consuming, with the likelihood of inaccurate or mistakes during the data entry.

ML that uses predictive modeling algorithms can fully prevent such errors and inaccuracies in the input data. By working on the existing data, a Machine Learning system can process them with zero errors, which frees the personnel responsible for data entry by directing them into other valuable tasks in the business.

The idea of automation put forth by Machine Learning is what most companies have been striving for years. Simply put, automating crucial areas of work by replacing human labor can result in significant savings for a company. Besides, it can improve the efficiency of the processes by speeding it up and making no room for errors.

Enhance Security

With the growing threats of malicious software and information theft, cybersecurity has formed a crucial part of any organization. Numerous threat control measures are implemented in place to shield the computing systems and the stored data. They can become quickly obsolete in offering continuous protection as malware and other forms of computer viruses are evolving to surpass these cyber defenses.

Machine Learning can help in enhancing the overall computing and data security of an organization. The security status of an organization can be easily assessed with ML, which will then build strategies and risk-based models to shield the systems from outside interferences. Moreover, it can analyze the previous security data to predict threats and their probability in the future.

Incorporating a powerful Machine Learning model will help in making data-driven decisions for enhancing cybersecurity. It can constantly monitor the network and systems for any anomalies in traffic and other aspects to prevent an unauthorized access or breach into the sensitive data stored.

Use Predictive Maintenance to Minimize Risks

Maintenance forms the crucial part of any business especially those into manufacturing. Most of these firms routinely employ a maintenance procedure to identify weaknesses early on and carry out the necessary corrective measures. However, they tend to fall behind in identifying any issues earlier, which results in irreversible damages in the long run.

Machine Learning uses data from sensors and other units to spot patterns that inform any risks or weaknesses, which can be resolved early on to prevent failures and thus reduce any risks. The aim is to predict at what time a machine can fail based on the data assessment. It is highly effective in pointing out which specific equipment or unit require replacement or repairs.

Use Cases of Machine Learning in Businesses

Incorporating a Machine Learning framework can be advantageous to a business in a lot of other ways besides predicting insights. These include:

Natural Language Processing

With the availability of vast quantities of data, a Machine Learning computing system can be of valuable help in implementing Natural Language Processing. It uses Deep Learning, which is a crucial part of Machine Learning that gives computers the ability to understand and process text and speech like humans. The wide-scale developments in this field have pushed Natural Language Processing to interpret text and speech with all its colloquialisms.

The rise of digital assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, etc. are some examples of Natural Language Processing in use. The use of a Machine Learning system having Natural Language Processing capabilities can be of great value to a business, especially in the area of customer management. Language processing falls under speech recognition, which is a particular use case of Machine Learning in many businesses.

In business, Natural Language Processing finds application in the form of chatbots that interacts with the customers and provide information to any of their queries. Besides, it can also aid in improving the efficiency of their documentation and in the area of job recruitment.

Learning Management Systems

The training of recruits and existing workforce is a priority of most organizations. Globally, companies have been searching for fresh ideas in providing a valued learning experience for its existing workforce and new recruits. With the popularity and acceptance of Learning Management Software (LMS) most companies are using them for imparting the necessary coaching to their workforce. An LMS platform that uses Machine Learning can analyze the user data to deliver a personalized and value-driven learning experience.

Competency-based training platforms like UpSkill have been in use to aid companies to maximize their workforce productivity by identifying their potential and imparting the necessary training. By combining it with HR, a Machine Learning embedded system can help in pinpointing trends and use it to improve the employee satisfaction and experience in the workplace. Besides, an LMS that use Machine Learning has numerous other applications such as:

  1. Creation of personalized training modules for each user by using the data obtained from the HR system and the LMS.
  2. Directing the employees to focus on crucial parts of learning and development as Machine Learning will take care of the data mining process.
  3. Helping organizations develop goal-oriented training methodologies to provide a learner-centered model to the user.

Image Recognition

Image recognition is another area where Machine Learning plays a crucial part. Enabling computers to interpret and identify vision can greatly assist in numerous applications like facial recognition. Also referred to as computer vision, image recognition can analyze and interpret the real world to form crucial data.

Businesses can rely on image recognition to extract valuable data from images. As most of the information stored in company-owned systems are visual, the need for an automated method to process them has become a necessity. Machine Learning can harness the potential of image files by using image recognition to categorize them for easy access.

Product Recommendation Engine

For e-commerce businesses, Machine Learning functions mainly to suggest product recommendations to the customers based on personalized preferences. The specific data of each user is used by a Machine Learning recommendation algorithm to find patterns in their searches.

It functions on a method known as collaborative filtering that assesses user profiles and their history of product searches to predict and thereby recommend products that suits a user’s requirements. Besides e-commerce, product recommendation is employed by numerous other businesses, particularly those offering to stream digital media, such as Netflix.

Customer Engagements

Algorithms are getting better in dealing with customers as it has been proven to improve their satisfaction and get them the relevant information that they are looking for. Chatbots that use advanced algorithms can manage customer queries more efficiently than humans. The use of data-driven decisions facilitates better engagement and segmentation of customers. This has its benefits in quickening the process while cutting back on key business operating expenses.

Integrating ML Into Business Intelligence: Enabling Swift Information Processing

Business intelligence is conventionally the same as Machine Learning. Transforming data into actionable insights is what both do, but differs from one other. Commonly business intelligence helps in managing the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), analyze visual data and spice up collaboration. Several businesses depended on some form of business intelligence tools for harnessing meaning from the data that they own.

However, it was quickly viewed as an inappropriate model due to its several drawbacks. Business intelligence tools were viewed as insufficient in identifying core insights from a data set. To resolve these, vendors experimented with integrating Machine Learning into business intelligence tools to generate meaning from large volumes of data.

What it does for businesses is a rapid improvement in the way data is analyzed to uncover hidden insights and patterns. It automates the processes, which swiftly assess information thereby enabling business owners to act upon and take the relevant decisions. Moreover, predictions point out that the future of business intelligence lies in a disruption by Machine Learning that will change it into a more robust and accurate system.

Machine Learning Propels Business Growth

With the worldwide adoption of Machine Learning continuing at a rapid pace, it has helmed the way for a new approach and strategy for business operations. The large sets of data generated and stored in an enterprise can become meaningful if a Machine Learning model is integrated into its computing systems and applications. This will pave the way for better insights and patterns from the data, which will help in making crucial data-driven decisions that can propel the growth of a company.

For enterprise software developers, this represents a new approach which they can include in their process to give companies an extra mile when it comes to efficiency, speed, and competitiveness. Machine Learning can seemingly integrate into a diverse range of computing fields like Natural Language Processing and image recognition, which is especially beneficial in churning out meaning from huge volumes of data. Such an approach will surely drive innovation and improve the products and services offered along with the customer experience.

Start coding something amazing with the IBM library of open source AI code patterns.  Content provided by IBM.

Topics:
machine learning ,machine learning algorithm ,business ,enterprise ,software application development ,deep learning ,supervised machine learning ,unsupervised machine learning ,reinforcement learning ,artificial intelligence

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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