The Terminator and the Promise of AI

It was 1984 when I first started thinking about Artificial Intelligence (AI). Granted, it was in a movie theater where I was being introduced to Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator, and the last thing I was thinking about was how technology could have a meaningful impact on how entrepreneurs run their businesses.

The ways businesses can use the power of AI have opened the door for banks to provide even greater value for their clients–and generally lessened my fears of Skynet.

Automating Businesses

Today, AI serves as a chief technology in supporting business automation and can reduce manual processes and create more efficiency in the business environment. Today, 62 percent of businesses believe that automation can resolve three or more process inefficiencies they face. Leveraging AI to drive that automation is an opportunity to decrease those manual tasks, reduce errors, improve speed, and transform business operations as a whole.

AI plays an integral role in that transformation. Some of the most advanced platforms supporting back office automation are using machine learning to systematize the invoicing and payment processes for businesses by:

  • recognizing and intercepting human error;
  • initiating approval processes;
  • recognizing workflows;
  • and automatically creating business rules on behalf of customers.

These new workflows and processes mean time and cost savings for businesses: those using platforms that leverage AI have reported that they save on average 5.5 hours per week, which translates to more than 36 business days annually.

Leveraging AI to Support Business Customers

So, where does that leave financial institutions? How can banks help their business customers save time and resources with AI? There are three strong possibilities for banks in the near term:

  1. Providing data-rich insights for products and services that help businesses detect customer patterns and habits and uncover unmet needs where product enhancements or new products may be warranted.
  2. Offering streamlined back office through automated invoicing and payment collection/reconciliation, as well as options to auto-pay recurring bills.
  3. Enabling enhanced fraud monitoring by providing data and machine learning and anomaly detection to help ensure approval of every good transaction.

The AI Opportunity

While the benefits are numerous, AI adoption, particularly by small and medium businesses, has much room to grow. Today, only 8 percent of SMBs are using AI.  But nearly half of SMB leaders (46 percent) believe their businesses are ready to use AI, and 32 percent have plans to implement AI. That’s why this was a key topic that René Lacerte, Bill.com’s CEO and Founder, addressed in this session at Money20/20.

As I have aged (let’s go with ‘matured’), my perspective has changed a bit, and I have been able to balance the specter of The Terminator with the promise that AI brings.  I feel very lucky to be part of this positive impact, as well as helping many of our partners by offering the same to their customers.

PS – One of my favorite parts of The Terminator was the small role by a young Bill Paxton.  If you don’t remember, check it out.

This content was originally published here.

Bill.com is a leading provider of cloud-based software that simplifies, digitizes, and automates complex, back-office financial operations for small and midsize businesses. Customers use the Bill.com platform to manage end-to-end financial workflows and to process payments. The Bill.com AI-enabled financial software platform connects businesses and their suppliers and clients. It helps manage cash inflows and outflows. The company partners with several of the largest U.S. financial institutions, including most of the top 100 U.S. accounting firms and popular accounting software providers. Bill.com has offices in Palo Alto, California, and Houston, Texas. For more information, visit www.bill.com.