The back office is the place where everything happens that doesn’t directly deal with customers but makes the operations of an organisation smooth, and artificial intelligence is making some of the most remarkable progress in back offices of enterprises of all types.

This can include anything from research to scheduling receipts and making payments, or facility management. Much of these operations involve human activities and business processes that can be improved through the use of intelligent, AI-enabled technology and systems.

Improving order to cash processes
One of the places where AI can improve operations is via the order-to-cash process. This process involves everything from a customer placing an order to receiving payment for the same order.

Surprisingly, many invoices sent by businesses today are still sent via paper. AI-powered accounts receivable technology is ensuring that companies can get paid in a timely manner. AI-powered services for order-to-cash services can help businesses get paid by helping correct some of the errors that occur and keep things running efficiently.

These intelligent systems help to resolve disputes, examine and process refund requests, and check what went wrong. It looks at these instances, analyzes them and can help to reduce errors in invoicing and billing due to the AI systems’ natural ability to identify patterns and anomalies in transactions and documents.

Beyond simply handling payment and receiving processes, AI-enabled systems can also identify best customers. The intelligent systems can identify who pays on time, buys frequently, or purchases certain types of products.

With this information, companies can create personalized incentives for those customers. Machine learning-powered analysis also helps to identify problems in products that could be happening, and from here it can help to initiate conversations with dissatisfied customers and in turn make the process smoother and improve customer experience.

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The second major area where AI is innovating back-office operations is through purchase-to-pay systems and processes. Companies need to purchase and procure a wide range of items from office equipment to manufacturing supplies and everything in between. AI-based systems are speeding up and making more efficient and reliable the processes organizations use to procure and pay for products and services while also ensuring compliance with corporate and regulatory policies. AI can help turn internal purchasing and procurement process into efficient, high powered operations that can reduce or eliminate bottlenecks, spot opportunities for bulk purchase discounts, consolidate purchases across departments, reduce waste, fraud, and abuse, and keep purchasing in compliance with various rules and regulations.

As these AI-enabled systems become more integrated into the workplace, they learn over time, becoming a custom intelligent force behind the scene. This can prevent other errors in human insight, as it can catch things that people might not realize they have missed.

AI making process automation more intelligent
AI systems are also good at performing repetitive tasks that also require elements of human cognitive capability. While repetitive task automation or workflow automation tools (such as the ill-named Robotic Process Automation tools) are making significant inroads in enterprises, adding the ability for systems to be able to understand documents, listen to voicemails, interact with customers using conversational interfaces, or using predictive decision making will make these automation tools more intelligent.

AI can help change how people go about collecting debts in their businesses, and it can also relieve some of the common problems like bad records with wrong names, out of date information, and streamline the process. AI can also help learn the best way to reach out to individual people or organizations increasing the chances of collecting debts.

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In this same vein, AI improves compliance, especially within industries that are heavily regulated and have to keep meticulous documentation. AI keeps these companies and organizations meeting compliance in the evolving requirements or varied landscapes that they function inside. AI can perform automatic audits to systems or flag and filter conversations that could be going against the company policies.

AI also uses the recognition of natural language progressing to interact with employees, suppliers, customers, and partners, improving operations and accelerating compliance with regulations.

The analytical capabilities of AI help do research and look through company data to provide needle-in-the-haystack information by automatically digging through records and providing automatic insights.

Intelligent, AI-based systems are also now helping with employee management by searching through back office channels and monitoring employees and what is going on throughout the company network. AI systems are keeping tabs on employee engagement, interaction, and behavior, and making sure that standards and corporate rules are being followed to prevent any negative repercussions for the organization.

These AI systems are also helping make employees more efficient by providing internal support for employees through chatbots and other forms of internal support. Employee-focused self-service chatbots are proving to be very valuable providing assistance for HR-related inquiries or IT support. AI self-management of these areas can cut down on excess time and help them get back to work faster.

AI systems are quickly becoming an indispensable part of the corporate back-office environment, serving as an augmented assistant that can significantly reduce the load of human back-office workers, especially in large, multinational corporations. AI is providing much-needed efficiency and automation for areas that previously required large amounts of high-importance but low-value human activity.

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The article first appeared on Forbes



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