Transforming Vertical Markets With AI

Automation has been a game-changer for business, regardless of the industry. From streamlining logistics operations to enhancing productivity in the financial space, automation has unlocked immense benefits for organizations everywhere. However, automation’s potential has only scratched the surface, and with every new enhancement, innovation and groundbreaking discovery, the possibilities for the future grow bigger and bolder.

Most vertical markets have a lot to gain from automation. With its ability to handle repetitive and mundane tasks, automation frees up valuable time for skilled professionals to focus on higher-value activities. This, in turn, can transform vertical markets and enable them to thrive in the digital age. How have verticals already unlocked the power of automation, how can enhancements in AI help them further improve processes and optimize workflows, and what might generative AI tools like ChatGPT do to push the envelope even more?  


The basics:
Workflow automation can streamline all kinds of processes in the healthcare industry. It can help ease communication between healthcare offices and patients by assisting with patient registration, managing medical records, and registering and scheduling appointments online. When used properly, this can eliminate numerous roadblocks between patient and staff, reducing wait times and improving the overall patient experience.

Medical staff also benefit from workflow automation, not only because they benefit from freed time and resources, but also because offloading mind-numbingly boring tasks helps avoid burnout. For instance, automating repetitive tasks such as billing and insurance claims allows medical staff to spend more time on the real purpose of their jobs: critical patient care. Human error can also be avoided through automation; for example, automated alerts and reminders can ensure that patients receive their medications on time, reducing the risk of medication errors and improving patient outcomes. 

Now with more AI:
AI improves numerous healthcare automation processes. For example, predictive analytics vastly improve the process of identifying patient health risks and optimizing treatment plans. AI-powered tools that can analyze vast amounts of patient data help identify patterns and correlations that can inform treatment decisions, further reducing the risk of errors. 

Another area AI can improve is the process of medical image analysis — identifying tumors or anomalies in X-rays and MRIs, for example. This can help doctors make more accurate diagnoses and treatment decisions, once again improving those all-important patient outcomes.

Does generative AI have a role?
It can be used to provide customer support, answering questions about insurance policies, for instance. Its iterative capabilities mean it
is more effective in personalized treatment plans. Check out this article, which includes a real-world example of a physician who used ChatGPT to write a letter in response to an insurance denial.


The basics:
The financial industry deals with huge amounts of electronic and hard-copy data and paperwork, making it an ideal candidate for workflow automation. Automated workflows can improve accuracy and reduce errors in financial transactions, such as loan approvals and account openings. Automation can also speed up the onboarding process for new clients, making it easier to establish new accounts and set up new customers. 

In addition, automated workflows can improve compliance with regulations, such as anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) requirements. By automating compliance processes, financial institutions can ensure that they meet regulatory requirements while also reducing the risk of human error. 

Now with more AI:
AI can improve financial automation by enabling intelligent decision-making in fraud detection, risk management and investment strategies. AI-powered tools can analyze vast amounts of financial data in real time to identify potential fraud or anomalies, reducing the risk of financial losses. 

AI can also improve risk management by predicting market trends and potential risks, enabling financial institutions to make better-informed investment decisions. This can ultimately improve the overall performance of investment portfolios and increase returns for investors. 

Does generative AI have a role?
Like healthcare, conversational chatbots can offer more personalized, targeted advice and answer questions more effectively. Since regulations often prevent the use of actual data in training algorithms, generative AI can create synthetic data that will fill the gaps, thus improving models without compromising customer information. Synthetic data has applications in numerous industries: Check out this article from Gartner. 


The basics:
The manufacturing industry benefits from workflow automation in several ways: streamlining production processes, reducing downtime and improving quality control, for example. Automated workflows help manufacturers manage inventory, track production processes and identify and address issues quickly. 

Automated workflows can also improve collaboration between teams, such as design, production and quality control. With automated workflows, teams can communicate more effectively, reducing delays and improving the overall efficiency of the manufacturing process. 

Now with more AI:
AI can improve manufacturing automation by enabling predictive maintenance, optimizing production processes and improving quality control. AI-powered tools can analyze data from sensors and other sources to predict when equipment is likely to fail, enabling proactive maintenance to avoid downtime and reduce costs (if this sounds familiar it’s also a benefit of AI in the office technology industry). 

AI can also optimize production processes by analyzing data on production efficiency and identifying areas for improvement. This can help manufacturers increase productivity, reduce waste and improve overall product quality. 

Does generative AI have a role?
Generative AI is incredibly helpful in improving the manufacturing process because it can test various iterations and then build on what it learns. Check out this article to see how NASA is using generative design to build better spacecraft. 


The basics:
The education vertical benefits from workflow automation by streamlining administrative processes such as student registration, grading and transcript requests. With automated workflows, educators can spend more time teaching and less time dealing with administrative tasks. 

Automated workflows can also improve communication between students and faculty by providing automated notifications and alerts for important deadlines and events. This can improve student engagement and retention, ultimately improving educational outcomes. 

Now with more AI:
AI can improve education automation by enabling personalized learning and intelligent student support. AI-powered tools can analyze student data to identify individual learning styles, preferences and areas for improvement, allowing educators to offer personalized learning plans. 

AI can also improve student support by analyzing student performance and engagement data to identify at-risk students and provide targeted interventions. 

Does generative AI have a role?
Well, there’s certainly no doubt that ChatGPT is being used in schools — unfortunately, it’s not always being used in an approved manner, and many schools and districts have banned ChatGPT in the classroom. But as with everything new, there’s a lot of discourse happening on the topic — and it’s worth noting that the same tech behind ChatGPT is also used in AI detection tools. Check out this article discussing the results of an online seminar from Stanford that gathered educators and others — including representatives from OpenAI — to discuss concerns and opportunities. “We’ve seen ChatGPT to be used to draft and iterate on lesson plans, to do iterative design of quiz questions, experimenting with custom tutoring tools, to give grammatical and structural feedback on student writing,” said OpenAI’s Lama Ahmad in the article. 

Embracing automation across verticals 

It’s human nature to be skeptical of new technologies. Did you know the introduction of the power loom sparked fear in the hearts of hand loom operators afraid of losing their jobs? I didn’t either until I asked ChatGPT for an example of automation adoption. ChatGPT did the research but I put it into my own words, convincing me that the robots can aid in, but not take over, my job — much like the hand loom operators who first rioted against, then embraced, power looms.

Automation has a clearly established place in most vertical markets, although it sometimes took a while for workers to embrace it. The addition of AI to the process required a similar period of acceptance, and as its capabilities expand with the adoption of generative AI, the process is likely going to be an ongoing one. However, with humans guiding the process, adoption of AI is growing. ChatGPT’s explosive entry into public awareness threw a match on the keg of dynamite, raising concerns and heightening excitement at the same time, and proving to be a game-changer for businesses in every industry.  

is BPO Media and Research’s editorial director. As a writer and editor, she has specialized in the office technology industry for more than 20 years, focusing on areas including print and imaging hardware and supplies, workflow automation, software, digital transformation, document management and cybersecurity.