Unlocking business potential: Navigating AI integration
A few months ago, I asked my team, do you use AI? Once I had helped them to understand that I saw AI as a facilitator, not a shortcut, I was pleased to learn that almost everyone was using AI for something. Whether that was correcting formulae in Excel, checking punctuation within written documents or supporting the coding process for our platforms, it was saving time and helping our business to be more productive.
There is a significant opportunity for financiers and property companies to incorporate AI into their operations, revolutionising business as the “new internet” of our generation. Whether in underwriting deals, analysing data or servicing loans post-completion, AI can streamline the lending process, mitigating common human errors that often stop the team from being at our most effective.
Over the last few months, we have looked at every aspect of our business and tried to understand how we can become more efficient and productive by incorporating AI. We want to be ahead of the curve and our Research & Development team (DK R&D) has invested a large amount of their capacity in creating and refining our technology. Our new suite of AI includes everything in our business. We know change is happening all around us and we want to be at the forefront of it.
Some of our new tools will be client-facing, including chatbots and the production of instant draft term sheets for loans. Others will be below the surface, including error checking, risk analysis and valuation tools. None of these tools replace our growing team, but they will speed up the process and mean that we are more efficient, thorough, and productive going forward.
One example of where we have seen how effective AI can be is in the analysis of complex documents and its ability to answer basic questions. Recently, a team member inquired about lending against mobile homes. Our Policy Bot swiftly directed our team to the relevant TAB policy, answering the query in less than five seconds. Prior to the Policy Bot's implementation, this process would have taken minutes of manual searching. Cumulatively, this will represent hours saved for our team every week.
As it is a new concept, AI is often misunderstood and can be seen as having a negative effect on businesses. The Bank of England has launched a review into using AI and machine learning in the financial sector, raising concerns about potential risks to the UK’s financial stability particularly surrounding herding behaviour and increased cyber threats. However, financial firms have used AI and machine learning for at least a decade to detect things such as fraud and money laundering. It is crucial to strike a balance, treating these technologies as tools and looking to maximise their positive impact.
Companies must proactively implement strategies to mitigate risks, such as conducting regular audits to identify and rectify biases in AI systems, and implementing robust data protection measures to ensure user privacy. Additionally, fostering transparency in AI decision-making processes is essential to building trust among stakeholders and ensuring responsible AI usage.
For our business, the challenges are even more acute. One of our values is that we are personal and we always go the extra mile to provide a best in class service to our customers, providing a personal touch.
So how does a client-facing chatbot fit my values with that? Well, the answer is that I am integrating AI across my business. The chatbot knows me and my customers very well. We have built and trained a model that is secure and tailored to our needs. It speeds up communication and knows when to get the team back involved. This is not the same as going through an outsourced call centre somewhere you may never have heard of. This is a tool we have spent months refining to offer better service. It's an extension of our team and will ensure that the overall service our clients get is better than ever.
AI, in its current state, can never truly replace humans as it often cannot explain its logic, which can hinder understanding, trust, validation, accountability, and responsibility. In most cases, technology is unable to validate its choices and use intuitive judgement and reasoning to make decisions. Instead, it should only be used as a tool that allows people to concentrate on tasks requiring human input. For lenders, this translates to quicker deal completion, better access to information, increased output for customers, enhanced productivity, and ultimately more profit and a competitive edge in the market.
The integration of AI into business operations offers immense potential for enhancing efficiency, productivity, and customer service. However, the true value lies in understanding that AI is not meant to replace human expertise but rather to complement and augment it. There is no stopping the AI train, our task is to foster a culture where we can harness the full potential of AI while maintaining the essential human touch in customer service and decision-making processes.