artificial intelligence

AI analytics explained: How it works and key industry use cases

As the digital economy becomes the economy, companies leading with analytics are outpacing competitors, seeing revenue grow while their peers remain flat or contract. Leveraging data to inform decisions across the organization is key to winning in today’s business landscape. 

As data volumes explode, however, the most successful companies are breaking from the business analytics paradigms of the past. Instead of relying on pixel perfect dashboards painstakingly curated by a team of data experts, companies leading their industries are using AI analytics to go further and empower everyone with data-driven decision making. From natural language search and predictive capabilities to generative AI explaining insights as they emerge, the applications for AI in the world of data promise to fundamentally change how companies understand, measure, and act on their business. Doing so, however, requires understanding the vast potential of this technology, how it works, and potential benefits and use cases.  In this post, we'll look at the definition of AI analytics, the four core pillars you should be aware of, and how to take this from experimental tech into real business use cases. 

What is AI Analytics?

AI analytics is an emerging field that brings together the world of artificial intelligence and machine learning with analytics to generate insights, automate processes, deliver predictions, and drive actions that lead to better business outcomes. By combining AI with business intelligence, AI analytics give organizations a more comprehensive view of their operations, customers, competitors, and the market. Users not only understand what happened, but why it happened, what’s likely to happen next, and what might happen if a particular course of action is taken. In doing so, AI analytics enables companies to better manage every facet of their business, from predicting customer behavior and detecting patterns in user behavior, to developing strategies to optimize performance or capitalize on opportunities before competitors do. 

Why is AI Analytics important?

AI analytics is important because it enables organizations to gain insight into customer behavior, identify trends in user activity, and make informed decisions faster. The need to build a data-driven organization at every level has become one of the most important trends in analytics, driving increased interest in using AI as part of a company’s analytics strategy to achieve these goals. The best AI analytics solutions, like ThoughtSpot, pair these sophisticated capabilities with an intuitive, recognizable experience like a search bar so all kinds of users, not just technical users, can reap the benefits. By leveraging the insights from AI, companies can improve their products and services, optimize pricing strategies, increase customer loyalty, and develop more effective marketing strategies. 

The four pillars of AI Analytics

AI analytics incorporates various elements of analytics and artificial intelligence  to deliver a modern data experience.  Some of the most commonly used include:

Natural language processing

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a branch of AI that focuses on enabling machines to understand and interpret human language. NLP techniques are used to analyze text-based data, such as social media posts, customer reviews, and support tickets. NLP can help businesses identify customer sentiment, extract key topics and themes, and classify data based on specific criteria. With the rise of LLMs like GPT 3 and 4, powered in part by massive advancements in transformer architecture, companies are looking for ways to bring the flexibility of natural language to data. Doing so effectively, however, requires pairing natural language processing with a platform that can securely deliver accurate answers your users will actually trust. 

We’re seeing a flood of lightweight ChatGPT integrations in the market right now. What stands out about ThoughtSpot’s work is that it is more than just a cool demo. They have carefully thought through the implications of LLMs for their architecture and user experience - and they have even taken consideration of what IT needs to know in order to provision, secure and govern these features. So yes, it’s a cool demo and a feature many will enjoy using. But it’s also the first serious enterprise implementation I have seen of these LLM features in a mainstream analytics platform.

-Donald Farmer, Principal, TreeHive Strategy

Machine learning

Machine learning involves using algorithms and statistical models to analyze data and make predictions or decisions without explicit instructions. Machine learning algorithms are usually trained on large amounts of data to identify patterns and make predictions. For example, businesses can use machine learning to identify fraud patterns, predict customer churn, or recommend products based on customer preferences. With AI analytics, business users can more easily leverage the hard work data science teams put into building these models.

Neural networks

Neural networks are a type of machine learning algorithm that is inspired by the structure and function of the human brain. Neural networks are composed of layers of interconnected nodes that are designed to process and analyze data. Neural networks can be used for a variety of applications, such as image recognition, speech recognition, and natural language processing.

Deep learning

Deep learning is a subset of neural networks that involves training models on large amounts of data to make accurate predictions or decisions. Deep learning algorithms are capable of processing and analyzing large and complex datasets, making them ideal for applications such as image and speech recognition. Deep learning is a key technology behind many AI applications, including self-driving cars and voice assistants, and relevant for AI analytics, particularly around unstructured data.

Top benefits of using AI Analytics

AI analytics can help all kinds of business people get insights into their data more quickly so they can make better decisions, improve efficiency and productivity, and enhance customer experiences, while freeing the data team from endlessly answering questions from the business to focus on more strategic data initiatives. 

Here are some of the key benefits of AI analytics:

Enhanced decision-making

Data exists to help inform nearly every decision we make in our business lives. However, the challenge of finding them means we often go with our gut, making decisions based on instinct. AI analytics rewrites this equation by making finding insights in data as easy as talking with a colleague that not only answers what happened, but why it happened, and what will likely happen next. By analyzing large amounts of data quickly and accurately, AI analytics can help businesses identify trends, patterns, and outliers that may indicate potential opportunities or risks.

It can also help businesses automate decision-making processes, reducing the time and resources required to make complex decisions. For example, AI-powered fraud detection systems can automatically flag suspicious transactions and alert human analysts for further investigation.

Improved efficiency and productivity

AI analytics can help businesses optimize their operations for greater efficiency and productivity. By automating repetitive tasks and streamlining processes, AI analytics can help businesses save time and resources, especially for data teams who spend too much time tweaking reports and dashboards. For example, with AI analytics, business users can build their own Liveboard, share that with colleagues, and collaborate directly on an insight without requiring the data team to build something new. 

AI analytics can also help businesses identify areas for improvement and optimize their workflows. For example, by analyzing data on employee performance and productivity, businesses can identify areas where training or process improvements may be needed.

Enhanced customer experience

Delighting customers has never been more critical for brands. AI analytics can help businesses improve customer experiences by providing personalized recommendations and improving customer service that may have otherwise been lost in summarized or aggregated data or buried, unnoticed by the system. By analyzing customer analytics data, businesses can identify customer preferences and behaviors, allowing them to tailor their products and services to meet specific customer needs.

5 AI Analytics use cases by industry

Every industry is a data industry today, which is AI analytics has a wide range of applications across various industries. Here are some of the key applications of AI analytics:

1. Healthcare

AI in healthcare is helping physicians and healthcare providers to make better decisions, leading to better patient outcomes while controlling costs. Two key use cases of AI analytics in healthcare are predictive analytics for disease detection and personalized treatment plans.

Predictive analytics for disease detection:

AI-powered healthcare analytics is helping healthcare providers to predict and detect diseases in their patients before they become serious. By analyzing large amounts of anonymized patient data, AI algorithms can identify patterns that may identify a disease state more quickly. This early detection allows for earlier interventions and ultimately better patient outcomes.

Personalized treatment plans:

AI analytics is also being used to develop personalized treatment plans for patients. By analyzing data such as patient medical history, genetics, and lifestyle, AI algorithms can develop targeted treatment plans that are tailored to each patient's specific needs. This personalized approach is leading to better treatment adherence, improved patient outcomes, and higher patient satisfaction.

2. Retail

AI in retail is helping businesses to gain valuable insights into their customers, inventory, and sales trends, turning the sea of data from point of sales, marketing, and ecommerce channels into powerful insights that shape strategy and operations. Two key use cases of AI analytics in retail are inventory management and customer service optimization.

Inventory management

AI analytics is helping retailers to optimize their inventory management. By analyzing data such as sales trends, seasonality, and customer behavior, AI can help retailers to determine the optimal amount of inventory to carry. This reduces the risk of stockout costs rising, leading to more efficient operations, and higher profits.

See how Canadian Tire is leveraging SKU level insights to drive double digit revenue growth with ThoughtSpot

Customer service optimization

AI-powered retail analytics is also being used to optimize customer service in the retail industry. By analyzing customer data such as purchase history, behavior, and feedback, retailers can use AI analytics to uncover insights into what their customers want and need. This enables retailers to personalize their customer service, scale marketing analytics to increase campaign effectiveness, improve customer satisfaction and sales forecasts.

3. Finance and Banking

AI in finance is helping financial institutions to detect fraud and make more informed investment decisions.

Fraud detection

AI-powered financial analytics help financial institutions detect and prevent fraud. By analyzing large amounts of data, including streaming and real-time data, AI algorithms can identify patterns that may indicate fraudulent activity conducted by people and machines. This early detection allows for earlier interventions and ultimately reduces the risk of financial losses, unhappy customers, and uncertain investors.

4. Manufacturing

AI analytics in manufacturing is helping businesses to improve efficiency and reduce downtime.

Predictive maintenance

AI-powered manufacturing analytics is helping manufacturers to predict when equipment is likely to fail so they can intercede before the failure results in delays or impacts customers. By analyzing manufacturing KPIs such as equipment performance, temperature, and vibration, AI algorithms can detect patterns that may indicate a breakdown is imminent. This enables manufacturers to perform preventative maintenance before a breakdown occurs, reducing downtime, and increasing efficiency.

Gain a competitive edge with AI-Powered Analytics

AI analytics is a powerful way to extract key insights from large datasets, charting a new course for data teams and businesses at large as they look to capitalize on the once-in-a-generation opportunity. AI analytics closes the chasm between humans and machines like never before, bringing insights to users before they even know to ask, while letting them endlessly explore until their curiosity is satisfied. 

By deeply understanding the various functions of AI analytics, companies can use its benefits to gain a competitive edge in their respective industries. Whether you are looking for fraud detection or analytical insights on consumer behavior, AI analytics has something to offer everyone. Take advantage of all this technology's great features and sign up for a ThoughtSpot free trial. Take the first step towards unlocking the power of AI-Powered Analytics now.