Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the form of ‘Larry, the Digital Analyst’ will soon be relied upon for various sales and marketing functions within Detmold Group, a South Australian family owned and operated manufacturer of paper and board-based packaging products.
The Detmold Group employs 2500 people in offices and factories worldwide and has been operating since 1948.
“As an innovator in the packaging industry, the Detmold Group is always seeking new ways to deliver maximum value and service to our growing base of customers,” Detmold Group CEO, Alf Ianniello, said in a statement.
“Given the rise of artificial intelligence and big data analytics in recent years, we are keen to explore what’s possible in this exciting new field using cloud-based software applications developed by Complexica.”
Complexica managing director, Matt Michalewicz, the creative inventor of Larry, told CMO the digital assistant works much like ‘Siri’ but is designed to answer complex business questions via natural language. Questions could include ‘tell me which customers to target? With what combination of products? At what individualised price?’.
Complexica’s foundation customers are PFD and Liquor Marketing Group, and it now has close to 20 customers on its books including Detmold.
Asked how Larry works, Michalewicz said the AI-based computational engine can perform complex data analysis to help sales and marketing staff quickly generate answers and insights that would take teams of human experts a long time to produce. He also compared it to CRM for sales people, which is driven entirely by AI, and could answer queries such as who to call on and when, and with what individualised message or offer?
“Using artificial intelligence to quickly shift through very large amounts of data and convert generic information into specific knowledge is fundamentally changing the face of sales and marketing functions in many industries,” he said.
“I believe being smart with data and using it to add value for your customers is going to be one of the major themes of the next five years. Hence, we look forward to working with the Detmold Group to explore how Larry, the Digital Analyst can be used to automatically capture data, analyse it, and deliver actionable insights to sales and marketing staff across the business.”
Michalewicz said Larry is configured to each new business and learns what problems and opportunities each business wants to optimise. Since the software is cloud based, users can access Larry on mobile devices including a tablet or smartphone.
At its core, Larry is made up of many adaptive algorithms that perform certain tasks, such as collecting data from various sources, checking its integrity, reformatting it when necessary, and combining it with other data. When applied to a specific problem or domain, Larry enables data-driven decisions at a fraction of the time and cost of human experts, he said. Larry can also set up promotions, optimise pricing, and monitor sales and margin performance.
Created in response to market demand, Larry solves a main problem that businesses are facing in terms of dealing with complex data analysis, Michalewicz said. “The idea for the product came out of hundreds of face-to-face interviews with managers and executives in large companies.”
Calling it exciting times, he said this emerging market offers countless opportunities. “Our software uses artificial intelligence and big data to increase the effectiveness of salespeople - this is a very new area,” he added.