Recession Proof: Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Cognitive Computing

In a previous post, we talked about Recession-Proof: Silver Linings, the article discussed how recessions are almost an incubator for Innovation. Innovation takes a business objective and accomplishes that objective in a new way that the industry hasn't see or embraced. In that article, we looked back at when Ford combined automobile manufacturing with the assembly line. In less than ten years, Ford owned 50% of world-wide car manufacturing. One point, in the article, was that to be innovative didn't require inventing new technologies.

During this recession, we already see an old technology (initially described as telecommuting) now reinvented as Unified Communication. Unified communication may just change the landscape of business. By eliminating the need for the capital investment required for housing information workers. (Check the article to learn more.) A more recent and intriguing technology is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Most recessions begin with large corporations laying off a percentage of the workforce. With fewer workers, the remaining workers handle two or three roles. Management usually says to the workforce, "… and we need to get together and Do More with Less." Artificial Intelligence is the ultimate tool for "…doing more with less."

You may have heard of the Peter Principle,

"… members of a hierarchy are promoted until they reach the level at which they are no longer competent."

How do you quantify and measure your management team? Is it possible to measure and compared two CEOs? Twenty years ago, the answer would have been no. Today, thanks to cloud-based AI programs, we can measure and analyze any manager in any organization, including the CEO. Quantifying managerial skill is the premise of our first AI program. You might ask, "Why is this important?"

Let me share an example: When buying a business, buyers want proven and stable business systems. The buyer doesn't want to reinvent the wheel, preferring a company that will still make money after the owner has left. The more stable the business systems, the more successful the transition to the new owner(s) will be. Buyers will pay a premium for a business that is not dependent on the owner for its ongoing success. Considering that only 1 in 4 business transitions are successful, finding companies with stable business processes are challenging to find.

What if there was a way to evaluate a business so that 1 in 3 times the transition was successful. Any business investor would have an edge. Unfortunately, when calculating by hand, the math for calculating a single business can take 40 hours to assess one organization. Compare 500 or 600 organizations inside a local zip code, can take 20,000 hours. Performing the analysis by hand using a spreadsheet application can be labor-intensive. The AI program can analyze 500, 600, or even 1000 companies in less than 3 seconds. Reducing 20,000 hours of work into 3 seconds is the power of AI.

The business value of AI?

Here is what we learned with demoing our AI Program. Businesses do a lot of spreadsheet work. Some departments do far more than 20,000 hours of spreadsheet work in a week. By eliminating the need for people to do the same spreadsheet tasks over and over again, is the real business value of AI for many people. During a recession, this becomes far more important for the business owner. An employee making the company $100,000 per year can now make the company $500,000 per year, especially when the result is at a much higher quality level.

An AI implementation

An AI implementation means capturing tribal knowledge before it walks out the door. Then programing that expertise into the AI. The AI can then curate the company resource information. Management identifies the triggers and follow-up processes. The processes can be automated for the AI to follow or sent to an individual (like a salesperson, accountant, or truck driver). The last piece is the reporting to the individual employee, customer, and manager that should be involved.

Think about 15-minute processes. How many processes are there each week for each customer?

  • For ten customers, that is about 2 hours a month.
  • For 100 customers, It is one full-time employee.
  • For an AI, this is less than 3 seconds.

Now imagine how many 15 minute tasks there are in 40 hours? (160 tasks) Now imagine the cost of an employee for 40 hours. If half those tasks could be automated using an AI, then we double the productivity of each employee.


During the recession, there will be businesses that are hibernating through the recession. There will be those that will fail. Then there will be those that thrive during the bad times. When the economic expansion does come, those that thrive become the industry leaders. The hibernators will finally wake up and find that they are playing catch-up. The problem is they fired their workforce and are rooted in debt from hibernating through the bad times. Which means their business valuation is too low to borrow more.

This article demonstrates how new businesses, starting in a recession, become the industry leaders, and the old favorites fall behind.

Check out these other articles for more technologies that will probably explode during this recession. In the process, take our economy to the next economic expansion.

Recession-Proof: Recession-Proof: Silver Linings

Recession-Proof: Recession-Proof: Unified Communication

Recession-Proof: Artificial Intelligence

Recession-Proof: CRM

Topics: Business Transition IT Due Diligence EBITDA Mutliplier unified communication artificial intelligence