Technological developments in today’s world, such as automation, robotics, and Artificial Intelligence at Work – allow companies to expand and stay competitive. It has become clear that the possibilities these developments generate will shape the future of the organization.
Through more agility, resilience, and responsiveness, embracing automation and AI opens opportunities to meet existing and new business goals. Employees will still be an important part of the equation; however, ensuring that they remain happy and efficient would require creating an atmosphere in which AI and automation are viewed not as a challenge but as reliable and useful tools. Becoming an AI-powered enterprise requires behavioral change as well as technological investment.
Automation and Artificial Intelligence at Work
It is possible to illustrate the effect of AI and automation by researching the transition from a very manual company to one that deploys AI. Consider the following scenario and see how both business operations and customer experience are affected by AI and automation.
Imagine a delivery business for several large retail customers in a mid-size city that handles all the e-commerce orders. The delivery company would have been based mainly upon manual processes in the early days of online shopping. They’d plan routes for drivers and manually calculate the number of drops per day. A print-out of their route, itinerary, and the slides they would make will be given to drivers.
While the customers know what day their delivery is going to come, they don’t know when they might wait for hours during that day. If the driver faces an unforeseen wait, the whole day’s workload may be thrown off. Company activities do not (and won’t) stay this way, though. A data- and Artificial Intelligence at Work delivery business will monitor and adjust the best routes if traffic or weather conditions become troublesome, thereby ensuring delivery times. It can also alert both driver and customer in real-time, keeping both updated about changing routes and requirements about delivery time.
With automated AI in place, customers can request a change of delivery at the time of notification, saving the driver’s time, keeping the package securely, and preventing a costly failed delivery. This has the added advantage of helping to improve the relationship between the customer and the seller and the delivery firm and creates a potential for a new market opportunity – where flexible delivery times and change options will attract premiums.
Carefully Customized Transformation
Organizations typically develop their business operating models based on processes that dictate the beginning and endpoints of each activity. Instead, a model that pulls in data-based insights will enable people, resources, infrastructure, and analytics to be used to affect the model better. Strong judgment and intuition also played a part in decision-making. Adding data and analytics to the mix ensures organizational intelligence is the foundation for those.
As organizations are in a situation to collect more and more data from forecasting scenarios and informing decisions, the observations and conclusions are likely to be more accurate and reliable. Sales statistics, customer feedback, equipment efficiency, product returns, and more can all be measured and fed into an improvement cycle.
While many manual operations are ripe for complete automation, many more would be ideal for partial automation, wherewith the implementation of AI and human intervention elements of manual processes are enhanced. That can leave more time for people to devote to things that add substantially more value to the company, and that cannot be automated so readily.
A data-driven and AI-powered enterprise can include several more ways to add value to the company, well beyond merely churning through a to-do list of functions. For e.g., in a typical past finance office, you’d have seen a team of people juggling through piles of paper invoices that needed to be entered, processed, and ultimately paid into a ledger. This repeatable function is the perfect candidate for automation. People who no longer need to process documents, for example, maybe redirected to work on credit-control activities, helping to safeguard the organization’s cash flow.
Instead of tasks and outputs, the focus needs to turn to outcomes. Determine where the efforts and intelligence of individuals are most likely to add value and focus there. At the same time, they recognize that some people may be nervous because they might have faced so much job-related transition. This will be an essential factor for creating a more optimistic and open community. As some roles can go away, these changes may give rise to new characters. Make it a priority to speak to them about changing positions, jobs, and the organization. It may have become a cliché to claim that people are a business’s greatest assets, but it is real, and they must not be underestimated as AI starts playing a more prominent part.
While technology continues to move and improve how we work, the role of human employees remains the same – both in promoting the transition as well as helping to achieve business goals. Adding AI and automation may sound daunting to people who fear the loss of their jobs, but implementing new technologies needs to walk in the lock with change management that embraces a corporate culture that respects its workers.