Artificial intelligence (AI) has moved out of the realm of science fiction and become an integral part of everyday life. From intelligent algorithms that can make perfectly targeted recommendations to programs that can hold conversations and even write poetry, AI is everywhere. And yet, in my many conversations with finance leaders, I am always asked, “… but how do I leverage it in my company?”
AI and the artificial intelligence of things (AIoT) are disrupting the world of business in a big way, making big waves in the workplace as a result. Businesses are using AI in several areas to transform their operations, and it looks like it will be a major factor in shaping the future of the workplace.
AI has a firm foothold in areas like data analysis and the automation of routine tasks. The applications of this have been far reaching, from scanning the skies for new planets to revolutionizing accountancy software in the UK.
But, as AI technology advances and improves, it’s likely AI will make even further inroads into our daily lives and transform the workplace we know in a very short amount of time.
Read on to discover the areas in which AI is currently being used and the ways in which it can transform businesses and shape the future of the workplace:
AI can automate routine tasks and increase productivity
For a long time, ‘work’ has been synonymous with ‘drudgery.’ It’s almost impossible to think of a job or position that doesn’t have at least a bit of mindless admin or repetitive work that makes hour after dull hour.
Until now, that is.
Increasingly, AI is able to take on routine tasks, freeing up human workers to concentrate on more interesting and productive work. More importantly, AI-powered software can eliminate the risk of human error whilst providing detailed data analysis, as they take in large amounts of information about your business to identify patterns and trends.
You can apply this to numerous areas across a business, from project management software that helps to minimize redundant work to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software that will monitor product inventory, carry-out financial reporting, and analyze customer activity.
The key here is to make sure that staff understand the tools they have and are able to get the most out of them. Whether this means dividing your ERP implementation into stages, having multiple training days to explain your project management software, or just assigning a “new tech expert” to take the lead and be able to answer any questions.
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Tap into AR and VR training and collaboration
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) can provide training experiences that place the trainee into the environments and situations they will be dealing with. It’s immersive and effective but lacks the risk of sending trainees out to learn by practicing on your actual customers and systems.
For example, VR can be used to help trainees learn to handle tricky situations and interactions. While role-plays are useful to a certain extent, there is nothing like coming face to face with an angry customer and having to handle their complaint on your own.
VR can provide a more engrossing experience without risking your trainee making a real-life situation any worse.
Similarly, AR allows trainees to familiarize themselves with tools and techniques that they may use in their work without having to assign them actual tools until they are ready. This reduces the risk to your trainees and optimizes your allocation of tools and equipment.
Use AI to improve employee management
Employee management often involves a lot of tedious admin. Whether that’s managing vacation time, payslips, or employee performance there is a lot involved with employee management outside of those all-important social interactions.
This is where AI comes in, as it takes over much of that admin and can even flag up potential problems in real-time.
For example, an AI trained to recognize certain keywords can alert call center management when those words are used on a call. Managers can then listen in and determine whether or not they need to intervene.
AI can also help with employee management by:
- Syncing calendars.
- Creating and managing workflows.
- Gathering and analyzing data.
- Spotting productivity patterns.
- Providing ongoing training and support
AI-powered predictive analytics helps make better decisions
Predictive analytics—the art of using past data to forecast things like future sales, trends, and employment patterns—is vital for decision-making. Nonetheless, gathering and analyzing all that data is laborious and time-consuming.
AI can make predictive analytics much faster and far more accurate than has ever been possible. Furthermore, AI is able to blend your past data with that of competitors, the wider market, and current trends to produce a deeply nuanced and trustworthy forecast.
These forecasts can be used to power dynamic decision-making. Predictive AI enables companies to make more ambitious decisions and push the envelope further than ever with less inherent risk. With AI-powered predictive analysis, even the most ambitious decisions can be backed up by solid, data-driven information.
Although you can never entirely predict the future of commerce, you can use AI predictions to make a reasonably granular and nuanced roadmap for the next few quarters.
Boost the customer experience with AI-powered chatbots
Chatbots get a bad reputation. That said, when you dig down into the data, it turns out this reputation is based on unfounded prejudice. AI-powered chatbots are actually fantastic for the customer experience.
AI-powered chatbots use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to simulate a realistic and intuitive conversational experience. They are capable of answering customer questions and solving customer problems quickly and effectively.
This benefits the customer in several ways:
- The customer does not have to wait in line for a call center operative to become available.
- The customer gains agency to solve their own problems at speed.
- Chatbots can provide service outside of usual business hours, meaning the customer can solve their problems instantly without having to wait for your help center to open.
- Chatbots can help you to scale your customer service operations by taking over the handling of repetitive, routine questions. This frees up your team to work on more complex issues, which in turn makes sure that the standard of service your customers receive will be much higher.
Drive business insights with AI-powered data processing
For some time, concerns have been growing about the gap between data experts and business users and leaders. Data experts cannot always work as fast as business leaders need them to, and business leaders cannot necessarily understand the needs and methods of data experts.
Modern businesses have a wealth of data. So much, in fact, that insights can become buried beneath the sheer weight of data or lost in endless spreadsheets and slide decks.
The result of this is what business analysts refer to as the ‘Why Gap’: while we have more than enough data to tell us what is going on, working out the why has become a case of being unable to see the wood for the trees. But AI can bridge that gap by taking all that data and making it easy to analyze and understand.
This has given access to insights that would have previously been unavailable, like the previously mentioned ERP software which takes data from across an entire business, providing a powerful planning tool. Whether you use this or another form of business analytics, you can use AI to quickly work through the data available and pull useful patterns from the forest of data.
This enables businesses to draw vital insights much faster and with much less confusion.
AI is making waves in every aspect of human life. From ‘Smart homes’ that can adjust their temperature and lighting in response to ambient conditions to astronomers collecting vast amounts of data that help us understand our universe.
AI science is picking up the pace and transforming pretty much everything on a fundamental level. Businesses can also massively benefit from AI, as it helps to:
- Draw sophisticated insights.
- Enhance marketing campaigns.
- Make granular forecasts that can be used to build roadmaps for future strategy.
- Enhance the customer experience through improved business intelligence, 24/7 chatbot services, and more.
- Provide immersive AR and VR training whenever needed.
- Undertake routine employee management tasks.
- Automate routine admin tasks and improve both job satisfaction and productivity in the process.
All in all, AI is transforming the workplace in multiple ways, and that transformation is set to pick up the pace in the near future.
If you want to take advantage of the AI revolution and grow your business smarter, it’s important that you pick the right tools and platforms. There are plenty of choices out there, and new AI specializations are appearing all the time, so don’t be afraid to shop around.