Use AI to humanize business operations in new era of automation

January 30, 2019 09:31
It is predicted that by 2020, 20 percent of large global enterprises will employ chatbots to interact with candidates for corporate positions before recruiters. Photo: Bloomberg

In 1874, the first commercial typewriters were introduced, and later became a common fixture in offices, leading to the creation of specialist typing pools.

By the 1970s these typing pools were wiped out with the coming of the personal computer and its word processing capability. It allowed everyone not only to be able to type, but also to search for information, communicate, code, go online, create, grow and thrive.

At each inflection point, the prospect of a negative societal shock would always be smoothed out by a wave of new opportunities and value creation.

There’s no doubt in my mind that this will be repeated in the case of artificial intelligence and the onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The promise of even greater automation and intelligence is already being felt in our lives and offices today.

Already the market has seen AI-powered virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon Alexa entering our domestic lives. The next step we predict is these AI voice capabilities infiltrating the office too.

A typical scenario in any office today: the shuffling from one conference call to another, staff frantically trying to locate a dial-in number, access code, the updated related documents.

Imagine simply saying “dial next call” to your virtual assistant and having that scenario completely automated. Personal assistants across the globe may take to the streets in protest but there’s no doubt the benefits would eventually mean the PA job is upskilled and evolves to another level.

In the technology world, the nirvana of fully automated IT systems and on-demand computing has been touted since 2003. But 15 years on, the reality is that IT is still heavily reliant on human input to complete decisions and actions.

But imagine your networks actively sensing that a rogue staff member is copying or deleting sensitive/critical data; it automatically shuts down the staff member and locks down all data. Or visualize your customer service operations being transformed into fully automated intelligent response systems acting as agents – leaving your staff to focus on genuine impactful customer engagements.

AI is already doing these things for businesses today and providing truly customer-centric service enhancements without unnecessary human involvement or interruption.

The latest AI-driven platforms can deliver intelligent recommendations, offers and information so that businesses can rapidly design and automate customer processes.

In human resources, AI is set to revolutionize sourcing of candidates, with Forrester Research predicting that by 2020, 20 percent of large global enterprises will employ chatbots to interact with candidates before recruiters, while virtual recruiting assistants will leverage natural language processing to engage with potential recruits.

AI technology is allowing businesses to move from static and rigid rules-based processes to dynamic behavior-based actions so that systems can act more intelligently and assist in or completely automate decision-making.

The ultimate question for businesses in this rush to automate will be how best to differentiate in this digital era.

Ironically the challenge will be who can be the most human in this tech-driven revolution. Companies that can leverage AI to automate but also to humanize operations will be the champions of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

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APAC Solutions Engineering VP, Salesforce