The workforce is not just the backbone of a business but also of the economy of a city. It is said that if the workforce is highly skilled, it could significantly impact the growth of an economy. Undoubtedly, this factor is another opportunity for cities to transform into smart cities.
This is the rising era of artificial intelligence. And according to reports, if businesses leverage the benefits of AI for a competitive edge, they could gain a unique position in the marketplace. However, to incorporate AI into business operations, it is important that the workforce is familiar with it. Hence, the first step to bringing AI to the business environment is by skilling the workforce – a cognitive collaboration between human and AI.
While some believe that working along with AI could be daunting, some are positive towards the future of human-AI collaboration. To add more clarity to what AI can bring to businesses, we have discussed some of the visible benefits of AI that have been researched to be beneficial.
Embracing AI Will Be A Crucial Step
G Suite, Salesforce, and Workday are business applications that have incorporated AI into their business operations. However, they haven’t replaced humans with AI. Instead, they’ve freed up some valuable time for workers so that they can be more creative and focus on innovation and the higher value activities.
AI will push a new trend in businesses and enable workers to focus on the aspects that can benefit them and the customers on an everyday basis. Furthermore, it also gives opportunity and the freedom to the workforce to enhance their skills. This is because the tasks which are time-consuming and mundane will be handled by the artificial intelligence.
From the business perspective, companies will become more productive. This plus point could be used in investing more time and money to engage with the workforce. It will usher in a dynamic company culture while keeping the retention rates high – helping workers to learn new things and also convert the unproductive hours into something productive.
Ultimately, a better work experience can improve customer experience. More happy workers bring more happy customers.
This kind of transformation ensures that the office space interacts closely with the employee working behavior. The real-time information will also ensure that each employee is provided a better experience at the individual level.
All in all, AI will help to make each employee happier and more relaxed which ultimately has a positive impact on work performance. And all this together will serve as potential benefits for the business.
What Research Indicates?
The global professional service firm, Accenture recently, released a report, ‘Reworking the Revolution: Are you ready to compete as intelligent technology meets human ingenuity to create the future workforce?’ The report surveyed the senior executives of the communications industry to find out their opinion on adopting artificial intelligence in the business. Before we move on to what the survey reveals, Accenture report suggests that it is crucial for the communications service providers to take steps to organise and reskill their workforces to collaborate with artificial intelligence if they are to draw advantages from the significant growth opportunities the technology has to offer.
Accenture predicts that if communications industry invests in human-AI collaboration, they could raise the revenues by 46% in the next five years and enhance employment by 21%.
Now coming to the survey findings, 77% of the senior executives in the communications industry believe that embracing the AI and other intelligent technologies will be critical to their business’ ability to position themselves differently in the market.
In spite of the increasing use of AI and automation in the communications industry, 73% of the senior executives respond that they expect to automate tasks and processes in the coming three years. Among them, 63% of the respondents anticipate that artificial intelligence can create more jobs rather than eliminating.
Going further, 63% of the employees in the communications industry believe that AI and intelligent technologies will have a positive effect on their work. While 77% of them expect that AI will help them save time on their tasks, 66% of them responded that AI will enable a better balance between work and life.
Throughout the survey, an increasing optimism was witnessed among the respondents. Despite the fact, only 25% of the senior executives said that the workforce is ready to collaborate and work with AI. Employees together with the senior executives agree that reskilling the workforce is a major challenge that is acting as a barrier to adopting the intelligent change.
Only 6% of the senior executives plan to increase investment for the upskilling of the workforce. 47% of the workers and 43% of the senior executives revealed that time constraint during the working hours is one of the major barriers to developing new skills.
These challenges need to be addressed by the senior executives immediately. According to the research, it is found that while planning for an intelligent workforce, the senior executives are already preceding with advanced workforce planning to redefine the roles within the company. More than 56% of senior executives have already taken initiatives to redesign jobs within the company to some extent. While additional 32% of the respondents have already done it to a greater extent.
Communications service providers are taking several bold initiatives to attain increased momentum, agility and efficiency.
Key Recommendations From Accenture
Although there is an ocean of opportunities to leverage AI and other intelligent technology, the businesses will have to master the application of AI and implementation of AI and humans working together in a different way. And so it is crucial for business leaders to reskill workforce according to the new business model and also invest in workforce upskill programs.
The full potential of AI can be achieved by combining human capability with that of the AI to resolve complex challenges in businesses, create innovative products and services and transform or reshape the existing market trend. Hence, to accomplish this Accenture provides three key recommendations to venture on the future journey with AI.
1. Reimagine work – evaluate the tasks and processes involved in accomplishing every operation. Then allocate tasks to AI and the workforce while focusing on balancing the need to automate work and to enhance workers’ performance and capabilities.
2. Move Towards Innovation – Businesses should focus on areas that shift a corporate culture from being transactional to being innovative. Having assessed where AI can be of help, the workers should be redirected where they are most resourceful. So that they can focus their energy, capability and time in giving the business higher value.
3. Upskill the workforce – Invest in new ways that can be used in reskilling the workforce so that they can work with the new technology most effectively. The focus should also be on equipping employees to work with AI at all the levels.
In the end, taking the broader context in the view, skilling the workforce to work efficiently and smartly with AI is not just critical for businesses but also for the smart cities. Because smart cities itself are equipping the urban space with the intelligent technologies, providing people with a smart infrastructure that is ready to enhance their way of working, living and relaxing. So even as citizens, we will need to learn to collaborate with AI in every walk of life – perhaps in the near future. Don’t you think?