The digital workplace continues to get smarter. Whether it’s AI-powered virtual assistants, self-healing systems, or common software with predictive features, reports show that 20 percent of workers will be enjoying the benefits of AI by the year 2022.
Despite some misconceptions, a major segment of the workforce is already on board with the new technology. Information technology professionals understand how beneficial AI is to the workforce and can act as its biggest advocates. These forward-thinking product engineers and technical leaders have a clear picture of how AI can help improve the employee experience — and organizational leaders have noticed how the technology can significantly augment business operations.
Workers have nothing to fear from AI and automation. According to a McKinsey study, less than 5 percent of jobs can be entirely automated. Smart technology is a positive thing for the workforce and serves as a helpful partner to humans.
How AI becomes an ally
Organizational leaders need to make sure that they are implementing AI-powered solutions strategically for the technology to be a helpful ally and justify its cost. So when considering smart technology solutions, leaders must ensure that the technology helps their employees get what they need to do their jobs better.
In many cases, when smart technology is successful, the average employee won’t experience a dramatic change to their day. That’s because when AI and automation are deployed correctly, tasks are easier and applications are more efficient on the back end. In fact, smart technology can be something as simple as connecting disparate data points, like navigation apps that provide destination suggestions.
Smart technology helps with simple functions, like suggesting a folder for a presentation deck or finding the most up-to-date customer information. While at first glance these tasks may not seem like high-level applications, it’s in the aggregate that smart technology shines. Saving seconds adds up for employees who perform these tasks on a daily — if not hourly — basis.
Assisting employees with unfamiliar tasks
Beyond speeding up familiar processes, smart technology excels at helping employees master unfamiliar tasks. Organizations update and maintain a large number of technology assets: cell phones, virtual meeting software, laptops, CRM tools, and many other integrated technologies. The list is much too long to expect employees to master and remaster continually.
But business processes depend on these technologies, which presents AI with an opportunity to step in and do great things in IT — like supporting an integrated configuration management database (CMDB) and service desk. Within these platforms, AI can more effectively identify larger problems from similar IT support tickets and minimize their impact by being proactive.
Smart technology assists IT teams on the front end as well. When employees are unable to access an application or are having problems logging in, the AI-powered service desk provides suggestions for solutions that they can deploy themselves and get back to work quicker.
Both on the back end and the front end, smart technology is an incredible asset for IT departments and helps them proactively maintain technology and services for the organization. The individual roles within the IT team have not been altered, but how these employees plan, prepare and react has been significantly augmented.
Predicting employees’ accepted inconveniences
Before major cities installed public bike programs, the concept of readily available, app-powered bicycles at convenient locations was just a dream. The options were, you either owned a bike or you had to rent one — both accepted inconveniences. Just like city leaders, it’s a major responsibility for organizational leadership to have a pulse on the pain points, or accepted inconveniences, of their employees and then install the technology necessary to mediate them.
Employees don’t always take the most efficient route to perform tasks. When experiencing a technical problem on their computer, they might first ignore it and try to work through it, then try to find the solution or contact the IT service team. However, if they had a service portal, they could type keywords related to the problem into the platform and receive a suggested link to the answer. Rather than taking hours or weeks to solve, smart technology enables an answer to common issues within minutes.
Small, accepted inconveniences become an issue when they pile up throughout the day. Smart technology assists employees with these issues and equips the teams on the back end with the technology necessary to answer a high volume of requests with zero-touch answers.
Smart technology works best with humans
The future of the workplace is an environment where both human and digital components create an ideal employee experience. Integrating smart technology into employees’ everyday tasks and activities has the potential to increase efficiency across the entire organization exponentially. When you combine the benefits of AI with the essential human traits like creativity and emotion, you’ll discover a workplace that can operate at its highest potential and employees that follow suit.