Could an Artificial Intelligence System Be Your Business’ Next Employee?

Steve Mason Clicksoftware
Hiring staff is a massive decision for businesses of any size. This is particularly true when it comes to employing support staff that don’t always contribute directly to the bottom line, but provide hugely valuable assistance.

It’s a service that impacts the work of executives and workers alike, but not always a position that’s in the budget. But what if you could find a way to employ automated software and devices that can help existing staff to become more productive? We are already seeing the ability of artificial intelligence (AI) to do monotonous or repetitive tasks, freeing up staff to do other, more complex and important jobs.

AI’s potential in the business world

Since the late John McCarthy coined the term AI in 1955, it has taken on several different forms, many of which we are likely to have encountered, or even used, without even thinking or knowing about it. Driven by the mobility and the massive computing power we now have with our smart devices, along with the sheer scale and impact of cloud computing and big data, AI is going mainstream.

Take for example Siri or Google Now. These are services many are aware of and may even use on a daily basis. Yet most of us probably don’t even consider these to be a form of AI, though they absolutely are. But there is so much room for this to expand and be incorporated further into business.

The potential uses of AI have been around for many years and only now as it is being widely used by consumers, employees and business to make your everyday decisions and tasks easier, can we see the bigger potential turning into reality. Smart devices, which are fast becoming the route to market for AI products, are everyday pieces of equipment for most workers, meaning businesses have an instant ability to adopt an AI policy that can benefit their organisation and staff.

How AI can help your business today

The average number of sick days in the UK in 2013 was estimated to be over nine days, costing businesses £28bn. However, with AI, if a supervisor or manager receives a sick notification, it will instantly provide recommendations for employee replacements for a shift, based on lowest cost and matching skills before the manager even arrives at work – saving the business time and money.

AI can also help to grow, as well as sustain, a business. Planning is always key, and companies that add AI to their systems can significantly improve this and reduce the burden on staff to do things they simply shouldn’t have to spend time doing, such as timesheets or data entry.

AI also has a significant impact on the customer. If a cable technician is running late, the back office systems or the technician is able to communicate in real-time with the customer on the estimated time of arrival. This means the customer will have up-to-the-minute information and can plan their day accordingly, without having to wait around.

Still room for improvement

However, AI is not completely faultless yet. Inevitably, there are one or two ghosts in the machine that crop up from time to time. But given the technology is relatively new, that can only be expected. So building in an acceptance of this is important. However the good thing about AI is that the more it is used, the more sophisticated it will become, decreasing the likelihood of a rogue mistake occurring.

Employee resource issues may not be simply a case of hiring a new member of staff in the future, – we may need to throw an AI option into the mix.

This piece was written by Steve Mason, Vice President, EMEA, ClickSoftware

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