The enterprises of today are raising the competitive bar by leveraging various forms of artificial intelligence. From virtual assistants and chatbots to deep learning and intelligent automation, companies are transforming how they operate. Leveraging these advanced technologies successfully, however, requires that the C-suite plays a pivotal role in identifying opportunities, risks and challenges, in particular, what type of impact it will have on the people and processes currently in place.
A recent study by McKinsey which analyzed over 2,000 work activities across 800 different occupations. The study found that 30 percent of what 60 percent of occupations involve could easily be automated. In fact, 5 percent of occupations could be automated entirely. As a result, more and more businesses are experimenting with the various forms of AI technology available to do everything from improve efficiency and forecasting to assisting with key decision-making activities.
One of the biggest impacts intelligent automation has had on the C-suite is the increasing scope of responsibility. Today’s executives are no longer solely responsible for managing people. They’re now expected to manage a new workforce of people and intelligent machines operating in tandem. They must also come to the realization that AI and intelligent automation are no longer just IT initiatives, but something that should be approached from a company-wide perspective. It’s a whole new world.
Regardless of where an organization happens to be in its journey, here are a few ways that intelligent automation is already having an impact on the C-suite.
Shift in Mindset
As the partnerships between humans and machines continue to grow and evolve, the very definition of “business as usual” also continues to shift. Technology is being used to automate more and more functions, streamlining departments across the enterprise, including finance, HR and procurement. Executives must take on a new viewpoint of labor, proactively pursuing ways to augment their workforce with artificial intelligence.
Opportunities Weighed with Risks
Intelligent automation is facilitating exciting new, competitive opportunities. These opportunities, however, are not without risk. C-suite players must thoroughly weigh both in order to avoid the unexpected and mitigate potential damages. When considering the adoption of a new technology, leaders need to examine their overarching goals and gain an accurate understanding of the implications that technology could potentially have on the company, its customers and its shareholders.
The Age of Hyper-Agility
Most executives are already well aware of the need for agility in order to remain relevant and competitive. But in today’s climate, simple agility won’t cut it anymore. By utilizing AI and intelligent automation, organizations can achieve a greater degree of adaptability and gain even deeper, more meaningful insights into customer preferences and behaviors. This will enable more data-driven decisions.
Eyes Wide Open
One obstacle many business leaders face when implementing intelligent automation is a lack of in-depth knowledge about the process they are trying to automate. The keys to successful automation adoption is good planning and proper communication. Mapping out precisely what is to be automated, tracking the current status and initiating the next steps. It simply cannot be viewed statically, but rather with an eye that is constantly trained on change.
Careful with Assumptions
Some companies approach intelligent automation from the viewpoint of workforce reduction when, in reality, it’s more about workforce evolution. For instance, a leader might assume a reduction of 50% of his or her staff with the rollout of automation. But, who will build out the workflows? Who will oversee and quality assure the process? Who will run projects and initiatives that are spawned as a result of the automation? The goal of intelligent automation shouldn’t be replacing humans, but rather making them better at what they do.
Without question, AI and intelligent automation are revolutionizing how organizations compete. In order to be successful in this respect, however, those operating in the C-suite must step up to the plate and be willing to consider a much broader spectrum that extends far beyond technology alone.
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