Imagine the scene: your employees are hard at work, and they’re more productive than ever. They’ve got way more time to spend on big-picture thinking. And they can work with data in new and exciting ways, driving innovative ideas and stronger business outcomes for your organisation. This could be the future with AI.
It’s a fact that 28% of e-tail employees fear their job could be taken over by AI. But what business leaders and employees need to realise is that this fear is completely unfounded. AI isn’t here to replace anybody. In fact, it can’t work without you. It’s here to augment the intelligence and ingenuity already at work in your business. So you and your people can do more, achieve more, and drive better results.
AI has great potential to assist humanity, but not all things should – or need to be – automated. Companies that figure out the ‘should’, outperform the ‘can’ companies by 10 percent. They’re 13 percent more likely to ensure responsible use and 22 percent more likely to have a culture of transparency.
Empowerment, not replacement
When applied and managed well, AI won’t make your people feel powerless. It’ll empower them. Because AI can take the manual, human effort out of routine tasks like data collection and entry. And with all that free time, your people can add value in other ways – through re- or upskilling and innovative tasks that develop them and the business.
And in an age when employees are increasingly looking for highly fulfilling working lives, this could prove invaluable. These AI-empowered jobs are attractive to new employees and are an incredible tool for retaining talent. Skilled employees are proven to be 8.4 percent more productive and organisations that offer ongoing training have higher retention.
Very simply, AI enables people to do the kind of work they love doing. That’s something talented individuals will stick around for.
Human ingenuity, amplified
AI is great at handling large volumes of simple and often repetitive tasks. Your people excel at manageable volumes of complex and often unique tasks. Together, they can both focus on the things they do best.
But it’s not just about changing the volume and type of work humans spend their time managing. In many cases, AI also makes it easier for people to collect more reliable and complete data from around the business. With that data in hand, they can make faster, better informed decisions than ever before.
According to LV=, 20 percent of accidents fall into a grey area in who is to blame. Customers faced a long journey to settlement, often with employees spending large amount of time on it. Using their data alongside AI, they’ve lowered the ‘grey area’ to 3.9 percent. Not only do customers get clarity quicker, but it also reduces the time employees spend dealing with third party claims.
AI presents your people with complete information. Insights that inspire ingenuity. And opportunities to ask better questions of their data. And get more reliable answers.
AI in action
So in customer service, an AI chatbot can handle lots of questions. It pulls answers from the knowledge base you’ve set up. And it can resolve a lot of customer issues almost instantly. This means your employees don’t have to spend all their time answering the same questions. Of course, anything too complex gets escalated to an employee, where they can make a real difference.
For example, Cami, Dixon Carphone’s chatbot helps customers with general questions, and helps customers and employees with stock checks and creating an omnichannel experience.
Thanks to machine learning, when customers share data with you, all that complex information can be pulled together in clever ways. Instead of an employee or data scientist spending time combing through your data, machine learning brings it to scale quickly. With the help of Power BI, you can create a whole range of visually appealing reports. The result? Easy to consume information about customer habits that can inform better business decisions.
And in the warehouse, you can use AI to understand when you should order more products to meet demand. So instead of carrying out manual stock management, your people can look at the bigger picture – and help improve supply chain operations.
AI isn’t here to take jobs. It’s here to make them better. When applied in the right way, with the support of the right partner, AI elevates and empowers people, helping them do more of the work they truly love.
It’s also important to remember that AI is an extremely open ended technology. Much like your people, AI is what you make of it. If you want to empower employees and help them do more, it can do that. And it can do that in the way that works best for your people – and your business.
Learn more about how AI is amplifying human ingenuity in e-tail
 Maximising the AI opportunity, Microsoft 2018