Talsom Perspective: How Can AI Be Useful to Your Business?
The rise of artificial intelligence (AI), particularly the public launch of ChatGPT, has rekindled the debate over the use of AI, including its various benefits and limitations. Unbeknownst to us, artificial intelligence is already present in our day-to-day lives! Above and beyond its revolutionary impact on multiple industries, how can artificial intelligence be useful to your company and what are its potential ramifications?
Playing Catch-Up: The Technological Debt
Before we even consider developing useful artificial intelligence embedded solutions, it is essential to erase the technological debt that (too) many organizations have racked up. Technological debt is defined by lags or delays in modernizing companies’ infrastructure and systems. These lags are most visible in the hardware and software we use. This debt stems from the initial choice we made, i.e., adopting and maintaining technological solutions without allowing them to evolve. These solutions typically involve software, such as outdated enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, as well as inventory and cash management applications. Inevitably, these solutions cannot meet companies’ emerging needs.
Technological debt is defined by “an accumulated gap or delay relative to an organization’s software (technical debt), consumer experience (CRM and related interfaces), automation of operational flows, data (quality, availability, use and security), as well as to the entirety of devices and computer systems utilized by the organization.”
– Tech Radar 2020.
Currently, nearly 85% of companies are dealing with obsolete systems, exposing them to the consequences of technological debt. In addition to the risks of system failures or paralyzing service outages, technological debt can constitute a security breach.
Technological debt detracts from the experience of your clients (overly long response times, frequent outages and errors), as well as that of your collaborators. Your collaborators may even find themselves developing “home-made” solutions to address certain problems. Technological debt could also scare off potential candidates who would prefer to sign up with an employer that is more technologically advanced.
Technological obsolescence poses a major challenge to companies. As time goes by, system performance starts to suffer, as does compatibility with new market requirements. As a result, opportunities are lost, plus the long-term viability of your future ecosystem could be jeopardized.
Maintaining Your Competitive Edge
Notwithstanding all the talk about generative artificial intelligence, how can you actually maintain or develop your competitive edge by integrating useful artificial intelligence solutions, starting today?
Easing the Labour Shortage
AI-based digital assistants, such as chatbots, can answer routine questions effectively and thus reduce the need for customer service staff. artificial intelligence also excels at managing risky and dangerous tasks, thereby minimizing related risks for humans. Thanks to the automation of repetitive tasks, resources can be allocated to higher value-added activities. However, it is important to ensure that roles and tasks are redefined in line with employees’ aspirations. Moreover, integrating new technologies into workflows makes organizations more attractive to potential employees, who may place more importance on “digital maturity” when selecting an employer.
Detecting New Market Opportunities
Your current systems store large quantities of data, but they don’t have the tools you need to get the most out of this information efficiently. Artificial intelligence analyzes huge quantities of data from various sources, including client, market and financial data. Algorithms are able to detect significant trends and models, thus providing valuable information on emerging opportunities. Using automatic learning techniques, AI develops predictive models based on historical data analysis. These models will help growing numbers of companies to anticipate consumer behaviour, market changes, economic trends, and more, thus enabling them to identify emerging opportunities.
Improving the Client Experience
By exploiting artificial intelligence’s capabilities, companies can offer personalized, reactive, automated and predictive experiences. This helps to boost client satisfaction, fidelity and competitive differentiation. For instance, by analyzing purchasing histories, preferences and behaviours, AI can analyze client data to create individual profiles and offer personalized experiences.
Seeing AI as a Complement to Human Talent
The fear of seeing artificial intelligence replace human workers is understandable. Related concerns must be addressed to ensure that companies successfully adopt it. Although some repetitive tasks can be automated, AI should be regarded as a tool for freeing up time, reinforcing analytical capacities, improving understanding of certain phenomena and processing larger quantities of information.
Scientific evidence has repeatedly shown that a combination of artificial intelligence and human intelligence yields the best results. Unlike AI, which only reacts to available data, humans have the capacity to imagine, anticipate, sense and size up changing situations. This enables them to set their short-term worries aside to focus on longer-term concerns. Unlike artificial intelligence, these all-too-human capabilities do not require a constant flow of external data.
- Creativity and innovation: Artificial intelligence is at its best when it is carrying out repetitive and analytical tasks, but it still faces certain limitations in terms of creativity and innovation. Human beings can put their ability to think originally to good use. They can also come up with new ideas, solve complex problems and expand the boundaries of their knowledge.
- Social and emotional skills: Social interactions, empathy and understanding emotions remain areas in which humans excel. Indeed, those are the same areas that many experts identify as future skills that we would do well to develop.
- Ethical and moral decision-making: Complex ethical dilemmas and moral choices require in-depth reflection and a clear understanding of the context involved. Human beings have values, ethical principles and a critical awareness in situations when important decisions must be made.
- Relationships and partnerships: Humans are able to forge trust-based relationships, communicate effectively and collaborate with other people. Creating partnerships, negotiating, resolving conflicts and building teams will remain valuable skills, even with the rise of AI.
- Adaptability and continuous learning: Artificial intelligence evolves rapidly, which means that skills required in the workplace are also changing rapidly. Humans are unique in that they can adapt to new technologies and environments. They are also willing to learn and undergo continuous training to acquire new skills.
Artificial intelligence is often designed to complement human capabilities, instead of replacing them. By treating it as a tool, humans can focus on more complex, creative and significant tasks. This allows us to get the most out of our unique attributes while creating value in the professional world.
Technology + People: A Business Equation Worth Working On
Embedding artificial intelligence within companies will be useful and successful if we can also leverage the human uniqueness. At Talsom, we consider the latter to be more important than technology. Why? Because human aspects are often underestimated since they involve changes that are harder to make. Individuals are the ones who determine the success of an organizational transformation; they are your ambassadors.
Yes, certain positions will disappear in the coming years, while others will be transformed. To help people navigate these changes, skillsets will have to be tailored to future requirements, which organizations such as the World Economic Forum have already identified. Starting today, organizational development has a pivotal role to play: future needs must be identified, while new skills have to be upgraded, developed and requalified.