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AI in the workplace:
Say hello to your
new coworker

Author: Nick Reese

While the workplace doesn't look quite like the opening credits from "The Jetsons," in some ways it's not far off. By incorporating AI in the workplace and automating more and more manual processes, artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming what work is and the role employees play in it.

How AI is transforming the workplace could have a significant impact on not only on your productivity, but the employee experience, the customer experience (CX), and how you invest in people and automation moving forward. And particularly when designing AI solutions, it’s important to build in privacy and security at the outset, and to consider how your AI may impact your employees and customers (and broader society, including human rights considerations) if and when it is deployed widely. 

How AI has redefined the contact center

One example of AI in the workplace can be found in what used to be the most human-driven part of your operations: the contact center. Not so long ago, the contact center used to be as manual as you can get, with people calling people to solve a problem.

Now, interactive voice response systems and chatbots help customers solve basic tasks like obtaining account information or making service changes without speaking to a person. Not only that, but AI can power predictive analytics that use customer data to help your contact center proactively reach out and solve issues, personalize service and generate relevant offers to drive additional sales.

AI in the workplace may look different in how it is implemented in the contact center versus how it is leveraged in different parts of your organization. Still, the success of how AI has been implemented in contact centers demonstrates the potential for applications across the enterprise.

Emerging applications for AI in the workplace

Let's look at how AI in the workforce is driving inspiration:

  • Improving hiring: AI can not only help human resources write better, more engaging job descriptions, but it can then automatically evaluate resumes, schedule interviews and match candidates to open positions, all before HR initiates human interaction. This lets HR managers spend more time on the interview process to ensure the candidate is the right fit for the job.
  • Improving collaboration and productivity: AI in the workplace means people can collaborate faster and more securely through the use of things like chatbots and digital assistants. Colleagues can ask questions, schedule meetings and look up information without waiting to hear back from a human, while their coworkers can continue to focus on their high-value work without interruption.
  • Improving operations: With the help of 5G and big analytics, AI can use Internet of Things (IoT)-connected sensors and devices to run more of the enterprise without human intervention. From adjusting manufacturing on the fly based on external data sources to enabling predictive analytics that allow you to repair machines before they break, artificial intelligence in the workplace can give your building and machinery the ability to unlock new capabilities and value.

How AI is transforming the workplace

To leverage the full power of AI in the workplace, it will take a shift in both technology and culture.

Let's start with the easy one: technology. AI generates, consumes and processes vast amounts of data, requiring the need for more bandwidth that can scale up or down to meet the needs of the business. Not only that, but running AI for complex tasks requires a consistent, low-latency network to deliver real-time action. In addition, you must provide the security, data storage and computing capacity needed to use AI for mission critical tasks.

Managing your company culture to adapt to AI could be an even greater challenge. AI in the workforce won't solve or improve anything if you don't have the strategy, processes and people in place to make it work. Artificial intelligence in the workplace must not be seen as a tool to replace people doing manual work, but as one that frees your employees to work smarter.

When implementing AI in the workplace, put the employee at the center of your strategy. How will this help my employees improve their work? How will this help them better serve customers? How will this help other employees across the organization? By starting with the employee and working up—instead of starting with the technology and working down—you can ensure that AI integrates into your culture in a positive, productive way.

Look back at the contact center as an example: CX managers didn't just implement AI and then stop using people. Instead, they implemented AI in the workforce in a way that lets the customer choose how they want to interact with the company—automatically or with a person.

The result? These customers get served faster, your contact center provides more high-value support, and employees are more engaged in their work, solving problems instead of just looking up account information. When looking for an example of how AI in the workplace should be done, look no further than your contact center for inspiration.

Learn more about how artificial intelligence in the workplace is transforming business.