Futureproofing your business: the role of AI in performance
Media portrayals of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are often glamorised and dramatised, depicting futuristic technological advances straight out of a sci-fi novel– often with the foreboding suggestion that these innovations will rise up and take over.
The truth is, the practical implications of AI extend far beyond the restricted– yet sensational– spheres of robotics and self-automated machines that the media generally focuses on. Unfortunately, the most influential uses of AI are the least likely to grab the headlines.
Booking an Uber, searching for directions on Google Maps, and filtering out spam emails are simple tasks that we take for granted, perhaps without questioning the technology that facilitates them. Therefore, I’m sure it would be a surprise to many that it is AI driving the performance of these platforms that are so deeply integrated into our lives.
AI already underpins much of the infrastructure we have grown heavily reliant on. And considering that recent studies show private investment in AI and AI-related start-ups increased by 103% between 2020 and 2021, such technology will only become more and more embedded into everyday life.
We need to demystify the aura surrounding AI– it's not magic, it's just math. If applied correctly, this math can positively impact business operations, refining processes and helping organisations to work both smarter and faster.
Intelligently improving efficiency
Businesses should aim to give all employees the platform to excel and make a tangible contribution to the company’s performance. The provision of stimulating work holds the key to building an engaged and motivated workforce– in turn improving productivity and employee retention.
Cultivating this environment becomes impossible if time is wasted on menial administrative tasks. Staff members are likely to become sick of data entry responsibilities and look elsewhere for roles with more freedom.
AI is pivotal in freeing up this time for workers, as technology can facilitate the mundane tasks that keep businesses organised, giving employees time to take on projects that truly inspire them. This will also streamline business operations, with fewer hours devoted to tasks that can be automated. Recent statistics reinforce this notion, with 54% of executives stating that AI has improved the productivity of their business.
In the past few years, we've seen the very successful application of artificial intelligence in the realm of automation. It's able to improve workforce efficiency and give knowledge workers more time to spend on the tasks they are best at.
Shortening the search for answers
AI promises to improve search capabilities in the coming years, revolutionising the way we store and locate information. It will provide tailored suggestions based on keyword searches, considering a wider array of factors to produce more accurate results. This will extend to photos and videos, through the increased adoption of advanced image analysis.
"Searching for content will change from just finding documents with a specific text string, to a 'Google-like' set of results and answers based on an understanding of what you are looking for," says Antti Nivala, founder and CEO at M-Files. "Vendors will also be able to start providing better and more relevant content recommendations based on who you are and the task you’re trying to accomplish."
For example, organisations have begun leveraging Knowledge Graphs to improve the accessibility of information throughout their network. This involves mapping expertise across the organisation to connect overlapping areas. From a knowledge management perspective, this enables professionals to discover new, applicable content, and to identify subject matter experts within their organisation.
Smartening remote collaboration
The way we store information can also be enhanced by embracing AI. A metadata-driven document management platform can help businesses avoid unnecessary meetings and endless email chains.
Information management technology such as this allows colleagues to collaborate in real-time, editing the same file to avoid confusion and ensure everyone is on the same page. As a result, less time will be wasted searching for the latest version of a document or chasing colleagues trying to locate missing files.
Overall, AI and ML have already infiltrated our lives to a greater extent than we may have realised. While this technology is not yet an across-the-board solution, the adoption of AI can still greatly improve business performance, boosting efficiency by automating and advancing established processes. It is the businesses who perceive AI as an unfinished tool for the future that will be left in the past– this technology has already arrived and is undoubtedly here to stay.