We have already discussed why businesses need to improve how they deliver services in the workplace and look to technologies such as AI to help them achieve this. However, while it's important knowing what the issues are, businesses also need to understand what these new solutions might look like in practice.
With the modern workforce expecting the delivery of internal services to be as slick as ordering a takeaway on Deliveroo, the reality is many organizations don't know where to start.
Thankfully the hard work exploring AI should pay off, and business leaders know this -- with 80% of executives believing AI can increase productivity. So we've put together three examples of where AI can be used effectively in the modern workplace to help guide businesses on what their service delivery could look like.
Upgrading IT with AI
Chatbots are used by millions on services such as Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat. So how can they re-purposed to be used internally at the workplace? (Image: Pixabay)
One of the areas that traditionally causes the most frustration to employees is the IT department and solving IT problems. This is the first area where AI can help. The core frustration for many is that when they have a problem it can take a long time to get to a resolution. Some headway has been made through the use of IT service management (ITSM) platforms, which have improved how services are delivered. But even then, in most cases these rely on "to and fro" conversations or require the assistance of a professional to get to a resolution. This is where AI chatbots can help.
The key is that AI chatbots simplify and accelerate the entire process, to the point where in some cases, no interaction with a human is required. Unlike using engineers, AI chatbots assess what the problem is by asking questions and then offer solutions that can be carried out by the employee -- this could be as simple as pointing them to a self-help resource or knowledge base article with the answer in. The key is that it empowers employees to help themselves rather than rely on others -- which is frequently where delays creep in.
Of course, that's not to say that employees will always be left to their own devices. In cases where problems persist or are more complicated, the chatbot can escalate the issue to the IT team to send an engineer. AI chatbots have a further major advantage over traditional IT support -- they are available 24/7, meaning help is on hand even outside traditional office hours. Moreover, IT is not the only areas of the business where AI chatbots can help.
Bringing HR into the 21st century
Globalization has made the majority of organizations both global and diverse. Employees can now be scattered all over the world, yet how can organizations put in place positive HR policies and environments across every region in order to keep staff happy and retain them long-term? Being spread across different regions does present some challenges to achieving an holistic approach, especially due to differing policies, processes, regulations and systems.
No two companies are alike -- questions will vary and HR staff spend a lot of time answering them. This challenge is exacerbated when an organization has offices around the globe and where different policies are implemented in each region. The complexity grows when you add in questions about holidays, grievances and pension plans -- among many other topics -- from potentially thousands of employees.
In the past, any issues had to be dealt with by a human, taking up valuable time for both the employee and the person trying to respond. Even the seemingly simple act of finding out how many days' annual leave you have left can result in the need to send multiple emails and then wait hours, maybe even days, for a response. AI chatbots can now take a lot of the pressure away from HR departments by instantly answering questions about policies, or telling employees how many days holiday they have left and even helping to book it. This process is much faster than a human having to deal with each request and also keeps employees happier -- meaning HR teams can focus on important issues such as recruitment, updating policies and staff training.
Could AI be used to fix broken door scanners? (Image: IDenticardImages, Flickr)
Facilities management can also benefit from new AI technologies. Arguably, the facilities department is doing its job best when no one knows it is there, but the fact is that most employees will run into problems at some point or another. When we think about how facilities services could be delivered more effectively with the help of AI, our thoughts might drift to autonomous robots such as the ones that we see at trade shows such as CES
Despite these futuristic demos, realistically we might still be a few years from robots looking after facilities, but AI chatbots can bridge the gap by helping to organize repairs -- whether it's getting a maintenance team to come and fix an AC system or replace a broken door. In addition, AI chatbots can be used for employees to request new equipment such as a new desk chair, and help to get these items approved with minimal e-mail traffic. In addition, computerized systems such as these generate a large volume of data which can then be analysed to spot trends -- for instance recognizing when downtime occurs and amending maintenance schedules to minimize these occurrences.
Closing the gap to the future
Putting in place new technologies can be a cumbersome process in any business. Although digital transformation has been a buzzword for a long time, the truth is that modifying a consumer technology for business use can be hard work. Yet the onset of AI technologies should be one that all organizations look to make use of as soon as they can. The core reason for this is that there are some great financial gains to be made -- with an expected boost to profitability of almost 40%
possible. In addition, AI and AI chatbots can improve internal services, making them more familiar to employees in comparison to what they use in their personal lives, boosting employee satisfaction and further gains to productivity.
óMark Flexman, DXC Fruition Practice Lead, DXC Technology