This month, the Fife Expo 2023 at the Carnegie Conference Centre in Dunfermline became a hub of networking and very insightful discussions, especially during our talk on 'AI in Business'.
During the panel, we explored the transformative power of Artificial Intelligence in the contemporary business landscape. Given the amount of interest received, we want to share some of the key insights that came from that discussion to explain how AI is reshaping businesses, from automation to ethical considerations.
Time to take action
It seems to be that AI hasn't just knocked on our doors; it blasted them open and stepped into the room, making itself quite comfortable. Already, in a relatively short space of time, it has reshaped our professional landscapes with a loud and undeniable authority.
According to Goldman Sachs stats from March of this year, AI could replace the equivalent of 300 million jobs. McKinsey, not to be outdone, chimed in with a prediction that Generative AI will automate between 60% and 70% of employee workloads. These aren’t mere numbers; they’re a call for businesses to sit up, take notice, and more importantly, take action.
Automation: Enhancing productivity
AI systems, such as chatbots, are automating tasks across various sectors, enhancing efficiency and productivity by freeing human workers for other strategic tasks. As with most things to do with digital transformation, you need to keep in mind that implementing AI to your business processes is a journey that takes time.
Here are some key steps that cannot be skipped:
- Identify Automatable Tasks: Begin by pinpointing tasks, especially those that are repetitive, error-prone, or time-sensitive, which can be automated using AI. This initial step involves a thorough review of current processes and understanding where automation can bring about the most impactful change.
- Explore Suitable AI Tools: Once the tasks are identified, the next step is to explore AI tools that align with your business needs. This involves researching technologies, understanding their capabilities, and perhaps even engaging in trials or pilot programs to evaluate their efficacy in a real-world business environment. Engage with vendors, participate in demos, and consider the scalability, cost, and support available when implementing these tools.
- Smooth Transition for Employees: The final step is ensuring a smooth transition for your team. This involves training sessions, providing resources for learning, and perhaps even restructuring roles to ensure that the human element of your business works harmoniously alongside AI. It’s crucial to communicate the benefits and changes transparently, ensuring that the team understands the value and potential of AI within the business.
Augmentation - AI as a collaborative force
AI is also becoming a collaborative partner, providing additional, data-driven insights in various professional fields such as medical diagnostics and business decision-making. It offers a different perspective on challenges and ensures decisions are robust and well-informed. The goal here is clear: to enhance, instead of overshadowing the human expertise that is so crucial to our industries.
Strategising for AI augmentation starts with identifying areas within your business where technology can add a dash of digital wisdom. The beauty of it is that this commitment to blend technological and human expertise ensures each informs and enriches the other.
Choosing AI tools that complement human skills and ensuring your team knows how to weave them into their daily tasks is crucial. Then, focus on training your team to collaborate with AI, to understand its capabilities and to utilise its strengths. That creates a synergy that transforms productivity and innovation into something truly special.
Learnings from Inspire’s AI journey (so far)
Implementing AI at Inspire wasn’t just a technical shift, it was a cultural one.
We didn’t simply analyse our business processes, we reshaped them, ensuring AI actively enhanced our operational flow. An AI champion was appointed, steering our team through the integration and ensuring AI wasn’t only added to our toolkit but became a pivotal part of our operations, amplifying our capabilities, speeding up processes, and driving improved outcomes across the board.
- Role Clarity First: We engaged in a thorough process to understand and define roles and responsibilities within the organisation, ensuring clarity during AI implementation.
- Business Process Overhaul: We went through a comprehensive review of business processes to ensure they aligned with and supported the introduction of AI tools.
- Employee Engagement at its Best: We've provided clear communication, support, and training for employees during the transition to AI-enhanced operations.
Ethical considerations in AI
Navigating the ethical waters of AI in business is no small feat. Addressing biases and ensuring fairness in automated decisions is crucial, as is safeguarding privacy amidst the extensive use of data.
Additionally, transparency and accountability in AI operations cannot be overstated, especially when dealing with potential job displacement due to automation.
So, how can you ensure AI is used ethically?
- Develop an ethical framework: Begin by crafting a robust ethical framework for AI implementation, which acts as a guidepost for responsible use and decision-making.
- Uphold transparency: Keep everybody in the business in the loop, sharing insights about the application, impact, and governance of AI within the business, fostering a culture of openness.
- Embrace continuous ethical assessment: Adopt a routine of regular checks and balances, ensuring that the ongoing use of AI aligns consistently with ethical standards and societal norms.
In essence, making sure that technology is used responsibly and ethically requires a comprehensive and conscientious approach toward AI implementation and management in the business arena. And please remember: Robust security measures are vital to protect against malicious attacks and to uphold ethical use to prevent harm.
We get it. Keeping up with the constant tech changes while managing daily business operations can be a hefty task. But even though the path to adopting AI is paved with challenges, decisions, and a need for new strategies, it's not a path you need to walk alone.
No matter where you are and what your business does, consider these points:
- How can AI improve your business operations and customer experiences?
- How can you ensure that your business not only adapts but thrives in this digital transformation?
Feeling a bit swamped? Click here to get the AI conversation started, and together we can make sure your digital future is not just successful but also ethical and true to what makes your business unique.