How AI is Shaping the Future of Work

Fred - Future of Work blog 07-2024 - Hero

As digitization continues to evolve the global economy, we will see the competitive advantage AI delivers in talent recruitment and retention.

Teams today want to use intuitive, innovative technology that makes their work more rewarding, productive, and enjoyable. Companies that prioritize AI initiatives will be able to offer this type of experience, and will also create new roles to optimize the use of this technology and scale it across the enterprise. These companies will have the edge in hiring and retaining the most dedicated, knowledgeable workers.

To illustrate why these companies will succeed, let’s look at one growing application of AI technology: digitizing and automating business decision making.

New challenges demand new ways of working

The speed of business and the complexity of decisions today mean that manual, time-intensive processes and tools are no longer practical. Countless decisions are being left unmade, negatively impacting service levels, efficiency, and sustainability.

AI solves these problems, improving how teams work by letting machines do what they do best: find patterns in big data, analyze potential alternatives and trade-offs, and recommend the best course of action at the moment of greatest impact.

The AI can deliver plain-language recommendations in real time that users can easily execute. Teams still can dive into the data behind the decision or modify these recommendations if necessary — but as the AI learns both from user interactions and the outcomes of past decisions, teams build trust and confidence in the machine-generated recommendations. At the same time, the AI platform optimizes future decisions based on continuous input and analysis.

Early adopters benefit from AI in the workplace

I recently spoke with the Value Chain team at a global steel manufacturer that has adopted AI-powered decision making to manage the end-to-end order lifecycle. This dedicated, small group is on the front lines of the business and carries large responsibilities. The team must ensure that complex customer orders are delivered on deadline, in addition to meeting internal goals and priorities.

Responding to disruptions in customer orders used to be a stressful, time-consuming process. Team members had to access different systems to gather information, then put all of it into spreadsheets and perform numerous calculations to find the best course of action.

Today, AI performs the calculations and presents both the analysis and the recommended action in a single user interface. Team members review the recommendation (for example, substituting a product in stock for one that’s now unavailable) and can execute the change with a single click. This makes for a less-stressful working environment, and better relationships with both customers and colleagues.

AI creates new roles and opportunities

In working with early adopters of AI for decision making, I’ve realized that there is often a gap between the way leaders believe decisions are being made in the field and how those decisions are actually being made at the distribution center or manufacturing plant.

By digitizing decision-making processes across an organization, AI reveals new opportunities for efficiency and improvement. Companies are responding by creating new roles for workers who will optimize these human/machine interactions. These people will be responsible for building, guiding, and improving AI-driven processes. For example, decision architects will apply knowledge of processes (such as supply chain planning or procurement) to design AI models and decision-making logic. Decision analysts will guide the technology to improve and scale those processes.

One leading global technology company is adding product teams and hiring AI skill developers, decision architects, and product owners to meet demand as they scale the use of AI for decision automation.

Instead of replacing jobs, AI is creating new roles to support increased digitization and automation.

This is the future of the workplace — where siloed business processes, manual calculations, and human biases are no longer part of how we make decisions. The companies adopting AI today will have a competitive advantage in recruiting tomorrow’s talented employees and maintaining them longer in roles they love.

A version of this article was previously published on the Nasdaq blog.

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