There has been a long held concern as to whether “Artificial Intelligence” will ultimately, replace humans en masse in the workforce.
For now, this hasn't happened, with relatively few organisations outside of Silicon Valley technology companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google bringing AI & ML solutions into production, let alone to the extent they can replace large swathes of employees.
What we are seeing more of however is employees being augmented or empowered with insights from data and analytics engines, such that they can make better decisions and be guided towards their “next best action”.
Perhaps this will be the better outcome for everyone, with organisations becoming more efficient, employees moving “up the stack” towards more interesting work, and customer experience improving.
We believe that a lot of work still needs to happen for the average organisations to reach this level of data capability however. For instance, consider aspirational examples such as the following:
- Operations - A call centre agent encouraged with a specific up-sell;
- Hospitality - A hotel manager advised about a high value customer checking in;
- Logistics - A warehouse operative guided on the most efficient route through the warehouse;
- Marketing - A marketing manager advised on declining performance of an online advert;
- Legal - A lawyer being advised of relevant case law as they enter the details about a case they are allocated;
These examples are almost cliched examples of “Business Intelligence” which were probably discussed in the 90s, but I would argue that few companies have this level of capability today, whereby analytics are incorporated into their employees day to day activities to guide their tactical “next best action” to the benefit of their customers.
We think this happens due to a fundamental problems in the data and analytics world, which focuses too much on reporting on the past rather than harnessing real time data to inform the future. It's also has a higher technical bar than simple self service analytics, but the technology that underlies it, such as real-time streaming and analytics is maturing and becoming more accessible all the time.
As a thought exercise, we challenge companies to look at the activities of their employees and consider we can better arm them with tactical information and guidance as to their ”next best action.” We believe this will generate outcomes with much more business impact than yet another dashboard.