James (Jim) Fox, Sr. Manager and Solutions Architect, Baker Tilly
The Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) age is here. The question has become: how are information technology leaders helping their organizations move successfully into this new world. AI is altering the way we query and interface with applications, and how we receive and digest the information that allows us to make the best decisions. With that said, we humans can’t seem to get out of our own way. The human science of AI in the workplace vs the AI science of the applications is critical to drive adoption.
In a previously published CIO Applications article “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning”, Amy Romero commented, “Machine learning is the concept, but artificial intelligence is the science and the bridge that brings data and delivery for more cognitive applications”. How do information technology leaders ensure that downstream cognitive applications can maximize the data being delivered?
As the use of cloud-based systems embedded with robust AI increases, Baker Tilly’s Strategic Cloud Services practice is seeing organization’s beginning their journey in AI, adding value in new and different ways, and confronting the human side of its adoption. We share the analogy of AI being similar to hiring or onboarding a new employee with our clients. This “new employee” will figuratively be working side by side with almost every worker in your organization. Considering AI in this humanizing way is essential to its future success in your organization.
As a CIO or leader in the organization, this is an amazing opportunity to break down traditional barriers and demonstrate “value add” to the organization. Here are four recommendations to guide you:
• Executives are looking for flexibility in a world that is constantly changing, where markets are evolving and opportunities are often hidden. Tie the use of AI back to these priorities with examples relevant to your industry.
• Build trust with AI. Work collaboratively to understand the boundaries and the safeguards that will help maintain trust with your peers.
• At the 2019 to World Economic Forum Meeting, 77% of the CEOs surveyed voiced concern that skills shortages could hinder their organization’s growth 2019. AI is having a profound impact on the recruiting, screening and hiring process. Demonstrate these capabilities and link potential outcomes in talent to organizational success.
• Reimagine the traditional leadership model. This new human and machine interchange will support a more fluid exchange of bi-directional feedback, the sharing of data and information, and drive a more decentralized decision-making model. Work with leadership development professionals to introduce and build these skill sets. AI has the potential to allow leaders to create organizations with the resilience needed to navigate this complex, disruptive world.
The future is exciting, but to many it can be scary and threatening. Begin by helping your leaders to embrace the new “AI employee” to solve the business challenges to stay competitive and profitable
When considering the changes that implementing new AI technology will bring, we need to respect AI as one of the biggest changes that has ever occurred in modern society. Remember the analogy of AI being a new type of co-worker, one that will be working side by side with almost every worker in your organization? How do we prepare to onboard this new type of employee and work with “it” going forward?
Consider these ideas as your organization addresses the “human” side of AI and strives for successful adoption:
• AI transformation needs to touch all areas of your business
○ This isn’t an IT issue though. The culture change will impact the entire organization and requires full participation. Expect a complete shift in the way all parts of the organization will eventually operate.
• Focus on AI collaboration
○ Your organization will need to rethink how the relationship between humans and machines will work together. McKinsey predicts that 45% of tasks will be taken over by AI. Reimagining the way the workforce operates, redesigning processes and aligning humans to offer more strategic value and less tactical operation will be key.
• Make change rewarding
○ As success with AI begins, recognize and celebrate these events. The workforce needs to see the connection between believing in and leveraging AI for better outcomes. Recognize them for the value delivered with their own personal rewards, and career advancements.
The future is exciting, but to many it can be scary and threatening. Begin by helping your leaders to embrace the new “AI employee” to solve the business challenges to stay competitive and profitable. Then connect with the workforce to embrace the change, to grow as individuals and as an organization by turning over mundane tasks to AI. Position them to use that freed up time to deliver value back to the organization in new and different ways.
Remember, you don’t have to eat the proverbial “elephant” all at one time. Start with small changes or key business goals, let the success do the talking and the process go viral within your organization. Build a beacon of light for the future where the human and the machine work side by side for greater organizational outcomes and employee growth.