To innovate, you have to look beyond AI

2020 has been a year of rapid transformation and the crisis has confirmed the trends observed in recent years. This is especially true for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), with 63% of executives believing their use has resulted in revenue growth according to a McKinsey study *. While in finance, for example, automation has made it possible to streamline processes and save professionals valuable time, AI is not the only technology driving innovation.

AI technologies are of course an integral part of any digital transformation strategy, whether it is robotic process automation (RPA) or natural language processing. AI is not sufficient on its own, it must support a broader program of integration and consolidation of data for the benefit of the various businesses of the company: production, payroll, accounting, human resources and customer relationship management.

From now on, real innovation will be for the benefit of people. While the lack of interpersonal interactions is felt, technological investment will be focused on enriching the relationship for both employees and customers, key players in the success of our organizations. The objective is to help employees to flourish at work, to stay healthy and efficient, in order to offer a better experience to customers.

Keep the cloud in mind

AI often makes the headlines, but it was the cloud that kept the business going this year. As we can expect intermittent lockdowns, the Cloud is essential to allow teleworking, mobile work and maintenance of the level of service for our customers. However, to be effective, it must be used to get rid of the silos that generate lack of integration between different services and data environments, which hamper companies in realizing their potential.

Decision-making is delayed when employees waste time looking for the data they need, and lose autonomy. Not to mention that teleworking is still not easy for many of them, because cut off from their colleagues, some may feel overwhelmed and forgotten. Reduced leeway for HR who wish to help them and avoid burnout phenomena at all costs.

Indeed, according to a study by the MMA Foundation, the risk of burnout syndrome increased considerably in 2020 and concerns both managers and employees, the percentage of the population at risk rising from 17.5% to 34 , 65% during the first confinement and reaching 36.77% at the start of the year **.

On the other hand, due to increasing digitization, customers are becoming more demanding. They have developed a taste for the convenience and immediacy of digital services. In fact, to be competitive, it is imperative to offer a personalized and fast customer experience, despite the absence of physical interaction. To stand out, you have to be ambitious in your customer experience, which means having unparalleled knowledge of the customer.

Master the back office to win the front office

Companies must therefore innovate as a priority in terms of information sharing, ensuring that employees have access to each other’s data but also to that of the entire company. Online collaboration tools, such as Zoom and Teams, are increasingly seen as essentials of everyday life. However, we have to go even further and ensure that they are connected to other business lines of the company.

A payroll professional who quickly accesses employee data, or a personnel manager who can access HR systems from the collaboration platform are examples of real efficiency gains.

Integrating data environments and applications is just the start. The agility of a company goes through the orchestration of the processes, which allow the solutions of company management and the ERP, covering all the operations of the company, from the supply chain to the sale in through human resources management.

When all employees have access to this system, they are freed from organizational complexity, can make decisions with confidence and, most importantly, concentrate on their work.

There are other solutions of course, but it is essential to realize the importance of having a fully integrated and intelligent infrastructure in place that allows access to data whenever the employee needs it. An integrated data layer can then serve as the basis for intelligent automated systems, powered by AI.

These systems can adapt quickly to customer demands and demands and improve the way employees work. Thus, data and decision-making power are directly in the hands of employees and the customer.

Innovation is fueled by people, not technology

Prosperity belongs to those who constantly challenge themselves, innovate in their organizational models, to those who are increasingly connected and to those who demonstrate agility and responsiveness. Technology alone does not transform a business; it is the people who benefit from the data and the tools they use. Together, let’s capitalize on technology to reduce barriers to innovation and allow us to create value.

* McKinsey Observatory “Global AI Survey: AI proves its worth, but few scale impact” study, November 2019.

** out-a-explose_6071356_3234.html

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