How to prepare for AI in the workplace
Artificial Intelligence

How to prepare for AI in the workplace

Mention artificial intelligence, and most people think one of two things – either “it’s science fiction” or “robots are going to steal our jobs”. Now it’s true that when it comes to the workplace, AI stands to significantly change the daily work environment, but that change is much more likely to mean increased efficiency and productivity, and not the doom and gloom that many claim. In fact, recent research suggests that robots create jobs – a study by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) estimates a 1.8% rise in employment by 2021 if automation and digitalization in industry continues.

The question is, how do you successfully integrate the capabilities of humans and machines in the workplace? Seeing Around Corners, a new book from award-winning author and Founder & CEO of Connectworxs, Graham Hogg, gives tips for employers on how to implement data into every day working life.

Aimed at business teams, Hogg’s experience as an intelligence officer in the Royal Marines Commandos makes the book truly unique. In an environment with such high levels of complexity, the ability of teams to connect with and build foresight from data genuinely had life and death consequences. Hogg believes that business teams face similar degrees of complexity. “The challenge and opportunity of unlocking big data and advanced analytics has never been greater.”


Getting big data right

Big data presents a huge opportunity for the workplace because it “helps us understand better”, says Hogg. The increased insight into customers and clients has the potential to be a huge game changer, provided it is connected to the front line – c-suite planning isn’t enough.

The discussion around big data has been going on for years, yet are some companies are still not embracing it. What are they doing wrong? And how do they get it right? Hogg identifies three things organizations need to focus on:

  1. Improve the collaboration between analytics and business teams (not just look at dashboards)
  2. Help business teams ask better questions (and not just request reports)
  3. Break silos – with the right culture and technology working together

So how can AI help? “AI is worth getting excited about because of the power of this technology for business teams.” But Hogg is clear: “we must run with the machines not against them”.


Embracing AI in the workplace

AI is still in its early stages, but the last three years have seen significant progress made. People are still worried though. “People think that robots are going to steal their donuts,” says Hogg. “Don’t worry – they’re not. Winning organizations will see AI & Robotics as part of the team!”

So, is that what’s been holding back enterprise adoption of AI? Hogg thinks it’s more to do with the scale of change required. He explains it’s not just a small change in the way of working, instead it’s a complete transformation of how you do business. But that needn’t be overwhelming: “I say to teams all the time: small steps and keep it simple. Start and iterate.”

Looking forward, Hogg believes AI will help strengthen the existing workplace culture that manifests in the teams and people that work together every day. By helping with everyday tasks such as meetings, projects, off site planning sessions etc. AI, Hogg believes, will move “from a distant ‘buzz topic’ to real life value.”


Preparing for the future, now

Pinning down what the future of work actually means in practice, and what the role of AI will be, is tricky. “The power of AI when combined with our human intuition, guidance and experience is 100% worth getting excited about,” says Hogg. “But at the center of all this has to be your purpose – why you exist as an organization and who you serve. This must still be the handrail for exploration using data and advanced technology.” 

So how do IT leaders prepare for the workplace of tomorrow? Hogg insists it is really is down to just three things – improve collaboration between analytics and business teams, ask better questions, and break silos. “Focus on these areas and you will be going in the right direction,” concludes Hogg.


IDG Connect has secured a sample of Graham Hogg’s book, Seeing Around Corners. You can download a sample chapter – Building Messy Teams – here.


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Kate Hoy

Kate Hoy is Editor of IDG Connect

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