Mark Hamill, Non Executive Chairman France & UK Ackermann International
Tackling the issue of how Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies will shape the role of CEOs and their leadership teams will be hard to do in the space of one page. Although it may not seem like the job of a company’s chief executive to dive deep into the details of how technologies impact business, the truth is that AI, machine learning and similar technological tools will reshape entire workforces in the coming decade. That includes decision-making processes for leadership teams.
The main issue at hand is that AI will help leaders sort out and filter tasks. As the Vanson Bourne study Realizing 2030 (prepared for Dell Technologies) mentions: company executives and their senior management teams will become “digital conductors”. That is, human leadership will increasingly determine and monitor the task of robot teams who will take over mundane, routine tasks that machines learn to handle through programmed algorithms, observation of workloads and memorization of process sequencing.
The following are areas that I feel CEOs and their teams will need to watch in coming months; namely, as regards strategic planning and mapping ways their businesses can gain a competitive advantage from artificial intelligence.
When I speak of predictive analytics, I am thinking of the value that company leaders can extract from the volumes of data their businesses own and store. This is information that is collected daily from routine tasks such as call center operations (recordings), billing of work hours and even warehouse shipping records. AI can provide value for business strategy by monitoring trends and patterns in data and using it to make an organization more efficient and competitive.
Specific examples might include using machine-run software to monitor word patterns in support center conversations with customers. Mapping of word patterns and customer responses to their usage in emails and marketing materials can be used to rework and draft smart messaging that appeals to customer wants and reacts to their actual needs. For the executive team, this means a greater guarantee of a satisfied customer base and stable, long-term earnings.
Time Management and Planning
Another area that AI will likely great enhance is how C-Suite teams address time management. For example, many executive assistants carry out routine tasks that computers could easily handle with the help of machine learning. This includes scheduling processes (diary management/appointments), travel planning and formulation of basic emails and their dispatch. In some cases, AI will also help modern executive leadership handle tasks such as speech-writing and text translations: based on speech recognition and translation software.
Better Use and Assessment of Human Capital
One key benefit from AI that I see mentioned repeatedly is the option to get more qualitative value from the people power in your managerial teams. Even persons in business support roles can increasingly contribute to executive strategy discussions, because their value-added will move from executing administrative tasks to mapping the benefits therefrom (e.g. instead of just scheduling trips for you, the boss, they can report about cost trends for air tickets and hotel bookings to company trade shows – knowledge that may save your company and its partners significant money).
On another tack, AI-based processes like cognitive voice and facial recognition can also have great impact on recruitment processes. Software that assesses features like tone of voice and inflection has the potential to improve candidate selection processes by adding a layer of factual, non-emotional assessment to interviewing. That is, such AI input can verify skills matches for interviewees who might just be good speakers who are able to “talk the talk” a company executive wishes to hear. AI technologies can tell your leadership team if the applicant indeed has the knowledge and past experience to back up those words.
Extensive research from McKinsey shows that that adoption of AI has strong potential to become a competitive differentiator for corporations. Indeed, that company’s researchers note that traditional corporations tend to be slower in their push toward digital transformation than start-up businesses.
With only 37% of all businesses reporting to have achieved advanced levels of digital transformation in their businesses, adoption of AI in your organization may be the competitive advantage you have been waiting for.
You can download the article (PDF) here