Work Intelligently

How to unlock AI’s full potential

  07 December 2023

The bane of many jobs is repetitive tasks that suck time and energy away from activities that can deliver greater business value.

Depending on the role, research finds that as many as 90 per cent of tasks can be automated – ranging from matching invoices to payments through to responding to common questions from customers and employee queries to HR.

But automation can only go so far. With business conditions still very challenging, companies are looking for ways to further improve productivity by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI).

Companies are using AI to boost the effectiveness of their automation projects by identifying areas where automation can be intelligently leveraged.

Intellificial chief executive Deepak Puri says applying automation is just the start. By leveraging activated intelligence, businesses can take bigger steps towards better productivity.

“There’s a lot of hype around AI,” Puri says. “And while there’s lots of speculation about what AI can do, the key is to look at where it can add value today. Activated intelligence is a framework that delivers a more scalable, secure and sustainable approach to automation so [companies] can realise value quickly.”

The goal is to not just deploy AI tools but to actualise their full potential in organisational processes, he says. This requires a laser-like focus on solving specific problems with an eye on ROI and a human-centric approach.

Puri adds that an activated intelligence approach ensures AI projects are strategically aligned with business objectives and the workforce that drives them. This ensures buy-in right across the organisation.

The framework advocated by Puri centres on sustainability, scalability and security (S3). Many AI and automation projects fail because they lack focus or become siloed without appropriate buy-in. But this S3 mindset provides a robust foundation for businesses that ensures AI solutions are ethically responsible and aligned with long-term organisational value.

Puri says there is often some anxiety and trepidation when AI is introduced to a business.

Implementation teams may be concerned with short-term value delivery that doesn’t meet expectations and impacted employees may worry about their job safety. This anxiety can be alleviated by ensuring projects are aligned to agreed business goals that deliver continuous value, and employees can be shown how AI enables them to do higher-value tasks and that they’re not going to be replaced by bots.

Activated intelligence is scalable when a holistic approach to strategy is adopted. Rather than implementing AI in a piecemeal way, an enterprise-wide, end-to-end automation solution ensures value is delivered across the full life cycle.

One of the major concerns with the use of AI is governance and accountability. But Puri says the S3 approach addresses this.

“Governance and security concerns are at the core of activated intelligence,’’ he explains. ‘‘By embedding quality assurance and audit processes, we provide peace of mind and resilience for intelligent automation strategies.’’

It’s important to note that automated processes also offer a security benefit. Modern automation tools support secure connection methods such as multi-factor authentication and passkeys. That means the credentials they use to connect to data sources can be secured. And automated processes are not susceptible to social engineering attacks, which can make them more secure than people in many situations.

While intelligent automation had its start with the advent of robotic process automation (RPA), the arrival of generative AI tools such as GPT-4 from OpenAI, LLaMA from Meta, and PaLM2 from Google has given automation a boost.

For example, an employee can ask a chatbot for their leave balance. The bot can respond by asking whether they are asking about personal or annual leave. If the response is annual, the bot can then ask if they want to make a leave application, prompting for the dates and check for leave balance and other policy controls. Then it will send that application for approval to the employee’s manager.

All that can happen without anyone filling in a tedious form or asking for information.

This improves service for the employee and enables the HR team to spend more time on staff development rather than administrative tasks.

In real-world automation deployment at one of Australia’s largest department store chains as well as with manufacturing and other companies, Puri says the time-to-value after starting an activated intelligence project can be a little as a few weeks. In the case of the department store, Puri says the company is saving millions of dollars a year with over 40 different processes now intelligently automated.

Businesses have been reaping the benefits of automation for many years. Activated intelligence solutions that leverage AI can deliver substantial benefits and achieve a faster time-to-value. The investment is not only realised in greater productivity but in improved employee satisfaction with significant return on investment.


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