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How Artificial Intelligence is Transforming Employee Productivity One of the critical aspects of AI is how it can be utilized to enable individual knowledge workers, boosting their performance and feeding them timely information furthering key business objectives

By Pooja Singh

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The way we work is fast changing, and a lot of credit for it goes to artificial intelligence. Two years ago, Gartner reported that "7 per cent of top-performing companies rank AI/ML (artificial intelligence/machine learning) as a game-changing technology." But within a year, that figure swelled to 40 per cent.

A Gartner report mentions that the augmentation of AI technology will generate $2.9 trillion in business value and recover 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity in 2021. One of the critical aspects of AI is how it can be utilized to enable individual knowledge workers, boosting their productivity and feeding them timely information furthering key business objectives.

Know Full Potential

To understand the benefits of AI for knowledge workers, Microsoft recently commissioned studies with Forbes Insights and Forrester Consulting. The Forbes Insights, which surveyed over 350 executives, found that 80 per cent of the respondents recognized that their organizations need to begin mastering the art of human/machine collaboration. The executives highlighted how placing powerful AI-fuelled applications in the hands of knowledge workers was critical to productivity and performance, but only five per cent of executives consider their companies to be industry-leading in terms of taking advantage of AI-powered processes. Almost 85 per cent, however, agree that AI streamlines processes, freeing knowledge workers for more creative, intuitive and laterally thinking activities.

The white paper, "Everyday AI: Harnessing Artificial Intelligence to Empower the Knowledge Worker", says companies are ramping up their AI efforts in a way that appears to be mimicking cloud adoption—slow at first, but then quick, widespread implementation. Twenty-six percent have at least one significant process up and running, 22 per cent have a handful of pilot programs, and 32 per cent are exploring one or more specific proofs of concept. "Seventy-eight percent of executives see AI driving a high degree of performance improvement in their overall business as well as their teams (75 per cent), their value chains (72 per cent) and individuals (66 per cent), it says. The top three benefits executives predict AI will deliver to their businesses overall include eliminating repetitive tasks, streamlining decision making and providing new insights.

The Hurdles

The Forrester Consulting study, which included responses by over 250 global executives and 1,000 knowledge workers, says more than half of the respondents struggled to find the sources of information they need. The "Extending The Value Of AI To Knowledge Workers" study revealed how graph-powered AI is fuelling knowledge worker productivity through improved discovery functionality and automatic task completion. Graph-powered artificial intelligence (AI) presents an exciting opportunity for organizations to improve knowledge worker access to accurate and relevant information, improving productivity, agility, satisfaction, and business decision making, the report says. "AI with a deep, broad graph — a type of database that stores information about the relationships between data — can uncover unexpected and valuable insights that help organizations achieve greater efficiencies and profitability. Integrating these capabilities into the cloud makes AI insights available to the business users who need them most. This can ultimately drive a better employee and customer experience."

Pooja Singh

Former Features Editor, Entrepreneur Asia Pacific


A stickler for details, Pooja Singh likes telling people stories. She has previously worked with Mint-Hindustan Times, Down To Earth and Asian News International-Reuters. 

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