Article: AI productivity: Small changes, big impact

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AI productivity: Small changes, big impact

Even before businesses can rake in billions of dollars in productivity gains from AI, some minor enhancements to daily tasks are necessary to bolster productivity.
AI productivity: Small changes, big impact

Two years into the explosion of generative AI, are you now ready to launch your own transformation agenda using the interface?

You might be keen to update your technology stack but wondering whether your organisation has the digital maturity to make the most out of AI.

Studies point to the fact that business leaders globally are excited about the productivity benefits of nascent tools. The reason is primarily economic: the increased use of gen AI is expected to bring in as much as US$4.4 trillion in corporate profits, according to data from McKinsey.

Productivity gains in software engineering, marketing, research & development, and customer services across industries could yield billions of dollars in additional value.

“In banking, for example, the technology could create value equal to an additional US$200 billion to US$340 billion a year if all use cases were implemented,” analysis from McKinsey suggests.

READ MORE | IMF chief warns of AI disruption to 40% of global jobs

Leaders and workers don't see eye to eye on AI changes 

With today’s variety of use cases for AI, tech adoption will be a matter of knowing which areas of work stand to benefit from AI usage now more than others. There is, however, a discrepancy between how leaders and workers understand the speed of AI transformation and its extent.

Not all employees are as enthusiastic or updated on AI changes as their bosses.

Most business leaders (78%) say they are now implementing AI-driven projects. In contrast, more than half of their employees (54%) are clueless as to how exactly AI is being used in the enterprise, a global study from HR tech giant UKG found.

Even before businesses can rake in billions of dollars in productivity gains from AI, some minor enhancements to daily tasks – both at an individual and team level – are necessary to bolster overall productivity for the enterprise. AI implementation doesn’t have to be complicated or anxiety-inducing.

In Australia, for example, a region where business leaders are said to be among the most enthusiastic about AI adoption, employees surveyed by Zoom are leveraging AI in simple day-to-day tasks. Respondents say they use AI to augment their work by:

  • Summarising meetings, chat messages, and notes (44%)
  • Automating repetitive tasks (43%)
  • Finding and organising information (36%)

Asia Pacific as a whole is seen as the most bullish on AI: seven in 10 employees (69%) are excited about the changes – significantly higher than the percentage of US employees (47%) who share the same sentiments. Overall, employees in APAC (43%) also exhibit a higher tendency to adopt AI, compared to workers in EMEA (29%) and the US (26%).

READ MORE | Will AI kill jobs or liberate human talent?

“It’s clear that those who aren’t using AI may be missing out on an opportunity to improve how they use their time by embracing these transformative technologies,” said Ricky Kapur, head of Asia Pacific for Zoom.

At this point, the use of AI tools varies from organisation to organisation. And even within organisations, enablement also differs by department or nature of work.

“Leadership will be key to unlocking AI benefits and in fostering adoption,” advises Bede Hackney, head of Australia and New Zealand at Zoom. “Just as AI can help automate or assist with tasks to improve productivity, it can also help boost collaboration.”

A crucial element of this shift to the AI era is educating teams and providing resources towards unlocking the full potential of AI in the workplace, Bede says.

Continuing anxiety over AI job displacement

Despite AI tools making work easier to manage, nine in every 10 workers (89%) still believe AI adoption could spell the end of their careers, according to the same study by Zoom.

This anxiety is not without reason, however. Bain & Company estimates up to 40% of jobs in the professional services, administrative services, and media industries could be automated.

Tech leaders, like Hugo Sarrazin, chief product and technology officer at UKG, offer a word of caution against jumping into panic mode right away. “AI is going to automate tasks, not automate a full job in most cases,” Sarrazin told CNBC.

Are you still grappling with generative AI and other AI tools? We'll be deep-diving into these topics at #TechHRSGRegister now to be part of Asia’s Largest HR & WorkTech Conference!

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Topics: Business, Technology, Culture, #Future of Work, #Artificial Intelligence, #TechHRSG

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