The promise of AI assistants in the enterprise is clear. Quick and easy automation is just a click or a chat away. With just a few easy steps, you can have your very own shallow workflow automation helper in your browser, window, chat client, or phone ready to help at a moment’s notice.
Gartner Predicts that 70 Percent of Organizations Will Integrate AI to Assist Employees’ Productivity by 2021, so companies are already taking steps to put AI into the hands of their employees. But for all of the hype and promise,
AI assistants can be underwhelming and sometimes detrimental. The Gartner report goes on to say that bad AI assistant experiences can lead to toxic work environments among the humans in the office.
We should be treating Artificial Intelligence as a tool, and not an overall solution to our problems. Like every other tool, AI only works best under certain circumstances.
- Does the problem you’re trying to automate include natural/nuanced/intuitive conversation with a human? If so, out of the box assistants tend to fall short here.
- Do you have enough data about the problem to fully contextualize and inform your solution? This is a nice way of saying, can you prove that the problem that you’re trying to solve exists and can be solved by AI. If not, don’t jump into an AI assistance solution headfirst.
- Third and most importantly, can a case be made for organizational change to allow AI to implement deeper automation rather than to just assist? This is often the most difficult hurdle for companies because it requires a fundamental re-evaluation of the way your company does business. Ask yourself: do you simply want to improve your employee’s output with assistance, or fundamentally evolve and augment the way you do business using deeper automation of routine and non-routine tasks? Do you want a chat bot that can surface an already written faq slightly faster than a human could, or do you want an ai that can converse, ask clarifying questions, and impact your customers positively
Think soberly about these questions. Your company’s automation journey will only be as successful as your evaluation of your problem’s needs, data and potential to transform your organization.
This is the work you must do that no AI assistant can replace.
*Note: This speech was presented at the 2019 World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship in April 2019.