Once the preserve of sci-fi writers everywhere, the prospect of welcoming artificial intelligence into our everyday lives is no longer a surprising or far-fetched idea for many of us.
From voice-controlled assistants like Siri and Alexa, to automated phone systems, marketing platforms and the long-awaited arrival of driverless cars, AI is already in use around us - and its reach is only set to grow in the coming years.
But, as with most new technology, the first to benefit from advances in AI won’t be consumers - it will be businesses like yours, with new systems becoming available to help with the smooth running of your organisation, better planning and logistics, and to boost productivity.
According to a report by Infosys, business owners making use of AI now expect to see a nearly 40% boost in revenue by 2020, and a similarly sized cut in operating costs too. But despite the apparent benefits, the road to full AI adoption isn’t a clear one.
Infosys’s report shows that nearly 90% of business owners believe that their customers and employees are concerned about AI, and just 36% believe that their company has properly considered the ethical impact of the technology. Concerns about AI don’t appear to be slowing down the progress being made though, and more than 70% now see its coming workplace rise as inevitable.
That’s not to say that AI will be outright replacing you or your team. As reported in The Record, many industry experts agree that the future will see AI systems working alongside human teams, giving IT Managers access to the best of both worlds while making your existing staff more efficient.
Automated and in-depth reporting could give your staff the tools to make better-informed decisions, for example. Low-level admin tasks may be automated to free up time for more valuable work, machine learning could identify methods for making your workflow more efficient, and personal AI assistants could offer new tools for analysing data and reviewing system usage.
IT Managers could soon be making use of chat bots for user interaction, for example - intelligent tools capable of both answering queries and collecting user data and needs. HBR suggests that machine learning tools could be used in IT for optimising hardware choices, with AI helping with the selection of purchases, cost analysis and decision making too.
The benefits brought about by AI will likely require a shift in the way that IT teams work as well, moving from one where machines merely provide information to one where they are all but part of the team.
The full extent of the changes that will be ushered in by AI may not be known for many years yet, and the industry landscape is still rapidly evolving. What is clear though, and is supported by experts and industry leaders, is that the changes will be profound and far-reaching.
Significant changes will need to be made in workflows, infrastructure, training and recruitment, as IT teams adapt to a new way of working. IT support teams will need new skills to assist with their AI tools, customers and employees will need convincing of the advantages of AI, and business owners will need to be shown the benefits of properly investing in the new technology.
Ultimately, while the path to full AI adoption may yet throw up some obstacles, especially for IT managers who will need to quickly adapt to new tech, AI could soon usher in a new way of working, with unrivalled productivity, user insight and efficiency.