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IDG Contributor Network: Reasons to welcome artificial intelligence into your workplace

When you think of artificial intelligence in the workplace, you probably think of a robot doing a person’s job, like you’d see in a factory. Maybe the robot is sending out emails or making photocopies for employees. That’s the picture of AI painted by Hollywood; however, real artificial intelligence isn’t always that glamorous.

By welcoming AI into the workplace, you don’t have to worry about a robot taking over your job. There are workplace applications for AI that don’t involve robots and work invisibly. For example, AI can be integrated into software used by people and businesses. After all, what makes a robot “artificially intelligent” is the software it operates on—not its metal shell.

Robots are cool, but AI isn’t just about machinery. It’s about systems that help people gather and process data more accurately, bypassing the human brain’s limitations and tendency for unconscious bias. Because software is designed to process data, more developers are incorporating AI systems into their products.

AI improves processes, systems, and analytics

When CRM giant Salesforce created an AI system called Einstein, the goal was to provide businesses with insights into what sales leads to follow and what products to make in the future. Launched in 2016, Einstein is still in the early stages and has a long way to go before reaching its full potential.

According to the New York Times, Salesforce isn’t the only company implementing software-based AI to benefit their business clients. Oracle, General Electric, and IBM are but a few major corporations investing in AI technology. This technology is described by the New York Times as, “essentially a series of advanced statistics-based exercises that review the past to indicate the likely future, or look at current customer choices to figure out where to put more or less energy.”

Knowing where to put more energy isn’t just the key to generating sales; it’s the key to streamlining organizational processes that ultimately drive those sales. That’s exactly why a company named Clarizen incorporates AI technology into its software. Clarizen is a cloud-based, intelligent project management solution that helps teams automate their workflow and manage repeatable processes. Like Salesforce, it sees big potential.

 “The future of AI,” says Clarizen, “involves providing further support for the workforce by tracking complex aspects of project workflows to spot waste, evaluate performance, quantify outcomes and even offer analysis.” Experts agree with this observation and see AI integrated into the future of project management.

Bernard Marr, global data expert and author of Data Strategytold Raconteur, “AI is not yet widely applied in project management, but I believe this will change. We’ve seen a rise in the use of AI natural language virtual assistants like Siri and Cortana to coordinate tasks in other areas of our lives, so it is inevitable that project management will be next.”

Marr also predicts AI systems can help produce budgets and estimate timeframes in real time, which human project managers can’t do.

The Raconteur article linked above also cites a recent Axelos survey that determined 57 percent of project managers expect AI and machine learning to greatly impact project management. Fifty-nine percent believe AI will relieve the burden of daily, routine tasks. Although, 90 percent are aware of the inherent risks that need to be tightly managed. One of those risks is the absence of emotional intelligence and the process of communication and building relationships. 

AI-powered project management software can make intelligent decisions

AI-powered software not only generates precise data but can make adjustments automatically based on that data. For example, AI can assist in making real-time planning changes the moment they become necessary—something that would take a person hours to fully comprehend and execute. AI can spot where resources are being wasted, and automatically redistribute them to maximize efficiency.

An AI-powered project management system has the capability of automatically assigning tasks and deadlines to team members and adjusting every aspect of the project as tasks are completed and goals are met. Even if a person could think that quickly, just the act of executing changes manually makes it inefficient compared to AI.

Automation relieves a huge burden for leaders

Project managers have a huge responsibility to their company and their teams. There’s so much information to process, they spend far too much time buried in paperwork. AI helps project managers spend more of their time using their skills for tasks computer software can’t do, like developing strategies, policies, and procedures for their team.

Perhaps the best promise of AI-powered software is the fact that its algorithm can learn how each user interacts with the software and create a completely customized experience for each user.

AI might redefine the role of project manager

Project management should use a people-first approach combined with the technical tools that support moving projects forward. If AI does take over most of the tasks for project managers, it’s likely to redefine, rather than replace, the role of existing project managers. For example, while AI handles the raw data, project managers will interact more with their teams, focusing on leadership and communication.

Get ready for AI in the workplace

Today’s IoT world is already leaning toward using artificial intelligence to automate processes and improve systems. When placed in the proper context, AI in the workplace isn’t something to fear, but rather something to celebrate and embrace. It may be in the early stages of development, but its promise for the future looks bright.

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?

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