In today’s workplaces, a revolution is underway that’s as big as the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. It will transform the way we do business, no matter what industry we’re in.
It’s called Artificial Intelligence — the integration of machine learning and automation with every aspect of your company. Are you ready?
Here’s a rundown of some of the ways AI is already improving efficiencies and cutting costs. You’re probably using some of them now; others may give you food for thought and future planning.
In the not-too-distant past, every company owned its own computer servers and other hardware. This created a new cost center of rapidly obsolescing equipment as well as specialist employees needed to maintain and repair it. This fixed asset also had the potential for over- or under-supply situations, leading to further costs.
Nowadays, most businesses rent their computing infrastructure from cloud providers. The advantages are obvious. Hardware is updated and maintained by the provider. Plus, it’s a dynamic rather than a fixed cost: companies pay only for how much capacity they use.
Business software can also now be rented in the cloud. By giving employees on-demand access, a company maximizes its cost efficiencies and allows workers to be more productive. At Xendoo, we use cloud accounting software (Xero) to provide our clients with real-time connectivity from any device at any time.
Very few people like the necessity for doing routine, repetitive tasks. Employees are bored and dissatisfied; their employers hate the waste of brainpower that could be put to better use in judgment, creative, decision-making and interpersonal activities. Wouldn’t it be great if machines could do the boring stuff?
To a great extent, they can now do just that. In our own niche of accounting, bank transactions are automatically imported into the books, instead of having a person do it manually. This eliminates the possibility of human error and frees up our human experts for higher level thought production.
Other possibilities include:
- Chatbots that interact with your customers, e.g. answering FAQs
- Software that pulls data from your CRM spreadsheet to automatically send marketing promotions or invoices
Flexible Work Scheduling
Nothing is more frustrating than to have employees sitting idle, or to have urgent work on hand and nobody to do it. With a scheduling application, it’s much easier to assign tasks to the right people at the right time.
In industries from tech support to advertising to shipping, many employers have pretty much eliminated traditional 9-to-5 positions, instead drawing on a pool of labor as they need it. This sits well with younger generations of employees, who demand more work-life balance and appreciate the ability to work as much or little as they like.
Shared Projects and Workflows
It’s no longer necessary for members of a team or task force to be in the same space at the same time in order to work on a joint project. There are many apps available that allow project materials to be stored in the cloud and worked on by multiple users.
Workflows also can and should be shared. Traditionally, the method for doing a task is passed on from supervisor or senior employee to the new employee, who in turn adds their own “improvements” to it. The result is inconsistent performance, as well as the possibility for individuals or departments to create knowledge silos that nobody else can access.
Instead, best practices, key knowledge and validation steps for each workflow should be made available to all workers, either in the cloud or in the company’s internal network.
Machine learning automates the process of looking at past data to determine what will happen in the future. For example, it could analyze the results from previous marketing campaigns to show what advertising messages and media will be most effective in your next campaign.
Hiring and managing workers also benefits from predictive analytics. Programmed with your metrics such as production performance, attrition, employee life cycle and engagement surveys, the software will identify your ideal employee. Use this information to screen job candidates and modify behaviors of current employees.
Key to the success of the human-machine partnership is quantification. We expect that the future workplace will measure on-the-job behaviors and processes in many new ways, from task time to customer satisfaction. This data will empower the task scheduling, workflow improvement, information sharing and machine learning discussed above.
Xendoo is proud to provide accounting services enabled by the cloud and proprietary software. With speed, accuracy and affordability that was never before possible, we relieve you of bookkeeping chores that kept you from putting 100% effort into your area of expertise. Welcome to the future of business success!