Bringing AI in-house

Employees are increasingly expecting the delivery of internal services to be as slick as ordering something from Amazon or hailing a cab from Uber. Most businesses are starting to think along these lines, with 80% of executives believing that AI can increase productivity. Making these gains a reality isn’t as difficult as some might think. As such, we’ve put together three examples of where AI can help deliver services internally:

>See also: Bringing AI in-house – why AI isn’t just for customers

Intelligent services without human interaction

The first areas where AI can help is IT management and support. After all, when it comes to employee frustrations, IT problems frequently top the list. Many find that when they have a problem, it can take a long time for it to be resolved. In recent years, many organisations have made some headway by using IT service management (ITSM) platforms to deliver a better service to employees. But even then, in most cases, these rely on ‘to and fro’ conversations or, require an engineer to be sent for the problem to be fixed. Even if it is easier to have these conversations, it still doesn’t negate the need for them.

>See also: The combination of artificial intelligence and the cloud

Yet today, AI chatbots can simplify and accelerate the entire process further, to the point where in some cases, no interaction with a human is required at all. Rather than relying on engineers, AI chatbots can assess what the problem is by asking questions and then offer solutions that can be carried out by the employee – which could be as simple as pointing them to a self-help resource or knowledge base article with the answer in. This means employees are empowered by the AI chatbot to resolve the problem themselves, which can be much faster than having to work through the IT department. Where issues persist or are more complicated, the AI chatbot can escalate the issue to the IT team to send out an engineer. AI chatbots have a further major advantage over traditional IT support – they are available 24/7, meaning help is on hand even outside traditional office hours. Moreover, IT is not the only areas of the business where AI chatbots can help.

>See also: Ethical AI – the answer is clear

Simplifying HR

Modern businesses are frequently global and diverse, meaning employees are scattered all over the world, yet these organisations know that positive HR policies and environments are the keys to retaining staff long-term. However, being spread across different regions does introduce challenges in achieving such a holistic approach, due to differing policies, processes, regulations, and systems. No two companies are alike. Thus employees have many questions, and HR staff have a lot of their time tied up in answering them. This challenge can be exacerbated when an organisation has offices around the globe which frequently use different policies in each region. The complexity grows when you add in questions about holidays, grievances, and pension plans – among many other topics – from potentially thousands of employees.

In the past any enquiry had to be dealt with by a human, taking up valuable time for both the employee asking the question and the person trying to respond. Even the simple act of finding out how many days holiday someone has left can result in multiple emails sent across an organisation. AI chatbots can now take a lot of the pressure away from HR departments by answering questions about policies, or even telling employees how many days holiday they have left and helping to book it. This process is much faster than a human dealing with each request, meaning HR teams can focus on critical issues such as recruitment, updating policies, and employee training.

>See also: 5 AI technologies that are already mainstream in the enterprise

Facilitating facilities

Another area that can be improved through the use of AI is facilities management. In some ways, the facilities department are doing their job best when no one knows they are there, but the fact is that most employees will run into problems at some point or another. When we think about how facilities services could be delivered more effectively with the help of AI, our thoughts might drift to autonomous robots that can turn up and carry out maintenance by themselves.

Though we might still be a few years from that reality, AI chatbots can already help to organise repairs – whether it’s getting maintenance teams to come and fix an AC system or replace a lightbulb. In addition, they can also help employees to request new IT or other equipment such as POS terminals, as required and help to get these items approved with minimal e-mail traffic. Also, AI systems create a lot of data which can then be analysed to spot trends – for instance recognising when downtime occurs and amending maintenance schedules to minimise these occurrences.

>See also: The rise of artificial intelligence in business and society

Time for change

Many organisations might see the financial gains made possible through AI chatbots as a result of streamlined processes and time savings as the key driver for adopting this technology. With a possibility to boost profitability by almost 40%, businesses shouldn’t ignore the benefits AI tech can bring. But it’s important to remember that they can also help make the internal delivery of services an Amazon-like experience – even within large organisations. This can help to boost the bottom line through the improved usage of available resources and increased employee satisfaction, leading to better productivity.

By Mark Flexman, DXC Fruition Practice Lead, DXC Technology

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Andrew Ross

As a reporter with Information Age, Andrew Ross writes articles for technology leaders; helping them manage business critical issues both for today and in the future