C5: I’ll have my bot call your bot

Written by: C5 Alliance Posted: 08/05/2020

BL67_C5_JohnGambleJohn Gamble (pictured), Director of Professional Services at C5 Alliance, asks whether digital bots and other technologies are helping businesses gain valuable insights that truly enhance performance

Imagine a world where you don’t have to remember to renew your home insurance – or your car, health or travel insurance for that matter. A world where you won’t have to spend precious hours combing through and poring over hundreds of offers. 

Instead, you will have a digital assistant – a bot – who will gently remind you at a convenient time. You will tell your bot to go and find the best deal and make the transaction. It will then go and talk to the insurance provider’s bots to identify the best possible deal that suits your preferences. 

The need for insurance isn’t going to go away, but it will become much easier to navigate, thanks to the advances of robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI). 

RPA and AI are already making their mark in organisations, with many mundane and repetitive processes being automated, and robots taking on the workload. 

AI is the result of building machines that can work, think and react like human beings – except they don’t get tired and they don’t make mistakes. 

But RPA and AI are not here to take jobs away. A study by Gartner shows that more jobs will be created by AI compared with those lost, and that AI will be pervasive in almost all software products and services. AI and RPA are providing people with more time to think creatively whilst also reducing risk.

AI is playing an increasingly significant role in many businesses. It is freeing up people in the workplace to innovate, to create new services and to add value to their customers. 

Everyone will soon be in an IT career, whether we like it or not. A bank will be an IT company that sells financial services, with its data underpinning its value. 

Car manufacturer Ford is now a software company that makes cars. It employs developers and its latest F-150 pickup truck has more lines of code in its system than a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. 

When AI is fully immersed in all businesses, which skills will you need to survive and thrive? At present, people with specialist knowledge of advanced mathematics – statistical modelling and algorithm experts – are leading the charge. 

BL67_C5 illoWe need humans to train and evaluate AI to ensure that it meets customer expectations in terms of privacy, security and ease of use. As business applications become more intuitive, we will see opportunities for people with different skillsets to interact with data.

For example, Microsoft tools are already embedding user-friendly AI features into products such as Power BI and Office 365. 

Microsoft’s cloud computing service, Azure, offers people the ability to build image recognition services. For example, people working in warehouses can take a photo of a Coke bottle with their phone and then, without any real coding, upload that photo to a system that can recognise the image and assist in stock-taking. 

Many people have seen PowerPoint develop over time and now PowerPoint 365 has a ‘Presenter Coach’ mode, which will actively listen to your rehearsal. It then uses AI to make suggestions about how you can improve your presentation based on your speed of delivery and tone of voice. 

It can also add live subtitles to the screen, which can be translated instantly – very useful if you are presenting abroad.

Microsoft also provides a QnA Maker to create chatbots. At C5 Alliance, we have used this service to analyse our extensive policies and procedures. Within minutes, it embedded a chatbot into our Microsoft Teams sites.

So people can now, for example, quickly ask the bot what the dress code is on Friday and the answer will pop up instantly. You can create a smart app without any actual coding.

It won’t be necessary for most people to understand how the apps work. The focus will be on making everyone more aware of the possibilities these apps provide. 

School leavers will come into the workplace already knowing how to make use of these tools. GCSE computer science is already preparing the next generation, making children more familiar with working with data. 

Despite having minimal coding experience, our children are now connecting to multiple data sources and becoming proficient at structuring and analysing data. And, as they enter the workforce, how they communicate with customers will be a critical skill in an AI world.

At C5 Alliance, we employ consultants and it is our responsibility as an employer to ensure our staff have the right skills to exceed customer expectations. 

Technical skills are one part of the job and we provide training to help our people keep up to date with the latest developments. But an enthusiasm for data and for technology are crucial elements that make up our consultants’ roles. 

We work on projects and change in organisations, where we find a technological solution that needs to be delivered, managed and communicated. We need team players to listen, to understand the challenge our clients are facing, to speak, to write and to present in order to get our message across. Communication plays a vital role in our profession. 

Future-proofing your career is going to be less about picking a safe job and more about a constant yearning to learn and update your skills throughout your career. 

Humans are creative, critical and curious. That differentiates us from the machines, and it will ensure our careers survive and thrive in an AI world. 

Contact enquiries@c5alliance.com for further information on how C5 Alliance can help your business harness new technology to gain valuable insights and enhance performance. 

• This advertising feature was first published in the April/May 2020 edition of Businesslife magazine

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