How will machines unleash your business’ potential?

How will machines unleash your business’ potential?

Neill Hughes, Director of Direct Channel

Neill Hughes, Director of Direct Channel

Imagine yourself as a child today – what job would you choose? Knowing what we know about how quickly technology has transformed the workplace, would the job you've selected even still exist?

Now think about what you want your business to look like in the next decade – what technologies would you choose? Business technologies are evolving at lightning speeds, changing the way companies operate and how people work.

While this might seem daunting, at TalkTalk Business we view these technological changes as fundamentally good for businesses, as they can fully unleash your business' potential. Employees agree, as our recent survey found that nearly one third believe that Artificial Intelligence (AI), automation and other technologies have the potential to enable them to work more efficiently.

That said, there are some notable differences in opinion between the sexes. More men than women have a positive outlook on automation in the workplace, with 28% of male workers in comparison to 19% of female workers thinking automation will help improve their attention to detail and reduce errors. Additionally, over a third of male workers (39%) feel AI and automation will make them better at tackling day-to-day tasks, in contrast to less than a quarter of female workers (24%).

It is undeniable that technologies such as AI, machine learning and automation will factor into how businesses plan not only their technology spend, but also their entire workforce strategy in the years to come. Recently, the World Economic Forum surveyed HR decision makers all around the world and nearly half (44%) reported that technologies enabling remote working, co-working space and teleconferencing would be the main drivers of technology change.

Much of the technology that powers future working practices already exists; think of the many cloud tools such as Box and Dropbox, or Unified Communications tools such as Webex or GoToMeeting. These not only allow employees to work from anywhere, but to collaborate with colleagues in real-time. Of course, all of these must be underpinned by state-of-the-art connectivity, which will ensure these essential business tools are available whenever needed.

So, what does all of this really mean for your organisation?

Currently the adoption of AI and machine learning is facing a bottleneck built out of three issues:

  • Management
  • Implementation
  • Poor business understanding

It can be said, then, that the most nimble and adaptable organisations and employees will thrive in the age of the machine assisted work.

Right now, workforces consist primarily of people, often sharing an office, working roughly the same hours. However, in the future, it is possible that robots will be introduced to the chain of management, both managing and being managed by people. In addition, it is likely that workforces will be dispersed and working when it makes sense for them. This will increase productivity, as work will not be tied to a place or time, but tasks that must be completed within a certain timeframe.

The technology that supports businesses is also steadily improving. The beauty of machine learning is that its effectiveness is on the rise and it is widely available. Businesses can now start to benefit from systems that learn to perform tasks on their own, and consistently improve at their jobs, eventually becoming better than humans at performing tasks such as analysing huge amounts of data to detect fraud or diagnose disease. This enables human employees to solve the problems, rather than spending time on detecting them in the first place.

Businesses that are ready for a change do not need to undertake the challenge of transforming workplaces on their own. Trusted partners that are easy to work with and ready to help innovate are crucial for ensuring organisations select the right technology for them, and adopt them in a way that makes sense for the company. This is something that TalkTalk Business is passionate about, as we understand that not every tool is right for every organisation, therefore an in-depth understanding of business needs and the technology available to help is essential.

This is a time of tectonic change in the business world. Companies that are early to innovate, and are open-minded enough to educate themselves on the next wave of technological advances will be the most successful in the years to come. Perhaps, then, another benefit of the next wave of workplace advancements is not simply the new and exciting ways of working we will start to see, but also a brand-new generation of business leaders that will have the knowledge and understanding to transform how we work.

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In this series of Workforces 2025 blogs, we will investigate a selection of future trends and developments that senior business decision makers need to consider and begin planning for, to keep their organisations competitive at a pivotal time for the country's global productivity. We will also look at how TalkTalk Business aims to assist in the successful delivery of these services, to enable a thriving future workplace.