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AI In the Workplace: Navigating the Future of Business

Smart Questions from Business Owners will help them make smart decisions when it comes to how they use AI.

It seems like weekly, even daily, we are hearing about AI and what it can do. Much of the talk is around asking what jobs AI will replace, however there are many other facets of AI and the impact it can have on efficiency. Business owners would be neglectful to not consider learning about AI, and how it could potentially benefit them and their business.

Investigating the potential uses for AI in your company requires asking questions to help discover what you need to know in order to make informed decisions. Here's a few to start:

  1. What specific problems or processes in our business can AI address or improve? Start with identifying repetitive administrative tasks: could some of it be automated? Would it be helpful to record a meeting or training session, and have AI close-caption it, write summary notes, or even turn it into a 'how-to'? Think about all the times you had to show individuals the same task - what about recording it and asking AI to turn it into a training manual?

  2. How will data be collected and used? This is a large concern for tech companies that are using AI for QA: everything you put into any AI platform, unless using a secured platform that advertises safety of your data, is accessible to everyone else. Don't share trade secrets. You also need to factor in compliance with storage and data security regulations in your particular area.

  3. How will AI impact your current workforce? Understanding how automating tasks will impact your people - and their jobs - is crucial. Employees are already nervous about job loss due to AI; being transparent with what you are trying to achieve, why, and how it will impact them is important.

  4. What is the ROI on implementing AI? There is a cost to developing efficiencies using AI, particularly if you are not comfortable with software development. Some things are pretty straight forward, but there are more complex transactions that AI can do but you'll need to pay someone to do it as well as pay for the software/system to do it. Consider the cost outlay vs the expected return on that investment before making any decisions.

  5. How will AI change interactions with our customers and employees? Depending on your industry, this could be a significant consideration. Bots ae common: if part of your value proposition is personalized service, keep that in the forefront when considering the impact on customer experience. That said, your client/employee demographics will also play into your decision making (we know the younger demographic loves automation, texting, and bots; on the other hand, my mom still physically goes into the bank to pay bills and withdraw cash).

  6. How does AI fit with your overall values and longer-term strategy? Alignment is a key principle in running a great business: alignment of values with practices and expectations, and alignment of performance goals with corporate ones. If you're considering using AI, take a look at your future plans and envision how AI fits in now, as well as in the future. You'll also need to factor in what investments might be needed to keep it relevant to your company's - and customers - evolving needs.

These are just some of the questions that business owners should be asking when considering if, and how, they could leverage AI in their companies.

The integration of AI into the workplace is more than a technological upgrade; it is a pivotal shift in how businesses operate. If approached with a blend of curiosity and a desire to learn, and being sure to ask the right questions, business owners can move towards AI adoption with thoughtful planning and a clear vision of what they want to achieve.


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