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Take the plunge: Integrating AI into processes to maximise efficiency

By Jack Campbell | |6 minute read

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to shape the future of work, and presently, we are amid the transition. Leaders who are able to hop on board the trend early stand a better chance of staying ahead of the competition. However, it must be approached appropriately.

The opportunities

The benefits AI can bring are multifaceted. While it has the potential to accelerate company efficiency, it can also assist the individual by making their job easier.


Bede Hackney, head of ANZ at Zoom, commented on the opportunity organisations have: “AI has the ability for some really macro-level changes. AI can genuinely change the fundamental way that companies operate. Whether it’s driving revenue, or improving customer satisfaction, or bringing down costs.”

“There’s also this micro level; personal productivity, [which] is a really low-hanging fruit, where AI can drive not just a significant impact … but also really quick impact.”

The potential to drive change quickly is a major advantage of AI. According to Mr Hackney, the push this tech can give an organisation is one of the most important advantages. However, there is an urgency that must be considered.

“The key to an AI strategy for an organisation is momentum. Pretty much every business leader today realises that they need to take advantage of AI and take advantage of the opportunity [it] presents. And so, we’re all developing AI strategies, and we’re looking to leverage the technology in our business. The question is, how do you get started? And the answer is, you just get started,” said Mr Hackney.

“You drive momentum and acceleration by getting quick wins along the way. And I really believe that that personal productivity is just a huge opportunity for delivering those quick wins.”

Leaders are optimistic

Taking the plunge may be daunting, as any major decision for a company is a gamble. However, according to Mr Hackney, leaders are confident in the potential of AI.

“Leaders are almost ubiquitously optimistic. A survey that we did at Zoom of customers around the world, 88 per cent of global leaders [said they were] optimistic about the potential for AI in their business. Here in Australia, that number goes from 88 per cent to 93 per cent,” he explained.

“Seventy-six per cent of those leaders are also concerned, and they believe that if they delay their AI strategy, it will cause their business to fall behind. It’s an interesting dynamic of optimism but also urgency.”

Concerns: They must be eased

The concern with falling behind is “really founded”, said Mr Hackney. The overwhelming optimism is met with a few outliers who are concerned, but this is reportedly employees more so than leaders.

This reinforces the idea that employers must communicate with employees the potential of AI and work to ease concerns. Businesses that get this wrong risk alienating employees.

Mr Hackney continued: “Firstly, I think it’s important that organisations are really transparent about their AI strategy. And I think that transparency is both strategic and operational. Strategically, companies need to talk about what their goals are with AI and what they’re trying to achieve, and operationally, it’s really simple stuff. With our AI companion at Zoom, we’ve spent a lot of time being really transparent with the media and with our customers that, under no circumstances do we train on your data. We’ve really tried to educate our customers on that because we think it builds trust.”

As with many things in life, exposure is a great way to calm negative opinions. Get employees to use AI and get them comfortable with it. This will make the transition all the easier.

“It goes back to momentum. An employee who is concerned about job loss, and AI is this big scary thing, they’re going to start to get a lot more comfortable if they can use the AI tools in their personal work, and they can start to see the productivity gains that these tools are giving them,” Mr Hackney said.

“There’s a forecast that AI will add something somewhere between $50 [billion] and $150 billion in value in the ANZ economy by the end of this decade. That’s a lot of new jobs, and that’s a lot of new potential. So, I really think the key is transparency and trust. And then, give people the opportunity to take advantage of the tools … If you can give people access to the tool, and the tool makes their daily job better, that’s going to break down those concerns.”

Become active in integrating AI into everyday processes

Get started, said Mr Hackney: “I would for two reasons. Reason number one is leveraging the tools, seeing the advantages, and getting more comfortable comfort with them, is how we can build more trust in the tools, and that will accelerate your AI strategy in and of itself.”

He concluded: “The other thing is, there’s massive gains here. The average knowledge worker spends as much as 60 per cent of their time, more than half of their time, doing work about work rather than the knowledge base tasks that they were hired to do … If AI tools can give us back 30 per cent, or 50 per cent of that time, that’s a huge productivity win.”

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.