According to new research by Accenture, companies risk losing important growth opportunities if their CEOs are not able to take action to reshape the workforce, providing all employees with the right tools to take advantage of smart technologies.
The study, entitled “Reworking the Revolution: Are you ready to compete as an intelligent technology?” estimates that business revenues could grow by 38% by 2020, provided they invest in artificial intelligence and effective human-machine cooperation at least as much as market-leading companies.
Under these conditions, the level of employment could also benefit from an increase of 10%. For the global economy, this would translate into a profit growth of $4.8 trillion. For example, in an S&P 500, this equates to $7.5 billion in revenues and an increase in profitability of $880 million.
According to the study, both management and employees think that artificial intelligence systems will have a central role in the business and will change the daily activities. In particular, 72% of the 1,200 top managers interviewed believe that intelligent technology will be strategic to gain the competitive advantage in the market.
According to 61% of managers, in the next three years, the number of professionals who will use artificial intelligence every day will grow. At the same time, 69% of the 14,000 workers interviewed are aware of the importance of developing skills that allow them to work with intelligent machines.
Despite the fact that 54% of the company executives consider the man-machine collaboration crucial for the business, only 3% of them expected a significant increase in investments in the retraining of their employees within the next three years.
To be able to grow in the age of AI, companies need to invest more in training, to prepare employees for a new way of working in cooperation with the machines. What we call Applied Intelligence, ie the ability to quickly integrate intelligent technology and human ingenuity in all company functions, will increasingly be an essential element for the success and growth of companies.
The report has finally identified three guidelines to accompany the evolution of the new workforce in the era of AI.
Rethinking the work starting from the workers
We need to start from the tasks, rather than from the roles, and assign the tasks from time to time to machines and people, balancing the need to automate the work with that of enhancing people’s skills. Almost half of the company executives (46%) believe that it is obsolete to think in terms of pre-established tasks for each profession and 29% say they have already broadly redesigned their roles intending to greater flexibility and artificial intelligence.
Workforce in areas of greater value
We need to go beyond just the concept of process efficiency to train the workforce to enable new customer experiences. Growth occurs only by reinvesting the savings obtained thanks to automation in the evolution of the workforce. Furthermore, a dynamic, agile and creative leadership approach will allow us to seize the opportunities for this longer-term transformation.
The starting point of this process is the assessment of the level of competence of people and their willingness to learn to work using artificial intelligence systems. Digital platforms make it possible to customize training programs for individuals, favoring the adoption of new skills.