AI and intelligent automation are changing the ways companies compete and members of the C-suite need to contemplate a broader spectrum of issues than technology alone. Marching ahead in the competitive market requires members of the C-suite to consider the potential opportunities, challenges and risks, including the impacts on people and processes. One of the biggest impacts AI and intelligent automation have on the C-suite is the expanded scope of responsibility. Executives are no longer responsible for only people, but also for the people and intelligent machines. Following are a few ways AI and intelligent automation affect the C-suite.
As human-machine partnerships evolve, the definition of “business as usual” continues to shift. Technologies like RPA, virtual agents, chatbots, and intelligent interactive voice response systems (IVR) are being used to automate call centers, although the same technologies can also be applied to many other functions including HR, finance and procurement. Leaders have to consider what to do with their labour sources. If the federal sector has to adopt more proactive means of augmenting their workforce with technology such as shadow agency using virtual agents powered by AI to always give the expert answer, they’d be able to spread their workforce, no matter the skill set, and provide the expertise that a citizen might like.
Other parts of a value chain may be impacted when one part of a value chain leverages machine intelligence. For example, truck drivers fear the advent of self-driving trucks. However, in the past year, trucking industry automation hasn’t advanced much due to the initial human involvement required to get it started, the state of safety legislation, hours-of-service issues and infrastructure improvements that need to be addressed. The obvious thing is the impact on the 3.5 million U.S. truckers. As you start thinking about the value pool, you see these forward and backward linkages.
Though AI and intelligent automation enable new, competitive opportunities, they also introduce new forms of risks. Executives need to consider both in considerable detail to minimize the risks of unintended consequences. There are some tough choices the C suite faces of how and when to introduce specific technology. It’s important to understand what the goals are and you need to look at your overarching strategy and understand what the risks and implications of that particular technology will have on your organization, your customers, shareholders or whatever is an important thing.