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Investment in virtual advisors to increase as AI technology matures

20 Jul 17

Gaining competitive advantage and improving business process are among the top goals of companies implementing a digital transformation strategy, research has found.

40% of 800 organisations in 15 countries that were interviewed for Dimension Data’s Digital Workplace Report: Transforming Your Business attested to this.

Another insight in the report is that digital transformation is not just about adopting the technologies of the past: 62% of research participants expect to have technology such as virtual advisors in their organisations within the next two years.

In addition, 58% expect to start actively investing in technology that powers virtual advisors in the next two years.

Today, the digital workplace is no longer just made up of managers and those managed; co-workers collaborating with one another to complete projects, and employees interacting with customers and partners.

It’s increasingly populated by ‘virtual employees’ who do not exist in a physical sense, but nonetheless play an important role in the organisation.

While artificial intelligence (AI) technology is still in its infancy, it is sufficiently advanced to be working its way into companies in the form of virtual assistants, and, in certain industries such as banking, virtual tellers and virtual advisors.

Manifested as bots embedded into specific applications, virtual assistants draw on AI engines and machine learning technology to respond to basic queries.

“It’s no longer enough to simply implement these technologies,” says Kane Steele, Dimension Data end-user computing general manager.

“Organisations have grown their use of analytics to understand how these technologies impact their business performance:  64% use analytics to improve their customer services, and 58% use analytics to benchmark their workplace technologies.”

Meanwhile, around 30% of organisations say they’re far along in their digital transformation initiatives and are already reaping the benefits, while others are still in the early stages of developing a plan.

Steele says one reason that could be holding companies back from implementing a digital workplace is their corporate culture.

Often, technology and corporate culture inhibit – rather than encourage – work style change. 

However, the number one barrier to successful adoption of new work styles was IT issues, and research participants cited organisational issues as another.

“The complexity of the existing IT infrastructure can present a major hurdle to implementing new collaboration and productivity tools to support flexible work styles.

Successful transformation implementations are achieved when IT works closely with line-of-business heads,” says Steele.

IT leaders were asked to rank which technologies were most important to their digital workplace strategies.

Harold Thng, Dimension Data Asia Pacific customer experience director believes that mobility is pivotal to a digital workplace.

“Business leaders and CIOs are switched on to the importance of mobility in the digital workplace, with an even mix of companies supporting company-provided and employee-owned devices in the work environment.”

Enterprises are also turning to new workplace technologies to drive increased customer service, with 45% of respondents saying they’ve improved customer satisfaction as a result of their use of digital workplace technology.

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