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How AI is Shifting Workplace Dynamics and Winning Top Talent

In this special guest feature, Claus Jepsen, Deputy CTO at Unit4, AI has risen as a main focus point for its ability to accelerate processes and help organizations remain competitive in today’s unpredictable landscape. However, the benefits of AI go far beyond improved business operations and its potential to improve the internal workplace experience is often overlooked. Claus is a technology expert who has been fascinated by the micro-computer revolution ever since he received a Tandy TRS model 1 at the age of 14. Since then, Claus has spent the last few decades developing and architecting software solutions, most recently at Unit4, where he is leading the ERP vendor’s focus on enabling the post-modern enterprise. At Unit4, Claus is building cloud-based, super-scalable solutions and bringing innovative technologies such as AI, chatbots, and predictive analytics to ERP.

Digital transformation is breaking new grounds and redefining the future role technology will play in the enterprise. More often than not, a majority of business focus is placed on the tangible benefits transformative applications will have on external results and, ultimately, the bottom line. In particular, artificial intelligence (AI) has risen as a main focus point for its ability to accelerate processes and help organizations remain competitive in today’s unpredictable landscape. However, the benefits of AI go far beyond improved business operations and its potential to improve the internal workplace experience is often overlooked.

Up until recent years, a majority of businesses have made external perception and reputation a top priority and allocated its resources toward areas aimed at improving the customer experience. While this is still an essential component toward positive brand exposure, this focus is beginning to shift inwards with more companies realizing the importance of retaining top internal talent and leveraging internal employees as brand ambassadors.

People Experience is Key

Resultingly, the talent market is becoming increasingly competitive and employee expectations are at an all-time high. With this newfound empowerment, the workforce is demanding more from their employers in exchange for their loyalty. However, employee values have radically shifted and workplace satisfaction in no longer defined by a competitive salary. Take for example the recent Glassdoor survey, which uncovered that employees are more driven by company culture, strong leadership and career opportunities than any other factor.

Understanding the overall “people experience” is what truly matters to today’s workforce, more and more organizations are reprioritizing technology investments to support their internal teams. This is where AI should again be a huge focus for business leaders due to its ability to simplify processes and free up employee time to focus on more value-adding tasks. Often taking over repetitive and burdensome responsibilities, AI at its core has the potential to make the work experience more enjoyable and fulfilling.

Leveraging AI-Powered ERP

The next important step in this revolution is for business leaders to understand where AI technology should – and should not – be applied. While AI-powered HR technology has risen as a popular solution to improving the lives of employees, this logic in fundamentally flawed. Considering the fact that only 20% of employee time is spent working with HR solutions, yet 80% is spent undertaking other day to day activities, this concept becomes very clear.

In fact, these day to day activities oftentimes take place in enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and include everything from reviewing results, approving supplier invoices, setting up a new client, tracking their time and utilization among other tasks. With a majority of the average employee’s workplace success depending on the strength and ease-of-use of these systems, leveraging AI to improve these interactions is a clear completive factor towards attracting and retaining top talent.

AI’s potential to categorize structured and unstructured data, flag anomalies and make advanced data-backed recommendations not only makes employee’s lives easier but helps them do a better job and gain the valuable insights critical to making important business decisions. As a result, investing in AI-powered ERP systems will not only help organizations keep top talent, but will allow them to reap the benefits of overall improved business results.

A Collaborative Approach to AI

While the arguments are clear to AI’s positive benefits in the workplace, the topic still continues to be divisive for business leaders. While many understand the technology’s critical role in adapting to today’s changing demands and staying competitive, some are still apprehensive about the impact it will have on employee’s job security.

It’s an old reservation that AI could potentially replace jobs, and its unfortunately still a prevalent fear among today’s workforce. However, the reality of that likelihood is much less viable than some would have you believe. AI Technology will not replace critical skillsets, but instead, tasks that don’t require much thought or talent. Just like email, computers, and the internet furthered employees’ proficiencies over the past couple of decades, AI will have a similar effect as a collaborative tool to helping employees do their jobs better, faster and smarter.

At the bottom line, workplace dynamics are shifting, and employees require advanced technology to feel empowered, motivated and valued in their careers.  When it comes to ERP and the systems that employees interact with on a day to day basis, AI is a powerful tool to not only making processes easier, but equips people within the organization with the resources to best leverage their valuable time and talents. In today’s complex and dynamic business arena, the people experience reigns supreme, and internal AI investments are crucial to winning top talent.

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