01/17/2024 | Digital Innovation

Interview with Chris Ellis, PreSales Solutions Engineering Director | Nintex

Emerging technologies such as AI are front-of-mind for all areas of industry at the moment. But with many smaller companies confused about implementation, as Chris Ellis explains, it begins on the ground.

ACHEMA Inspire: There can be little doubt that new technologies have now accelerated productivity within many disciplines and countries. Which of these in particular come to mind as the best adopters?

  •  __Productivity gains from new technologies have been materializing at an increasingly fast pace. For instance, according to the Capital Economics’ AI Economic Impact Index, just one decade after the successful adoption of AI, countries are expected to see productivity rise by 1.5 percentage points year-on-year. The 2023 G7 Productivity Business Index serves as a significant gauge of the most recent advancements within productivity which are driven by the widespread adoption of technology.
    Currently, the United States continue to hold the leading position in operation efficiency, surpassing the other G7 nations in terms of their confidence in embracing new technologies, However, the report also goes on to underscore the fact that technology alone cannot fully address the productivity challenge. The G7 Productivity Business Index, for example, emphasises a significant hurdle in realising productivity improvements through technological advancements, which is the inefficient or delayed adoption of these technologies within organisations. What becomes evident from reading this report is that the most successful adopters are organisations that demonstrate a commitment to investing in management capabilities, encompassing training, strategic planning and risk mitigation.

ACHEMA Inspire: You said in a recent interview that a major barrier to achieving such gains has been the inefficient or delayed adoption of such technology. How well equipped is industry to adopt this change and what sort of disciplined are needed?

  •  __Again, as an example: if AI is to effectively drive long-term improvements in productivity, the widespread implementation of AI-powered solutions within an organisation should be accompanied by new training and development opportunities aimed at enhancing emplyees’ skills. It is imperative that AI advancements are integrated within a framework iof employee-centric digital transformation, Human contributions are key to the success of AI, particularly when it comes to ensuring the effective training/learning of models and supporting a review-and-approve loop.
    Investing in training and upskilling programs can effectively bridge all knowledge gaps, instilling confidence within employees when adopting new tools. These initiatives empover the workforce to embrace all technology, thus advancing the overall transformation objectives.
    Achieving improved efficiency and growth doesn’t solely depend on the adoption of new technologies; it also requires a fundamental rethinking of new employees approach their word. By applying these principles, organisations can side-step much of the fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) associated with the implementation of new technology, thereby managing change more effectively.

ACHEMA Inspire: You’ve made no secret of the fact that all too often, digital transformation projects can raise troublesome issues which hinder progress. What, in particular, are the key hurdles?

  •  __Enhancing processes establishes the foundation for digital transformation initiatives to deliver tangible benefits to both employees in their daily work and the organisation as a whole.
    Simultaneously, it is crucial to enhance job roles with automation rather than outright replacement. The rapid advancements in AI and other emerging technologies have generated concerns among employees about the security of their future job prospects. In fact, 38 per cent of individuals aged 18-34 express apprehension that AI will take over at least 50 per cent of their job responsibilities in the next decade. Business leaders must address their employees’ concerns by adopting a strategic approach to digital transformation that priorities augmentation.
    Leveraging the expertise of employees in identifying the most time-consuming and repetitive processes and equipping them with the necessary resources to optimise workflows can significantly enhance individual productivity.
    This, in turn, will afford more time for employees to concentrate on the sort of task which demand creativity, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence, ultimately contributing to an improvement in employee morale through the implementation of low-code automation.
    A significant impediment to successful change and transformation is the lack of consensus, which can ultimately lead to sabotage. It is crucial for teams to receive ongoing support in their efforts to promote initiative heavily relies on engaging employees. Small businesses can foster the adoption of technology by actively involving their employees from the very beginning, diligently soliciting their input, and promptly addressing any concerns that my arise.
    Efficient processes are fundamental to an organisation’s operational success, and leaders who lack clear insights into their process may encounter challenges when attempting to enhance productivity through digital initiatives.

ACHEMA Inspire: Artificial Intelligence has had bad press lately. Leaving aside doomsday scenarios, what do you see as the next big thing?

  •  __In the midst of apprehensions about AI potentially replacing human roles and causing job displacement, accompanied by calls for setting robust boundaries to prevent its misuse for exploitation, there’s an increasingly prevalent viewpoint that AI has the potential to benefit is. Instead to being a source of fear, it should be seen as an opportunity to be embraced. Recent research from Goldman Sachs indicates that generative AI could increase the global GDP by 7 per cent over a 10-year period.
    Businesses that incorporate generative AI into their operations go beyond mere task automation; they harness its potential to elevate their workforce’s capabilities, thereby enhancing overall productivity. The path to enhanced efficiency and growth isn’t solely paved through new technologies but with a profound re-imaging of how employees work. In my opinion, strategic integration such as this can yield added value for your company, potentially leading to accelerated growth, improved profitability, and fresh avenues for innovation.

ACHEMA Inspire: Like most of us, you probably watched the UK’s AI Safety Summit with interest. What for you were the key takeaways from that?

  •  __The biggest was the consensus the UK government reached with participating delegates to design a safe, human-centric AI technology. Interestingly, this aligns with my view that we need to build technology with people and end users in mind. `Human-in-the-loop` learning is the combination of supervised machine learning and active learning, with humans playing an active role in the training and testing stages of building an algorithm.
    AI undoubtedly presents a challenge for us all, and it is interesting to see how different countries and organisations are moving at different speeds to AI, including on issues such as regulations.
    There is still a lot of learning to so. However, AI tools will become critical assets that will change the way we work for the better. With this in mind, one thing is clear – the upskilling of employees will become even more crucial to unlocking AI opportunities.

Keywords in this article:

#artificial intelligence, #automation, #human resources

Find more contributions:

Detailed search in the magazine


Always up to date

With our newsletter you will receive current information on ACHEMA on a regular basis. You are guaranteed not to miss any important dates.

Subscribe now