2024 outlook - AI at work

Kelly Ducourty Profile picture for user Kelly Ducourty February 14, 2024
AI alone isn't enough to deliver real business benefits - and businesses are seeing a gap between implementation and results. UiPath's Kelly Ducourty reveals how companies are using automation to put AI to work.

Blue robotic assistant or automated intelligence robot holding lightbulb © Kittipong Jirasukhanont - Canva.com
(© Kittipong Jirasukhanont - Canva.com)

Until recently, AI felt distant from the everyday employee. Today, many companies are eager to democratize AI to allow more individuals and business functions to join the transformative wave of AI and forge new ways of working.

A study by UKG underscores this shift, revealing that 78% of C-suite leaders have embraced AI within their business frameworks. Despite widespread interest, a significant gap persists between implementing AI and actualizing substantial business value across organizational domains.

Cisco's comprehensive study of over 8,000 global companies sheds light on this more nuanced reality. The study revealed that only 14% of companies felt adequately equipped to leverage AI comprehensively. Furthermore, over half of these enterprises voiced serious concerns about the repercussions of failing to harness AI effectively within the subsequent 12 months. Executives are faced with the formidable challenge of translating AI's potential into measurable, concrete returns.

To offset these issues, many businesses are allocating significant capital to improving what their AI investments will produce. Research from EY found that, by the close of 2024, 88% of companies intend to invest capital to fortify their AI capabilities. This strategic commitment is aimed at converting initial expenditure into tangible, impactful outcomes, signaling an industry-wide endeavor to capitalize on AI integration.

Unfortunately, the reality is that AI by itself has significant limitations. While it can deliver unparalleled intelligence, AI tools aren’t able to translate insights into action — a hurdle hindering scalability and ROI.

As enterprises evaluate where to invest their AI budgets in the year ahead, they must evaluate tools that can put AI to work — which is where automation comes into play. 2024 will create an era where the convergence of automation and AI will be pivotal in delivering the anticipated ROI executives need to prove.

Automation and AI working together 

There are several factors that are hindering standalone AI projects from delivering tangible business value. Issues like outdated infrastructure, inadequate in-house expertise, difficulty identifying processes ripe for AI integration, and the need for continual improvement are making it challenging for enterprises to see results from their AI spend.

Automation is the best path to deliver what AI conceives, seamlessly integrating intelligence into everyday operations, automating all knowledge work, and revolutionizing entire industries. The relationship between automation and AI will give businesses an arsenal capable of exponentially fostering innovation, elevating customer experiences, and driving never-before-seen business results. AI transcends its limitations when empowered by automation, emerging as a powerful force that revolutionizes business operations. This fusion of insight and execution empowers businesses to conquer new frontiers and redefine the parameters of success.

Data from UiPath and Bain shows that 70% of senior executives view AI-driven automation as "very important" or "critical" to their business pursuits. Additionally, an overwhelming 74% of survey respondents anticipated a positive ROI stemming from such initiatives. By investing in solutions that combine the best of AI and automation, businesses can finally harness the true potential of AI at work.

AI at work — for your operations and customers

Together, AI and automation are catalysts for evolutionary outcomes within entire business ecosystems, presenting a pathway toward enhanced efficiency, amplified productivity, and sustainable returns on investment. This combination not only cultivates a favorable climate for long-term success but also holds the potential to revolutionize business operations, culminating in substantial cost savings while ensuring heightened customer satisfaction.

Take Quest Diagnostics, for example. The pioneering entity in healthcare IT, data analytics, patient services, and public health embarked on a progressive four-year automation journey that has reshaped its operational strategies.

Initially focusing on automation, Quest Diagnostics witnessed early successes that catalyzed its expansion into various AI applications. These included harnessing document understanding for nuanced data interpretation, leveraging task mining to streamline workflows, and deploying process mining to identify and optimize operational processes. The combination of automation with AI became a cornerstone in their pursuit of operational excellence, enabling Quest Diagnostics to navigate complexities inherent in their industry while fortifying their position as trailblazers in healthcare innovation.

AI-powered automation can also revolutionize customer experiences for the better, leveraging distinct data for tailored interactions that overcome conventional boundaries. Integrating AI-powered automation can accelerate processes across various customer-centric domains, from expeditious call transcription and analysis to the seamless processing of intricate customer data. AI-powered automation reduces churn and fosters deeper, more meaningful connections with customers, ultimately redefining the customer experience management landscape. Furthermore, the advent of round-the-clock assistance through AI-driven chatbots reshapes customer engagement, ensuring accessibility and responsiveness beyond traditional service hours.

For example, NTT DOCOMO, Japan's largest telecommunications company, embarked on a journey to redefine customer relationships. Through meticulous data analysis and AI-powered automation-driven insights, the company crafted personalized experiences for each customer, engendering a level of engagement that exceeded conventional industry standards.

The impact was profound – NTT DOCOMO witnessed a staggering 60% reduction in customer churn rates. This seismic shift underscored the profound influence of AI-driven customizations, as customers felt attended to and understood, fostering loyalty and satisfaction. By leveraging AI at Work to curate tailored interactions and services, NTT DOCOMO forged a new paradigm in customer relationship management, setting a benchmark for the industry.

As the global landscape speeds toward an era predominantly steered by AI-driven innovations, organizations find themselves at a critical juncture where adopting AI-powered automation isn't just advantageous; it's indispensable. Organizations that proactively embrace AI-powered automation stand poised to adapt, thrive, and dominate in this rapidly evolving landscape. By harnessing AI's predictive capabilities and automation's precision, businesses can revolutionize their business operations, enhance productivity, and deliver more personalized and responsive customer experiences. With automation at the helm, 2024 is shaping up to be the year that AI will finally be put to work.

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