Data science has continued to make rapid advances, particularly on the frontiers of machine learning and deep learning. The availability of data and artificial intelligence (AI)-driven models can be a game changer in the talent acquisition market today, as organisations grapple with the twin challenges of time and cost to identify, engage and attract right talent on-board. Most profoundly, their decisions no longer have to be made in the dark or based on gut instinct; they can be based on evidence, experiments, and more accurate forecasts. Information seeking, matchmaking, recommendation and scheduling are going to be fully covered by powerful tools. The relational aspect, the persuading of both customers and candidates to make a deal, will remain in human hands for a long time to come. Human hands will simply have much better tools, with more data and intelligence at their fingertips. Usually this means increased productivity, so less people will be needed to do the same amount of work. On the other hand, interestingly, given the increasing competition for talent, the total amount of recruitment work is in our view actually likely to grow.
Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft, IBM and most other tech giants are really driving AI hard as a centrepiece of their strategy. This initiative will force the industry to set the bar very high in terms of engineering, innovation and quality of service.
HR and business leaders must wake up to the fact that making the right investments today is not an option, but a mandate. Companies that do not turn “smarter” are ill-fated in the near future. The starting point for strategic evaluation is a scan of the technological developments and competitive pressures coming up within your sector, how quickly they will arrive, and how you will respond. You can then identify the operational pain points that automation and other technologies could address, what disruptive opportunities are opened up that’s available now, and what’s coming up on the horizon. In determining your strategic response, key questions include how can different AI options help you to deliver your business goals and what is your appetite and readiness for change. To prioritise your response, it’s important to map the key process flows to be automated and decision flows to be augmented. What functions contain high potential processes that could drive near-term savings, for example?
To make the most effective use of this technology, it’s important to instil a data-driven culture that blends intuition and analytical insights with a focus on practical and actionable decisions across all levels. It’s important to prepare for a hybrid workforce in which AI and human beings work side-by- side. The challenge for your business isn’t just ensuring you have the right systems in place, but judging what role your people will play in this new model.
People will need to be responsible for determining the strategic application of AI and providing challenge and oversight to decisions.
As our analysis underlines, AI has the potential to fundamentally disrupt your market. We’ve already seen the creative destruction of the first wave of digitisation. Tomorrow’s market leaders are likely to be exploring the possibilities and setting their strategies today. We believe there are four key questions your business should address if it wants to keep pace and capitalise on the opportunities:
- How vulnerable is your business model to AI disruption?How soon will the change arrive?
- Are there game-changing openings within your market and, if so, how can you take advantage?
- Do you have the right talent, data and technology to help you understand and execute on the AI opportunities?
- How can you build trust and transparency into your AI platforms and applications?
Get this right and creativity, collaboration and decision making within your organisation can all be empowered. The ultimate commercial potential of AI is doing things that have never been done before, rather than simply automating or accelerating existing capabilities. Some of the strategic options that emerge won’t match past experience or gut feelings. As a business leader, you may therefore have to take a leap of faith. The prize is being far more capable, in a far more relevant way, than your business could ever be without the infinite possibilities of AI.