AI and the future of work: Research reveals content intelligence enables employee engagement

by Anthony Macciola, ABBYY

16 December 2019

The benefits of AI within the enterprise in terms of increasing operational efficiencies, streamlining workflows, and impacting profit margins are widely known across industries.

What is perhaps lesser known is the tangible, meaningful ways that AI can fundamentally transform the employee experience – from reconfiguring job functions in ways that make jobs more meaningful, to increasing levels of productivity, to playing a role in enhancing employee retention levels – AI technologies are impacting our day-to-day lives in the modern workplace.

The evolving modern workforce

Across diverse industries, there have been concerns about how robots will impact human jobs. While there is often a fear that AI will reduce or replace many jobs, new research reveals that the new digital workforce can actually improve jobs and increase levels of employee engagement.

AI-enabled systems – commonly referred to as software robots or digital workers – continue to make up a growing percentage of the workforce. New research from IDC, a leading global provider of market intelligence for the technology sector, indicates that the contribution of digital workers will continue to grow, increasing by above 50% by 2022.

As digital workers change the makeup of the modern workforce, these technologies will fundamentally transform how human jobs are performed. AI technologies can automate the mundane, repetitive and boring tasks often dreaded by employees. Tasks like data entry, manual sorting and document processing not only can be fully managed by AI technologies, but oftentimes can also be performed much more quickly, efficiently, and accurately by AI. This frees up time and human resources to focus on more meaningful and high-value responsibilities.

The role of content intelligence

As the sheer volume of data within the enterprise continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly important to understand and leverage the value of information from differing content pieces and operational systems. Simply extracting relevant data from content isn’t enough, businesses also need to understand and ascertain meaning from that data.

Content intelligence is a subset of AI technologies that enable organizations to understand different content pieces and then translate this content into actionable insights. Content intelligence creates meaning from unstructured data and subsequently applies this intelligence to a wide array of business processes.

Content intelligence can enhance the employee experience

AI and content intelligence can fundamentally impact the employee experience. For the new study, “Content Intelligence for the Future of Work” sponsored by ABBYY, IDC surveyed enterprise decision-makers in varied industries, including banking, insurance, transportation and logistics, manufacturing, and business process outsourcing (BPO), in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. Across diverse verticals and markets, companies that introduced content intelligence observed a substantial increase in employee productivity. According to the study, about 40% of survey respondents who implemented these solutions noted an increase in employee productivity and customer satisfaction.

Respondents also agreed that deploying content intelligence technologies enabled them to refocus resources onto higher-value activities. They reduced the time that employees spent on document-related tasks by 17%. This freed up employee time that can be redirected towards relationship-building, customer engagement or other more creative, social, and impactful activities. Content intelligence also contributed to improved decision making in the workplace. Over half of the IDC survey respondents noted the following benefits: better decision making, greater automation of repetitive processes, and increase in information accessibility.

Throughout varied industries, organizations are seeing tangible ways how AI can improve the workplace. IDC survey respondents indicated that content intelligence had enabled several important corporate initiatives: 56% mentioned employee engagement, 40% said task and process automation and/or augmentation, 46% noted customer engagement, and 44% – digital transformation. Over one-third of respondents also observed improvements in the level of responsiveness to customers, increased visibility, or increased customer engagement as a direct result of implementing content intelligence technologies.

AI is transforming the future of work

Whether or not we realize it, AI is already changing our experience in the workplace.

Content intelligence systems are taking over repetitive, clerical tasks; they extract meaning from content and processes, which not only makes workflows more efficient and accurate but also augments employee roles. By eliminating many tedious and cumbersome tasks, AI frees up human resources and reconfigures jobs in a manner that enables employees to focus on tasks that are both impactful to the organization and meaningful on a personal level. This creates a workforce that is more productive, fulfilled, tuned in and engaged, which has substantial positive implications for the future of work.

Anthony Macciola is the Chief Innovation Officer at ABBYY, a global leader in Digital IQ for the enterprise. ABBYY creates a new class of AI technologies that provide the digital workforce with the skills to understand content and processes helping organizations make intelligent business decisions. ABBYY has offices in 13 countries around the world.