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Could AI and automation help consultants do their job?

Nov 23
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Could AI and automation help consultants do their...

The role of management consultants within businesses is both crucial and extremely wide-ranging. With their business acumen, they can provide the objective advice and expertise that a firm may need, as well as identify and address possible skills gaps.

But with the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, could the latest technological innovations free up management consultants' time so they can focus on more complex tasks?

A study by TalkTalk Business suggests that many employees are actually quite confident about the potential benefits of AI and automation.

Some 39 per cent of men feel this technology could make them better at dealing with day-to-day tasks, along with 24 per cent of women.

Similarly, 28 per cent of male employees feel automation could improve their attention to detail and reduce errors, as do 19 per cent of female workers.

While the figures suggest there is some way to go before men and women are entirely convinced of the benefits of AI and automation, these are still hefty portions of the workforce that have embraced the technology.

As AI and automation continue to move into the mainstream, it is therefore likely that the benefits of this approach will be recognised more widely in the coming years.

Furthermore, embracing this emerging technology could be the key to securing a competitive advantage over rival firms, or else they risk getting left behind.

Duncan Gooding, interim managing director of TalkTalk Business, commented: "Employees must wake up to the march of evolving technologies so that they are ready to adapt to the demands and requirements of the workplace of the future. 

"It's equally important that employers introduce these tools and train workers in a way that inspires intrigue and positivity."

Mr Gooding noted that AI could potentially transform people's productivity and creativity at work.

As a result, he believes it is "incumbent upon employers to effectively demonstrate how, so that current and future generations jump at the chance to embrace automated solutions".

Futurist Graeme Codrington added that the technological advances that are on the way are comparable to the leap experienced during the Industrial Revolution.

This, he stated, means that employers must make a point of upskilling their workforces so they can benefit from this shift as soon as possible.

However, Mr Codrington noted that "lots of employees still do not appear to have got the memo to achieve this".

"What these latest insights show is that by enabling workers to unlock the full extent of their abilities, this will create a happier, more engaged and productive workforce," he stated.

The findings come amid an ongoing effort by businesses, researchers, academics and policymakers to develop best practices regarding the use of AI technology.

Accenture, which is part of the Partnership on AI, believes AI can "truly be a force for public good".

However, chief technology and innovation officer Paul Daugherty said its true potential can only be achieved by adopting a "people first" approach that reflects "what we call Responsible AI - being fair, accountable, honest, transparent and human centric in how we apply AI".

Perhaps by addressing these issues before adopting AI and automation on a large scale, a higher proportion of employees will be happy to embrace the technology in the future.

Search for the latest management consultancy jobs and consulting recruitment opportunities or contact us on+44(0)207 089 9017.

Image: iStock/NicoElNino

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