Personal Productivity

Recent updates to Microsoft Office, deeply integrate AI and ML  abilities. For the avid Microsoft Office user, these are welcomed improvements. I’ve personally been using the "Design Ideas" feature in PowerPoint for the last few weeks and by typing in just a few bullet points, PowerPoint suggests a presentation personalised to showcase the content I’m including.

For Excel users, you can now extract table data from images. Instead of manually creating a table from a printed document, you can scan the image and have Excel understand the data and build a table or graph for you.

Collaboration Tools

SharePoint and Yammer were the de facto  for group-based collaboration and enterprise social media for many years, but not anymore. There have been more team-based collaboration tools launched over the last five years than in the previous 15 years combined. Microsoft Teams is one of the newest and easiest to adopt, persistent enterprise chat has now replaced email as the preferred mode of communication across many industries (Ours included ) . Chat is changing how we view collaboration by bringing context into channels, and helping us stay organised wherever we are..

Even though enterprise chat has seen significant adoption, its full potential has yet to be unleashed. The introduction of bots and virtual agents within chat systems and other collaboration platforms is the next frontier to enabling better productivity.

The Future of Productivity – Bots!!!

Bots are slowly being introduced, but aren’t leveraged enough and adoption has been slow as we get to grips with our changing landscapes -  bots will be a fundamental part  . In the next few years, I predict we’ll see a rise in artificial intelligence and machine learning essentials integrated  into our everyday tools  from simple virtual assistant bots to help manage your time to more complex bots that handle customer interactions- this excites me a great deal!

The Untapped Potential of Bots

Let’s say you need to check a policy in your employee handbook. A few years ago, you’d go to your company’s intranet (or worse an actual physical document ), open the document, and search until you found what you needed. Today, you can integrate conversational bots directly into your digital workplace, so people can ask the bot policy questions, have the bot scan the handbook, and return with answers.

Organisations can take this one step further, by programming the bots to perform an action once it’s obtained information.

Example, if a user inquiries about the company’s Maternity/Paternity policy, the bot now has the context to ask whether or not the user needs to submit a request, and can direct them to the relevant place/person/ form to do so.

Tools like Azure Q&A Maker make it easy for organisations to create a growing knowledge base that can be connected to conversational bots, and deployed for many different use cases.

Likewise, bots can also be leveraged within CRM platforms or similar tools. Aside from improving daily productivity, bots can simplify processes, manage orders, integrate with 3rd party suppliers,  and break down decision making barriers .

We're Only Getting Started

AI presents  a better, more efficient ways of doing things, while cutting down on time lost on repetitive tasks. Machine learning elements make sure AI systems stay updated and continue to learn as users interact with them. As natural language processing (NLP) evolves, the use cases for AI and ML will continue to rise tenfold.

My key message to you if you only remember one thing -  Introduce bots to your organisation now, so you’ll be able to easily leverage their full capabilities as technology continues to develop.