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Accenture sees AI technology boosts revenues by 38%, employment 10%

By Adeyemi Adepetun
25 January 2018   |   4:22 am
Businesses risk missing out on major growth opportunities unless Chief Executive Officers take immediate steps to retrain their staff and equip them to work with intelligent technologies.

Group Chief Executive, Accenture Strategy, Mark Knickrehm

• Tasks CEOs on commitment, development
Businesses risk missing out on major growth opportunities unless Chief Executive Officers take immediate steps to retrain their staff and equip them to work with intelligent technologies.

Accenture Strategy Report revealed this, adding that Artificial Intelligence (AI), and human-machine collaboration at the same rate, could boost revenues by 38 per cent by 2022, and raise employment levels by 10 per cent.

Accenture, a leading global professional services company, noted that collectively, this would lift profits by $4.8trillion globally over the same period. It stressed that for the average S&P500 Company, this equates to $7.5billion of revenues and a $880million lift to profitability.

The study observed that both leaders and workers are optimistic about the potential of AI on business results, and on work experiences.

Accenture observed that 72 per cent of the 1,200 senior executives surveyed, said intelligent technology will be critical to their organisation’s market differentiation and 61 per cent think the share of roles requiring collaboration with AI will rise in the next three years.  More than two thirds (69 per cent) of the 14,000 workers surveyed said it is important to develop skills to work with intelligent machines.

Despite this, the report observed a disconnect between workers’ embrace of AI, and their employers’ efforts to prepare workers puts potential growth at risk. While a majority (54 per cent) of business leaders said human-machine collaboration is important to their strategic priorities, only three per cent say their organisation plans to significantly increase its investment in re-skilling their workers in the next three years.

Group Chief Executive, Accenture Strategy, Mark Knickrehm, said to achieve higher rates of growth in the age of AI, companies need to invest more in equipping their people to work with machines in new ways. “Increasingly, businesses will be judged on their commitment to what we call Applied Intelligence – the ability to rapidly implement intelligent technology and human ingenuity across all parts of their core business to secure this growth.”

The research suggested that there is a strong foundation on which to boost AI skills investment. 63 per cent of senior executives think that their company will create net job gains in the next three years through AI. Meanwhile, the majority of workers (62 per cent) believe AI will have a positive impact on their work.

The report showed how pioneers are using human-machine collaboration not just to improve efficiencies, but to drive growth through new customer experiences. An online clothing retailer’s AI helps its stylists learn more about customers’ preferences so that they can offer a unique and highly personalised service. And a sports shoe brand set a new bar in customisation and speed-to-market by aligning highly skilled tailors and process engineers with intelligent robots to design and manufacture in local markets.

Chief Leadership and Human Resources Officer, Ellyn Shook, urged business leaders to take immediate steps to pivot their workforce to enter an entirely new world where human ingenuity meets intelligent technology to unlock new forms of growth. “Workers are impatient to collaborate with AI, giving leaders the opportunity to demonstrate true Applied Intelligence within their organization.”

To help leaders shape the future workforce in the age of AI, Accenture makes the following recommendations: reimagine work by reconfiguring it from the bottom up (assess tasks, not jobs; then allocate tasks to machines and people, balancing the need to automate work and to elevate people’s capabilities.

Secondly, there is need to pivot the workforce to areas that unlock new forms of value. Here, there is need to go beyond process efficiencies and prepare the workforce to create new customer experiences.

Thirdly, CEOs must scale up ‘New Skilling.’ Here, there is need to measure the workforce’s level of skills and willingness to learn to work with AI. Using digital platforms, target programs at these different segments of the workforce and personalize them to improve new skills adoption.

Accenture claimed it has developed a ‘new skilling’ framework based on a progression of skill level and using a suite of innovative digital learning methods that maximizes training investment at speed and scale.