Companies have started to use intelligent machines, or machines that sense, comprehend, act and learn to automate some of the more routine work processes.
Companies have started to use intelligent machines, or machines that sense, comprehend, act and learn to automate some of the more routine work processes. Most importantly, intelligent machines could potentially perform tasks that free managers to focus on more strategic issues and activities.
The consultancy company Accenture carried out a research outlining some of the game-changing opportunities that lie ahead. Here is what they found:
Shifting management roles
Intelligent machines could drastically change the workforce of the future. To understand what managaers think, Accenture surveyed 1,770 first-line, middle-level and executive-level managers from 14 countries, representing 17 distinct industries.
The results showe that 84% of managers at all levels believe machines will make them more effective and their work more interesting. Also, managers generally underrate the need for human skills stating that the top 3 qualities to succeed in the future are:
- Digital/technology (42%)
- Creative thinking and experimentation (33%)
- Data analysis and interpretation (31%)
At the same time, the respondents of the survey express confidence in the advice of intelligent systems. In particular, 46% of top-level managers say they strongly trust the advice of intelligent systems, while only 14% of first-line managers agree with this statement. To increase their trust in the advice of intelligent systems, 60% of middle and first-line managers say that they want to receive “understanding of how the system works and generates advice.”.
These results may be attributed to the fact that intelligent machines have entered the scene quite recently. “Leaders should look for ways to move forward despite the uncertainty.”, as the report concluded.
What is happening across industries?
Intelligent machines are supposedly recasting the workforce of the future. However, what do managers in the different industries think?
87% of managers think that machines will make them more effective and their work more interesting. Top-level managers in the field are the ones who show the greatest trust in the advice given by intelligent machines (53%). By contrast, only 1% of managers in banking says nothing would allow them to trust the advice of intelligent systems.
- Electronics and High Tech
Managers in the field underestimate the interpersonal skills needed to inspire the workforce of the future and use intelligent machines in their full power.
The majority of managers (89%) in the sector believe that machines will make them more effective and their work more interesting. Nevertheless, confidence in the advice of intelligent systems keeps diminishing sharply down the ranks. To increase their trust in the advice of intelligent systems, middle and first-line managers want a system with a proven track record (63%), as well as understanding of how the system works and generates advice (62%). Also, 48% of managers state that they want a system that explains its logic.
Judging by the results from their survey, Accenture provides some recommendations that are listed below:
- Develop the right skill set
Managers should develop organizational performance and interpersonal skills to build teams and foster innovation.
- Rally the troops
Leaders must inspire their managers and create excitement about how intelligent machines will shape the future of work.
- Embrace the unknown
Leaders and their teams must be willing to experiment. In this way, they can benefit from intelligent machines by applying them to their everyday work processes.
For more information, you can read the full report that is availble on the following link.