How ready is your business for an AI-backed post-COVID-19 world?
June 3, 2021
5 min read
First things first. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected global economies and societies in an unprecedented manner and there is the real-time business impact caused due to coronavirus. The impact has been widespread, and personal and professional lives have been jolted, making it necessary for businesses especially to adapt to different work styles. In the next few months, we will have to adapt to a new way-of-work, new technologies, and different structures. And it is most likely that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will play a pivotal role in the new order. The question is, how ready is your business to adapt to this AI-driven post-COVID-19 world?
Most businesses and professionals will agree that their organizations are already in the path of AI implementation and digital transformation. According to Gartner, nearly 37% of organizations have AI implementations in some way. That’s a significant rise from a decade back. Whether it is banking or finance, education, sports, or even healthcare, AI’s footprint is everywhere. And considering the present circumstances, the future looks the same. What businesses need today are AI tools and strategy for startups and enterprises, to set sailing in this brave new world of post-COVID-19.
How AI can help businesses post COVID-19?
Artificial Intelligence in the post-COVID-19 world will be a necessity instead of being just another tech trend. Already global companies are using AI-backed software and machine learning services for optimal use of resources, cost reduction, and productivity improvements.
To begin with, let’s understand that all that we understood of the world pre-Feb 2020, about the adoption of Artificial Intelligence in business processes, is in for a revamp. A lot of those ideas and requirements will now take a backseat, as businesses will have to re-prioritize. For instance, one of the emerging trends was the use of AI in HR recruitment. However, in a post-COVID-19 world, the priority for organizations would be manpower mapping and not hiring. With hiring taking a backseat, investing in AI software for hiring exclusively might not be a priority for businesses.
The question we need to ask ourselves is: What will businesses look like post-COVID-19?
Preparing for a post-COVID 19 world with Artificial Intelligence
In these times of uncertainty, every business will be looking for a way to weather the storm. However, it won’t be easy and even well-established organizations will have to figure out how to stay afloat.
Investors now, more than ever will be more vigilant and will take time in making funding decisions especially for AI technology projects. Sectors like travel, tourism, and hospitality are likely to be hit the most. Aviation too is going to be strongly affected. While leisure travel can be assumed to be at a standstill for some time at least, even commercial and business traveling will witness a dip in a means to reduce expenditure.
On the other hand, the Gig economy, online education, mental health, and wellness awareness, and other fragments is likely to see a spike in demand. AI chatbots for eLearning have seen a surge in demand since global institutes have shifted online and counselors are offering therapy sessions via video chat.
It is unlikely that businesses that are in need of additional capital will manage to secure funds easily, unless the plan is foolproof. This is where AI can help. Artificial Intelligence, as has been seen elsewhere, brings a lot to the table. It cuts costs, labor, time, errors, etc. and delivers results. An intensive business plan backed by a profound enterprise AI strategy, is likely to give to your business the attention it deserves.
Pro Tip: Aside from the usual sources, alternative financing options should also be considered and even short-term liquidity strategies can help.
Addressing Employees Skill Gaps:
If you look at the skills and competencies of your existing workforce, it is aligned to the requirements of the pre-corona world. Things will be different now.
The singular act of staying at home and working has had multiple ripple effects. Today, teams are working, coordinating and delivering from home, the entire work-structure has moved to the digital platform and organizations are trying to find newer and smarter solutions for the current workforce and trend.
And this is where the right AI tools in education will play a key role. The changing business climate will outdate a lot of skills. To be in the game, individuals need to learn new skills and AI based learning systems can be of help. The hands-on experience provided by AR platforms has proven to be an effective way for employees to learn new skills. Implementing this practice will engineer faster and more effective adaptation to the new world order.
Doing courses online on platforms such as Coursera, Codecademy or Lynda have already proven to be an effective learning tool for businesses and individuals to upgrade their skill sets and learn something new. Companies like Schindler are already re-training their employees by sending them bullet modules and quizzes as the construction work is on a halt. This will eventually facilitate businesses to diversify while increasing the functional expertise and soft skills of employees.
Structuring new HR Policies:
The pandemic has affected work styles across the world. No more traffic woes, commuting challenges, domestic chores etc. On the one hand, the pandemic has provided some relief it would look like. But not entirely. Globally, people are having to make new arrangements in terms of technology/infrastructure set up at home, rescheduling time tables to spend time with family and kids, taking time out for staying in good health. In short, there has been change, and organizations will have to restructure their HR policies in general to align it to this change.
Practices such as work from home will no longer be an option. Rather, it will be the way forward for a large number of employees. Digital availability will become essential. Implementing AI in business for the purpose of remote working will become essential. In situations like this that involve employees to work remotely, managers might require access to data from legacy systems. By using AI and RPA, managers can get access to such data and store them in the cloud for future use.
The number of examples of machine learning in global business has been steadily on the rise, with organizations effectively leveraging the benefits of cognitive technologies and also RPA. Together, these technologies can not only help in curtailing costs, but can also assist in bringing about efficiencies and productivity in work deliverables.
The benefits of AI and machine learning can also be extended to capturing useful insights into the amount of labor required for tasks. With companies having to make the painful decision of employee layoffs, AI could assist in evaluating, calculating and mapping resources.
With shops and marketplaces closed all around the world for an indefinite period of time, businesses are suffering from a lack of customers and hence, cutting down on production to prevent financial loss.
With the help of machine-learning application development companies can get insights into the trends, speculate demand and supply, and plan accordingly. Cutting down too much on the production levels might not be a feasible option as consumers would lose trust in the brand due to its unavailability to meet increased demands. Businesses in China have shown there is increased demand as the curve flattens out and several companies are not being able to meet the rising expectations.
Fortunately, with the rise of emerging technology, supply chain management can be optimized and in the post COVID world, it might be the only feasible option for the majority of companies. AI Service providers, along with IoT solution providers and 5G network providers are optimizing supply chains to digital supply networks (DSNs) to provide organizations complete visibility to their supply chains.
Companies moving to digital supply networks will be better equipped to deal with future challenges such as spikes in demand, trade war, or even labor dispute. Millions of dollars have already been lost due to the pandemic. Strategic planning backed by the right technology is the only way to come out of this sluggish and black-hole like situation.
The adoption of AI will become a necessity for any and every business. With the number of uses and benefits that AI can provide, any business not adopting AI will not only stand to lose but will be in the danger of completely folding its operations in the post-COVID-19 world. Businesses will have to be extremely careful and use their resources carefully. Although there might be some setbacks in the short-term, in the long term, businesses would definitely benefit from better insights and will be prepared better to handle situations like this in the future.
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