Read on for 5 technologies that are already improving lives for the businesses that are adopting them, and tips for how to integrate them effectively into your business.
The Value Of Adopting AI Technologies
One of the biggest IT trends in 2023 has been companies finding ways of leveraging AI and incorporating it into their business IT. And there are good reasons why AI is among the top IT trends. The potential AI capabilities for enhancing business operations through data analysis, improving decision making, and maximising profit are clear, and often discussed. But this article isn’t about those AI benefits – it’s about looking at the ways that artificial intelligence can be improving your humans’ lives. And there are plenty of ways that it can do just that:
• Using AI To Free Up Your Time
Time is an invaluable resource, but a finite one. And we waste so much of it doing mundane, frustrating tasks just to tick boxes and keeping operations ticking along. Think of how much time you could save if you didn’t have to sit in meeting after meeting. Or if you didn’t have to sift through hundreds of emails every week. What if someone else could do that for you? While your business can’t afford to have every one of your humans assigned a Personal Assistant, imagine what would happen if they each had a digital PA, without it breaking the bank. How much more value could they be adding to your business, to their sanity, and to their lives. This is a role that AI productivity apps can easily fulfil.
• Maximising Productivity And Efficiency
Have you ever met a person who didn’t want to do more with the time that they had? As humans, we are always looking for ways to work smarter and accomplish more with minimal extra effort, while as businesses we are always asking ourselves how to improve employee productivity. And this is exactly where AI shines. Not only does task automation save time, leaving you with more minutes and hours in your day to get things done, but smart AI productivity tools can also help you to achieve more with that time. They can help you to find the files you need more quickly, to draft documents based on meeting notes, emails, and previous examples of documents you’ve worked on. AI has the potential to increase employee productivity, enhance workflows and see your humans maximising their time, and putting their efforts to better use.
• Growth Within And Beyond The Workplace
No one ever wants to feel like they’re stagnating or have reached their full potential with no where further to go. That feeling is always a sign that something needs to change. And one of the first things that people change when they’re feeling that way is their job. For the sake of staff turnover alone and enhanced employee productivity alone, it’s a good thing for your business to focus on growth and learning. But more than that, humans who feel like they’re growing with your company tend to be happier, to want to work better, and to be more satisfied both inside and outside of their work environment. And one of the greatest AI benefits is the potential that it holds for learning about new subjects, furthering knowledge and skillsets, and enhancing both creative thinking and creativity as a whole.
What are 5 AI technologies that could be improving your humans’ lives?
With all of the value that AI can be adding to your business, you may be feeling ready to jump right in. But there are so many different AI tools out there. How can you be sure that you’re integrating the right ones into your business IT? Well, here are 5 tools that our SOLID humans have been using over the past few months, and we’ve seen first-hand how they can improve lives:
1. Chat GPT
If you’ve spoken to me over the past nine months, I can almost guarantee that I will have brought up Chat GPT in our conversation. In fact, I wrote a whole article about it in March. Chat GPT is a perfect example of an AI tool that enhances learning, and sees your teams embracing new skills. Interacting with the AI and prompting it to get the answers you need is a skill in and of itself! But on top of that, it can boost your humans’ communication by recommending adjustments that will make messaging land better. It can generate simple code and scripts to help you accomplish more and automate basic processes. It has so many different applications that, frankly, if you aren’t using it yet, you’re falling behind.
2. Microsoft Designer
Have you ever had an image in your head that you just cannot seem to find the right graphic for? Maybe it’s a photograph that you want to include on your website, or an image that will perfectly illustrate a concept that you’re wanting to share on social media. But you’re no graphic designer! This is where a generative AI like Microsoft Designer comes in. You tell it what you want to see, and it generates images for you. Or, if you already have an image and are just wanting to incorporate messaging into it, you can prompt the tool with the concept that you want to get across, and it will incorporate the information into the image for you. This is a great example of an AI that boosts creativity, even for those who are less creatively inclined. I foresee it changing the way that social media is managed in particular.
3. Microsoft 365
Designer is certainly not the only AI tool that Microsoft has been developing! From transcription tools in Teams meetings and Word, to data analysis in Word, to data visualisation tools like Power BI and security features in SharePoint that can detect unusual activity, Microsoft has long been leveraging AI to enhance M365 users’ experiences. And they’re going to be taking this to the next level later this year with the release of Microsoft CoPilot.
4. Quill Bot
I mentioned earlier in this article that you can use Chat GPT to enhance communication. But it’s hardly the only AI tool which can help you get your points across more effectively. Quill Bot is another platform which is available on the web (and integrates with your Chrome browser and Microsoft Word) to enhance the way that you write emails, construct documents, create articles and more. It can summarise external content to make it more easily understood, or can paraphrase your own writing to make it more succinct. It even includes grammar and plagiarism checks to ensure that your content is both professional and fit for purpose.
5. Fireflies AI
While there are plenty of benefits to companies embracing remote and hybrid work environments, one of the biggest difficulties that it has caused is an increase in meetings. With people not being in the same workspace, it becomes more difficult to sit together in a single room with open discussion. Instead, virtual meetings and video calls have become the norm. So much so, that more people are spending more time in meetings than ever before, and yet getting so little done. This has resulted in a rise of ‘no-meeting days’. But is this the most effective solution?
Half of the time, meetings that are being held do not need all of the participants in attendance to be involved. There are the notetakers, whose sole responsibility is keeping track of the decisions that are reached. There are the new employees who are still trying to learn the ropes, and are in attendance to simply get a feel for how virtual meetings are conducted. There are those who need to be there for a portion of the meeting, which will sometimes be at the start, allowing them to leave early, but will at other times come towards the end of a session depending on what needs to be discussed.
AI notetakers like Fireflies are exceedingly useful tools for making meetings more efficient. They can attend the meetings that you do, taking notes to ensure that all points are effectively summarised without an extra human needing to be in attendance. Or they can attend meetings that you aren’t able to, taking those same notes based on the discussion that others had, and keeping you in the loop to ensure that you can follow-up on points that may have been relevant to your work.
How Will These Tools Increase Your Profits?
While these AI tools may sound like interesting additions to your business IT, you may be asking yourself how exactly implementing these new technologies are going to impact your profit margins. After all, no one goes into business wanting to spend more money than they make! Not only do all of the AI tools that I’ve listed above have free versions, or are already incorporated into your Microsoft licenses by default, but they are also able to add value to your business and see you maximising your profits in other ways as well:
• Making Better Use Of Tools That You’re Already Paying For
When you are already paying for Microsoft licenses, you want to make sure that your teams are adopting them and getting the most out of them as they can. And when Microsoft releases additional features that your teams can immediately take advantage of without it costing you anything extra, that is an advantage that your business shouldn’t take for granted. They are giving you more bang for your buck than they already do.
• Achieving More With The Same Amount Of Time
The more you and your teams are able to get done within working hours, the better the time is being spent. And when AI is helping your teams to automate basic tasks, it’s leaving them with more time to focus their efforts on the areas where they can truly add value to your business.
• Improved Staff Satisfaction And Retention
We all know that taking on new employees is more costly than keeping the team members you already have. There’s training that needs to be done, new salaries that need to be paid, and time that needs to be taken to learn the ropes that your existing humans are already well acquainted with. This is why its important for companies to foster cultures that encourage their humans to grow with their companies, and AI tools are a great way of accomplishing this – giving your humans more resources to use, more room for growth, and more time to do the things that they love with the people that mean the most to them.
3 Mistakes That Businesses Make When Introducing New Technology
Now that we’ve looked at technologies that you could be implementing within your business to add value to your humans’ lives and increase your business profits, there is another step that needs to be considered. There are three common mistakes that I see all the time when companies make business IT decisions based on IT trends. Bearing these mistakes in mind when adopting new technologies will see your business maximising the ROI from your business IT investments:
• Not Thinking Through Business IT Alignment
When it comes to new technology, so many businesses are focused on novelty over functionality. But the fact is, not all technologies are equal, and not all business IT trends are going to be a good fit for your company’s needs and goals.
You need to make sure that the technologies you adopt are aligned to your existing solutions, and are adding measurable value to your business.
Take, for example, a company that operates in G-Suite who decide that they love the idea of Microsoft Teams and want to adopt it to boost communication and collaboration throughout their business. Because there isn’t business IT alignment, the result is actually going to be more frustration than ever before, since the new Microsoft technology is designed to integrate with other Microsoft solutions, and won’t offer nearly as much functionality for your Google files and directories as it would if you were using M365.
• Not Getting Buy-In
So often, owners and upper management of businesses will see a solution that they think is fantastic, and implement it without getting any real feedback from the humans who are going to be using the technology day-to-day. The inevitable result is that these technologies go unused or, at the very least, aren’t used to their full potential. This is most often because they don’t integrate well into your humans’ existing routines and workflows.
Getting feedback on the challenges that your teams are facing, the solutions that they’re already using, and where a new technology can be making their lives easier, will see better buy-in for new technologies, reduce unnecessary expenditure by ensuring that you don’t have multiple solutions serving the same function, and increase successful adoption throughout your business. Speaking of which…
• Not Focussing On Adoption
It’s not enough to just implement new technology and hope it gets used by your teams. Any new solution is going to take time to learn, especially if your humans are learning the ropes on their own, in between all of their ordinary, day-to-day tasks. On top of this is the fact that your humans are going to be used to doing things their own ways – they have spent months and years developing processes that help them to work productively.
Introducing new solutions without thinking of how they can be adopted throughout your company will often result in change taking significantly longer than it should, if it happens at all. But you can speed up the process of adoption by putting plans in place for training, and by highlighting the value that the new solutions hold when used effectively.
What Are The Five Stages Of Technology Adoption?
Every company is going to have a different technology adoption model that they are used to following. But, having been in the business of helping companies change management and technology adoption for the better for the past two decades, I’ve noticed that there are 5 stages of technology adoption that, when followed, help companies to boost adoption of new technologies significantly within their businesses, and see new technologies being successfully integrated into their workflows. These stages are:
You’re aware of the new business IT solution and have a basic understanding of what it does. The next step is careful evaluation of the technology, and how it compares to similar solutions, and the IT that you already have in place.
– Is it going to meet your unique business needs?
– Are there other solutions that may better meet your requirements?
– Do you have existing technology within your company that performs the same function?
– Would this new solution do it better?
This is also the perfect time to get that critical feedback from your humans. Is this technology that they want and will make good use of, or is it just going to be another icon sitting on their desktops without ever being opened.
Implementation and adoption may sounds like two words for the same process, but when it comes to introducing new technologies within your business, they have two very different roles. Where adoption is about ensuring that your humans see the value in the new business IT that you are putting in place, implementation is all about integrating the new technology with your existing systems, and ensuring business IT alignment. It’s making sure that your technologies are working together seamlessly and effectively.
Adopting new technology is a continuous process rather than a drop-and-go scenario. You’ll want to fine-tune your IT solutions to ensure that they’re adding as much value to your operations as possible. This means regularly evaluating which technologies your company is paying for, how they are being used by your humans, and where further training and integrations may be needed to enhance their effectiveness.
How Can Solid Systems Help?
Tackling the challenge of business IT on your own can be difficult. But when you’ve got the right partner by your side, it becomes far easier.
Solid Systems has been helping companies around South Africa and the world to adopt the right technologies for the past two decades. When you work with us as your Managed IT Services partner, it’s about more than just taking on the latest IT trends. We work with you to understand your unique business IT needs, and take the time to delve into which business IT services will be the most helpful in seeing you reach and exceed your goals.
Whether you’ve got 100 humans in your team, or are looking for small business IT services for your 25 user environment, Solid Systems is here to make sure that you are making the right technology choices, and that the technology adoption curve within your business is at an all-time high.
Want to find out how Solid Systems can help with small business IT consulting, business IT solutions, Managed IT services and more? Schedule a consult today and let’s see you stepping into the future with confidence.