Amelia is a customer service agent from Sweden. She is very efficient, doesn’t go on holidays or even take coffee breaks. Her typical working time is 24/7. She is a robot that speaks natural languages, can adjust to customer behavior, and learn the best service manners from her colleagues.

Amelia and her kind are needed in the near future – it’s been predicted that there will be a shortage of 48 million working-age people in Europe by 2050. For this article Professor Liisa Välikangas from the Aalto University in Helsinki shared her vision of how the working life will be changing. Katri Kolesnik, Head of CIO Innovation at the ICT Standard Forum explains how these changes will soon show in IT management.

Here are the highlights from Professor Liisa Välikangas, Aalto University Helsinki & Hanken School of Economics:

  1. Robots and artificial intelligence (AI) are getting more common. Both robots and algorithms are already widely utilized – and often in situations that we don’t even realize their existence. In the future, AI will be even more indistinguishable and fluent in languages and conversations.
  2. Performance-oriented work becomes invisible. Routine tasks, like tapping travel expense statements, will become automated. This gives employees more time to focus on reflective work, which requires creativity and evaluation ability, in other words, the kind of work human employees do best.
  3. Management practices are going to change, and they must acknowledge the evolving nature of work. The early 20th century customs can still be seen in the management culture, even though the work itself has changed significantly since the Industrial Revolution.
  4. Virtual labor is still growing and the opportunities for it are constantly increasing. The more developed and accessible the solutions for augmented reality become, the more authentic the experience will feel.
  5. Work should often be done very fast, but then again just as often very slowly. There is a need for the ability to quickly react and adapt to unpredictable changes. But on the other hand, a more sedate approach to work is also needed: reflecting deeper on the meanings and combining creative solutions with new possibilities.

Robotics and IT Management

For an average citizen, a robot colleague might sound a bit sci-fi. In reality, we are already constantly dealing with artificial intelligence – for example when calling a bank. The developers of Amelia assure that the virtual customer server is nothing like the threatening singularities seen in movies – even though the human-like being and natural communication ability might make one’s imagination run wild.

From the IT organization’s point of view, artificial intelligence and robotics are more common. The latest revolutionary solutions are presented to the IT organization usually by the business representatives – the main marketing targets. A lot of questions arise: How will the new artificial intelligence solutions fit in the enterprise architecture? What kind of methods are needed to make the solutions work as desired and produce the sought benefits?

The IT organization is entering an unknown area, where a lot of new things need to be learned. Here is what Katri Kolesnik, Head of CIO Innovations at ICT Standard Forum highlights related to AI and IT management:

  • Several experts are predicting that everything will soon be defined by the customer experience. The IT organization too needs to step forward and understand the customer journey instead of sticking to back-end systems.
  • Customer service robots like Amelia are not intelligent before they are trained to function in a certain environment. Like their human colleagues, they are constantly learning new skills but the learning pace is on a whole new level. Who will be responsible for training the robots in the future? Will the IT organization be hiring personal trainers for robots?
  • The IT organizations’ interdisciplinarity will stand out. Linguists are needed to get the artificial intelligence to master the natural language even more extensively. Communication specialists are needed as well as creative problem solvers with the ability of critical thinking. When the team consists of multiple talents, also the management skills should be on a different level.

The Best Methods Are Being Put Together – Stay Tuned!

At the moment, everyone is thinking about how to match robotics and artificial intelligence with IT Management. Therefore, it’s one the areas where co-operation should be increased – and then put the insights together for everyone to use. Sharing the best methods has been the main purpose for ICT Standard Forum and for the IT Standard for Business’s existence. When methods become standard, it’s easier to focus more on what brings additional value to the business.

We are now developing the fourth version of the IT Standard for Business –framework, which is planned to be published in the course of 2018. The development program will run for the entire year, and we are now searching for pioneer businesses, with experience in developing e.g., robotic related concepts, to join us. When developing the previous versions of the IT Standard for Business –framework we have been co-operating with companies like Kone, Saab, Fortum, Orion, and Kemira.


WANT TO JOIN US? Now is the time to act!

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