Should AI be the next step for the Shared Services industry?

By: Lasse Rouhiainen

Artificial Intelligence and all of its capabilities can be complex to understand. Offering up an array of technologies and solutions, AI can help businesses in many ways but overcoming the initial complexity of the technology can be off-putting. Shared Service Centres have started to introduce digital solutions into their business environment, with RPA becoming a common tool across the industry. For many centres, it's time to take the next step and move towards implementing more cognitive AI technologies into their day-to-day business functions. AI alone can help to increase productivity levels through the in-depth analysis of internal and external information without compromising quality.

In this exclusive discussion, we sat down with Lasse Rouhianen, the best selling author of 'Artificial Intelligence: 101 Things You Must Know Today About Our Future' and AI expert. Lasse shared with us his insight into AI dynamics in the shared service business environment as well as why the industry should endorse AI's empowering skill sets instead of fearing them. Discover why AI should be the next step in your Shared Service Centre's digital transformation journey.

How will AI impact the Shared Services industry?

"I think AI will impact the shared services industry in a similar way to other industries that have already started this transition. The first AI tool that will have an impact on the industry is RPA; thanks to more cognitive forms of the tool, the industry will be able to automate more than simply time-consuming processes, they will have a wider reach due to the extent of data available. Aside from this, the shared services industry will be able to create more personalised services for their customers. Right now, centres are offering generic services instead of tailoring them to a specific customer or client. AI will be able to help make these experiences more personal, improving the overall customer journey." 

What specific AI technologies do you think the Shared Services Industry will benefit from?

"RPA has traditionally worked without AI but I think that the next step in the technology journey will really see RPA collaborate with AI technologies. This cognitive automation will be used to automate every process possible, including far more complicated processes than at present. In addition to RPA, chat bots are an essential investment because they can be used everywhere in which there is some form of communication between humans - and they can be very effective. Chat bots can also be used internally with bigger organisations. I really recommend that the industry to take the time to think through why they're implementing AI and how they can still have high levels of emotional intelligence and human communication."

Could you help the industry to understand that AI is beneficial rather than something to be intimidated by?

"I've given a lot of lectures on AI to young people in University and it's been really interesting because it's the first time I've seen young people scared, but also a tiny bit angry, because they think that technology companies have too much power over their privacy. AI is the first technology that we have learnt about through Hollywood movies. It's the technology that can do, and overpower everything. Entertainment aside, this can create a lot of confusion in the business environment. Something everyone needs to understand is that modern day AI is really only good at completing specific set tasks. For example, if your AI tool is trained to talk to a customer that is the only thing it will be able to do. We should see AI as a tool that will augment and empower us. I really recommend understanding this difference. We use AI for repetitive tasks and it is increasingly advantageous for companies who are using it. At the same time, it's good to analyse and evaluate how it can help your centre become more valuable for the organisation, the stakeholders and the customers."

It is clear that AI is set to have a huge impact on all industries, including shared services and, those that adapt to this quickly will benefit. Taking the time to analyse your business processes and identifying where there are gaps that could be filled with cognitive technology is the best starting point for all centres. Once these solutions have been identified, centres should continue to learn about AI capabilities and how they will continue to shape the industry in the future.

This is only the starting point for AI. When you ask yourself, is Artificial Intelligence the next step for my centre? The answer should be yes. Endorsing the opportunity now will set you ahead of your competition in the future to come.

Lasse Rouhiainen a best selling author and expert on Artificial Intelligence and other disruptive technologies. His main goal is to help companies to adapt to and, leverage these new technologies. Lasse has also spent a lot of time working in digital marketing, helping companies to establish paid social media and video marketing strategies. Aside from this, he has been involved in hosting several keynote presentations and seminars across 16 different countries and has recently done work with universities and young people to help them better understand and use these disruptive technologies. Lasse will be joining us at SSOW Autumn in Prague this October to host a big ideas keynote session discussing the most important things you need to know to move forward with Artificial Intelligence in your centres. To find out more about Lasse's keynote, click here.