You may still think that A.I. is a long way off and that it won’t have as much of an impact on business as everyone says it will. But you’d be wrong. The truth is, if you’ve called out to Alexa, Google, or Siri to help with anything, you’ve already become dependent on A.I. to augment your life. And, somehow, that seems innocuous while the thought of the same intelligence encroaching our jobs is deemed as terrifying. But the latter argument couldn’t be further from the reality of what our future of work truly looks like.
Co-habitation is the secret to augmentation
My first dorm room in the fall of 1994 was a quad. I had a steep learning-curve of living with others in a copacetic way. While there were some hiccups (like dissimilar circadian rhythms) by the end of my freshman year, we were all friends. I think of the same kind of learning curve hitting the workforce as automation moves in and offers some assistance to daily operating routines.
Augmenting asset management is actually an ideal use of A.I. since collating data is where automation really shines. Most ITAM programs (and the procurement side that brings in the devices) are tripped up by human error in the area of logistics. As it turns out, tracking all those beige boxes just isn’t a fleshy unit’s best skill. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t thousands of applications where human skills are superior to automation.
In fact, the best-case scenarios are where whatever automation is employed has a human counterpart. A great example would be that of collaborating with an ITAD vendor. Larger procurement departments need a good ITAD vendor to supply them with refurbished devices or to securely handle their dispositioned assets. Now you wouldn’t want a robot handling that relationship, would you?
Determining the value of decisions
The nuance of cultural fit and trust requires considerable time to be invested for a person to find and evaluate vendor relationships. So much so, in fact, that it’s often a task that gets pushed to the back of the queue because, after all, those beige boxes won’t track themselves. But, switch on your A.I. to handle the logistics and you’ve freed up a human for that important task of judging the things that can’t be put on a spreadsheet.
At Sage, we see how giving RFPs to some algorithm only leads to missing ideal candidates all the time. Sage’s cultural focus is on the customer, which makes our employees truly devoted to customer success. But in RFPs, that kind of information gets diluted. If the other ITAM or procurement tasks can be handled by computers, this highly intuitive operation could be tailored to human employees, potentially opening the door for better vendor synergies.
In other words, A.I., or automating a procurement department, would actually make procurement employees REALLY valuable by getting them away from the numbers. Analog is where we thrive Let’s let the binary processors deal with all those ones-and-zeros.
Embracing this technology is important to achieve optimum cost optimization in your procurement. But, to Gartner’s point in the article linked above, it has to be implemented on the right platform--yet another task that your procurement personnel is ideally suited to. Their time could be spent setting up a platform that is tailored for the automation your company needs.
The great thing about A.I. in this instance is that, with machine learning, it will likely be plug-and-play. Set up the parameters for the automation and then let the bots do their thing. This will make integration happen quickly so your human employees can devote their time to all those critical tasks they’ve been aiming to get to.
Tell us your story: Is your IT procurement looking into automating? What trepidation do you have about A.I.? Join in the conversation on Social Media!