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How will artificial intelligence reshape the workforce?

How will artificial intelligence reshape the workforce?

01 Nov 2016

Trends in Artificial Intelligence (AI)


Mechanisation and automation transformed industry in the 18th and 19th centuries. We are now in the age of AI.


In the 21st century, with the widespread use of Big Data and algorithms, and the computerisation of cognitive tasks in fraud detection, sensor data, healthcare, and the legal and financial services, AI has proved itself capable of handling laborious computations and large data sets, easily and impartially.


It has enabled benchmarking, detection of patterns and trends and formulation of plans with high success. An eye-opening example of AI in action is Works Applications’ (WAP) innovative and business-centric solution, AI WORKS.


AI WORKS enables smarter companies in Singapore


WAP is Japan’s leading enterprise software provider. Since its inception in 1996, WAP has devised innovative enterprise software for Human Resource Management, Financial Management, Supply Chain Management, E-commerce, ID Management and Enterprise Collaboration. These products, collectively termed AI WORKS, demonstrate High-Usability Experience.


WAP recently launched AI WORKS in Singapore.


According to WAP’s Partner and Director, Global Sales and Marketing, Ryu Suzuki, Singapore is a perfect base given the country’s strategic location and its status as a business hub in Southeast Asia.


“It’s well-entrenched, transparent legal system and its diversity were equally critical deciding factors,” he says. “In fact, Singapore spells good news for all MNCs who are trying to enter Asia and set up operations here.”


He also highlights the country’s conducive environment for doing business – a fast-changing digital economy, linguistic ease and the government’s encouraging stance on transforming the country into a smart nation. As Singapore ups the ante to become a Smart Nation, Suzuki believes that “AI WORKS is the perfect support as it is designed to empower organisations in Singapore from the ground up”.


Transforming how people work


AI WORKS is a one-of-its-kind and the first AI powered cloud-based enterprise productivity system (EPS).


Traditional Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) uses technology to link various organisational functions such as accounting, inventory management, and human resources, and facilitate improved information sharing, decision making, and planning. WAP has simplified the whole process by incorporating AI into ERP. AI WORKS will improve operational efficiency by reducing manual input, while offering unprecedented speed and enhanced AI capabilities.


As more organisations adopt cloud technologies to store, access and protect data as well as ease computing, AI WORKS can help them manage huge volumes of information and diverse sources of data. Suzuki says that WAP research indicates that roughly 40 per cent of one’s working hours is spent on repetitive tasks such as inputting data, scheduling and report generation. By automating cumbersome data input and collation processes that are prone to human error, the solution frees up employees to focus on the more creative aspects of work such as improving customer service.


“AI WORKS is designed to empower organisations by reducing inefficiencies within organisations – at the level of individual employees,” he says.


It does this by integrating productivity tools such as spreadsheet, scheduling, chat and email, and offering seamless operational connectivity so that users do not have to open multiple systems to finish one task. AI WORKS also uses machine learning to suggest the subsequent operation to each user based on the historical operational log data.


WAP has also recently unveiled a new recruiting module of AI WORKS that is expected to ease the recruitment process by automating and streamlining the process. It automatically incorporates applicant resumes into the database, generates auto-emails at the interview stage, creates interview schedules based on availability of interviewers, and establishes links with professional websites such as LinkedIn. The module also suggests positions and applicant rankings based on applicants’ past positions and performance. Suzuki explains that the “solution will help organisations conduct interviews intuitively and efficiently, and enhance the quality of talent they hire”.


Simply put, AI WORKS is designed to make people work smarter by eliminating the unnecessary.


The road ahead for AI in Asia


Workforce automation is here to stay. Estimates by McKinsey Global Institute (2013) suggest that “sophisticated algorithms could substitute approximately 140 million full-time knowledge workers worldwide”. Technological progress in the 21st century will challenge and transform the workforce, and at unprecedented speeds.  


Seiichi Yoshikawa, general manager of the IT Planning Department of Sojitz Asia Pte. Ltd. —the ASEAN regional headquarters of 22 subsidiaries across 13 countries of one of the largest global conglomerates in Japan — says that “AI WORKS has broken the norm of conventional ERP systems, which are tools to "input" information. We are thrilled about WAP's dedication to speed and convenience. Its unique view component enables information to be pulled into the screen from a database instantaneously. We are impressed with its commitment to continuously improve and its concept of no customisation, implementation, and configuration costs. This is a chance for us to revolutionise the way people work and how people perceive work using AI WORKS in the ASEAN region.”


WAP recognises this bigger trend and through AI WORKS aims to prepare the current workforce in Singapore and Asia for what is imminent by eliminating repetitive tasks and freeing up their potential and time to work at more value-adding tasks.