A recent research report by the Economist cites IPsoft’s digital colleague Amelia as an exciting new technology shaping the nature of work. The report, Workplace Evolution: Empowering Employees in a Flexible Work Environment, examines the changing modern workforce and how companies are responding to evolving worker needs.

In addition to focusing on workforce themes such as office design, human resources (HR) policies, and recruitment, the report also examines automation and how workers will be impacted. “When thinking about the future of the workplace, many people envision robot assistants and virtual reality meetings in self-driving cars,” the report states. “It is true that technology has been the underlying force driving changes in the way people work. Advances in mobile technology allow people to work on laptops at home or from a local café; meetings can be conducted remotely over increasingly effective video-conferencing systems; huge quantities of data can be shared between people over great distances.”

The Economist references Artificial Intelligence’s (AI) promise mostly for its “ability to scan an organization’s networks and use machine learning to make business decisions (and understand their impact) using real-time data, including conversations. These can be used to manage tasks from fielding telephone calls to allocating resources on projects.”

AI will play a fundamental role in transforming today’s workforce.

Amelia, specifically, is referenced as a workplace application of AI that can be adopted across sectors to change the future of work. IPsoft Chief Commercial Officer Jonathan Crane explained in the report some of the benefits of employing a digital colleague such as Amelia. “If most queries boil down to the same six points then why can’t you answer them automatically?” Crane asks.

What the report alludes to, but doesn’t fully explore, is Amelia’s role as a ghost or whisper agent. Amelia will not only revolutionize the workplace by automating repetitive tasks, she will also serve as a collaborator who can find answers to questions, run reports, and even make decisions for human workers. For example: Allstate call center agents ask Amelia questions while on service calls with customers. If agents need information about a customer’s policy, or if they need to find information about a state’s driving laws, Amelia can access that data for them. Agents can remain on the call without putting the customer on hold.

Within IPsoft’s 1Desk, Amelia works with an end-to-end IT operations management platform designed to make workers’ lives easier and allow them to do their jobs more efficiently.  With 1Desk, Amelia can become the first line of support for IT helpdesk questions. For example: If an employee can’t remember his or her VPN password, normally the employee would send an email to IT support, which gets put into a long queue for servicing. With 1Desk, an employee can simply send a chat message to Amelia, who can then pull up the VPN password immediately, and reset it if necessary. This kind of capability is important given the global nature of many companies’ employee footprint, with workers operating in corporate offices, at client sites and in their own homes. The Economist report stated that employees doing at least part of their work from home has surged by 115% since 2005.

We agree with The Economist report’s assertion that AI will play a fundamental role in transforming today’s workforce. 1Desk can play an integral part in that transformation for any company, connecting front- and back-office systems through automation and using Amelia as workers’ go-to source for internal support, services and information.

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