By Ritam Gandhi, Founder and Director, Studio Graphene  a firm that specialises in developing blank canvas tech products for small businesses through to large corporates

The digital revolution is radically changing the way we perform even the simplest of tasks, from the way we choose a film to watch on Netflix, to being able to remotely control our homes' heating levels through smart meters. And of all the technologies making headway, artificial intelligence (AI) is having a profound impact in changing the way humans undertake time-consuming and data-intensive tasks. Indeed, AI is positioned to offer huge efficiency gains for businesses regardless of sector.

Yet at the moment, many business leaders still lack a degree of awareness about AI toolsets, while others question their effectiveness, practicality and overall relevance. Indeed, insights unearthed by a recent study found that only 23% of businesses have incorporated AI into their processes or product/service offerings. This is despite 83% maintaining that AI is a strategic priority for their business today.

There's clearly a gap between ambition and execution when it comes to AI adoption. So why exactly is this the case? To offer some insight into how tech solutions could drastically boost workplace productivity, I have listed below two key examples of how AI can revolutionise the way businesses operate, ranging from startups to large corporates.

Reducing the admin burden

Few business leaders and managers are immune to the daily burden of admin, particularly within larger organisations. According to a recent study by Accenture, administrative tasks linked to project management took up a significant 54% of managers' time. Meanwhile, only 10% of their time was spent on strategic planning.

Wouldn't it be great if we could leave these tasks to intelligent technology to handle? Today, this option is well within reach; in fact, administrative and routine tasks like scheduling and reporting fall squarely within the remit of AI-powered solutions.

Solutions such as chatbots and AI voice assistants can reduce this time-consuming burden, by taking on repetitive tasks like scheduling appointments, sending activity reminders to team members, or even carrying out project documentation. As a perfect example, Meekan helps teams automatically match their schedules and arrange meetings by suggesting and booking a date and time which suits everyone. Not only can it reduce long email chains, it also actively adapts to each team member's changing schedules

What's more, popular business tools such as Slack are already integrated with chatbot capabilities, making this accessible to businesses with smaller resources. The benefits to employing these solutions are evident - not only does it reduce natural human error, it leaves employees time to focus on more meaningful and high-end work such as strategic planning. 

Recruiting the right talent

Recruitment is a vital but time-consuming admin task. However, with ever-increasing data available about candidates and employees, recruitment software solutions like Arya and Ideal harness the power of AI to scan for potential recruits, and narrow down the talent pool based on the company's individual needs.

Not only does this reduce the administrative burden of having to manually seek out candidates, cross-reference CVs and evaluate potential recruits, these solutions allow business leaders to find the right candidates for a job by focusing on specific indicators during the initial screening phase (for instance - is the ability to code mentioned in their CV or professional profiles?).

Importantly, this doesn't remove the need for businesses to carefully select the right person - it merely acts as a guide to reduce the huge investment of time and resources. At the end of the day, it will be the employers themselves who determine whether the candidates flagged truly meet the needs of the organisation.

 All business stand to benefit from AI, regardless of sector

Given there are countless applications of AI technology in the workplace, the above examples demonstrate just how AI can be applied in a creative manner, even for those businesses who do not work in the tech sector.

Third-party organisations that specialise in developing and implementing tech solutions for companies are a great starting point. Their knowledge of existing tool sets can be invaluable to those business leaders who feel overwhelmed or don't know where to start. What works for some businesses, however, might not work for others, so businesses are encouraged not to overlook the potential of these technologies and instead continue exploring how they can be used to improve business productivity.