Ask not what you can do for AI, but what AI can do for you…

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AI should be used to help and enhance the people already in place, not replace them

Artificial intelligence in the workplace will cause a major shift in the coming months and years in how we deploy people strategy. According to the World Economic Forum, an estimated five million jobs across 15 developed countries will be taken by robots by 2020.

As the function ultimately responsible for employees, their jobs and therefore their livelihoods, HR practitioners will be in the thick of the action. However, AI shouldn’t always replace a person, but rather complement their skills – we need to make this clear to employees by showing how it benefits them, not just their company.

Our new site in Oldham is proving how AI can work together with our colleagues as an enabler to deliver outstanding customer experiences.

Our business has already brought in cloud computing across its network of branches, which has cut the time taken to buy a car by three-quarters. However, the simple introduction of cloud computing enables a lot more long-term benefits. For instance, cloud computing allows data to be passed across networks and our retailers and this means that customer progress and preferences can be shared (providing the customers have given us permission to do so). If team members are correctly trained in using the data and technology available to them this can be a massive help enhancing the customer experience.

The challenge for us is to gather and share information internally so that team members have it to hand when they need it. Number plate recognition technology identifies a customer from data they have shared with us and this brings up their profile on a bespoke Jardine app to join the dots of all customer data. When in full operation the app will also use data from a customer’s journey on the Web.

This is where AI once again enhances what is already in place, rather than replaces it. Teams no longer need to rely solely on their personal knowledge, but can use this app to boost what they already know by accessing more information on the customer, including individual preferences, how far they are in their search for a new car, and the last time they had their car serviced. Using this knowledge a sales person can tailor an experience to each individual customer.

Clare Martin is group HR director at Jardine Motors Group

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