IPsoft has published new research, in partnership with Censuswide, examining the uptake of AI during the COVID-19 pandemic and its continuing impact on the American workforce.
The nationwide study of executives at medium and large organizations found that 88 percent of businesses added or scaled AI within their organizations for business continuity purposes during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Appearing to prioritize immediate needs, these organizations invested in applications that could help answer customer calls (53 percent), analyze large data sets (57 percent), provide employees with IT services (53 percent), provide employees with HR services (49 percent), assess customers for eligibility or risk (49 percent), and perform contactless intake calls (47 percent). 40 percent also introduced AI to perform mid-senior level, white-collar tasks, indicating investment in sophisticated AI solutions that go beyond robotic process automation software (RPA) and the use of bots.
AI has been so effective at bolstering operations during the pandemic that 82 percent of respondents said they intend to use AI and other emerging technologies to hedge against reopening to full capacity in 2020. The figure rises to 91 percent among respondents in the financial sector and 83 percent among those working in the IT and telecoms industry. The increase highlights the capability of sophisticated AI to fulfill job functions in low-touch industries, including white-collar work.
Business continuity is a significant priority for organizations adopting or scaling AI technology during the pandemic. However, as many as 91 percent of executives said they also consider how the technology will impact their existing employees before they acquire or scale it. The majority of respondents reported looking at how AI supports a more flexible working environment, such as enabling a shorter work week or allowing workers to do the bulk of their work at a time that suits them best (56 percent). In addition, decision makers said they also consider how new AI allows staff to focus on higher level tasks (47 percent) and how it saves existing employees’ time (40 percent).
IPsoft commissioned independent market research company Censuswide to conduct the research. A total of 250 C-suite individuals, vice presidents and business owners (aged 18+) were surveyed in August 2020 in the United States. The respondents were from organizations with at least 500 employees in any sector.