Article

Your Employees Want an AI Strategy, Why Waiting To Implement One Poses Risks

calendar iconJune 20, 2024

Employees want to utilize artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace, and they won’t always wait for leadership to implement guidelines or software to do so, which introduces risks. Seventy-eight percent of AI users are bringing their own AI tools to work, a recent report by Microsoft and LinkedIn found.

The percentage of people bringing their own AI to work (BYOAI) increases to 80% for small and mid-sized companies. While automation tools help increase productivity and output, without a clear game plan on how AI will be utilized in the workplace, businesses may be making themselves vulnerable to data breaches and other issues. It’s important to use secure platforms like Microsoft Copilot as your organization embarks on its AI journey.

Trace Armstrong, Senior Manager of Cherry Bekaert’s Microsoft Practice, said there are potential security complications with free versions of AI software.

“Your employees will use AI anyway, whether it’s in the office or at home and forwarding it to themselves if you have blocked it,” he said. “You’re better off giving them access to it but regulating how they use it, so data is not compromised. For example, if an employee generates a sales email, and they want to run it though ChatGPT to make sure grammar is good, you may be putting proprietary client data into ChatGPT. By putting it into the free version of the system, your proprietary data is now open to all kinds of potential security vulnerabilities.”

If your company instead developed a strategy and paid for licensing for internal use of Microsoft Copilot and Azure AI, that data would then stay within the organization’s system and not be externally exposed.

How AI Benefits Employees

When used responsibly, AI helps a workforce become more efficient and productive. While machine learning is useful for increasing output and getting faster results, returns are even better with an analytical human mind that knows how to prompt AI for the right outcomes. While implementing an AI protocol can be a daunting task, deploying a thoughtful strategy and training employees to work with automation tools is often a net positive.

AI can help employees:

  • Boost Creativity
  • Feel More Motivated
  • Complete Monotonous Tasks
  • Learn New Skills
  • Deepen Roles
  • Improve Accuracy

With ongoing education and the ability for employees to focus on certain tasks they previously did not have time to devote to, they can undertake more critical functions or upgrade their roles entirely. Other generative AI software, such as Microsoft Copilot, may be a good fit to help implement AI into your organization’s processes.

Microsoft Copilot and Other AI Software

Microsoft Copilot is a generative AI tool that is integrated with other Microsoft 365 applications and documents to streamline tasks. Similar to ChatGPT, Copilot can:

  • Create Text and Visual Content
  • Create Images
  • Summarize Content (Email Threads or Webpages)
  • Transcribe Meetings
  • Create and Analyze Excel Sheets
  • Organize Information

Trace has seen how effective utilization of tools like Microsoft Copilot can be beneficial to organizations.

“One example would be a capital expense process with numerous workflows, a bunch of approvals, and other various business processes,” he said. “You can go into Copilot studio, build a chatbot and train it. Then you can say, ‘Hey, chatbot, these are my beta sources for my capital expense process. Please be able to answer questions based on these criteria.”

Copilot can also interact effectively with the dynamic customer relationship management (CRM) sales platform. Through the CRM, Copilot allows users to streamline email communications and perform actions such as matching written consent to specific opportunities.

“Copilot has a lot of real-world use cases that are very robust now,” Trace said. “But it’s going to require some extensive training and some guidance, and that’s where Cherry Bekaert fits in.”

Implementation and Data Readiness

When deciding to implement new software, data readiness is a critical step. Data drives key business decisions, yet many organizations struggle with disparate data storage systems, leading to the inability to make critical business decisions based on key findings. In fact, fewer than 10% of enterprises are advanced in their insights-driven capabilities, a Forrester report found. Cherry Bekaert can assist with the development of an AI strategy and system implementation to ensure a seamless transition and avoidance of issues, such as data duplication.

If your business is currently utilizing numerous enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, or other software, you may be unnecessarily duplicating data if the systems are not properly synched. Additionally, using a data lakehouse, such as Microsoft Azure Data Lake, allows companies to store data from numerous sources and platforms. In turn, Copilot can work with Azure to analyze data and offer projections, such as expected revenue.

“AI is not a replacement,” Trace said. “But a workforce properly equipped with AI will be efficient and more productive, which means you can get to profitability and internal objective achievement faster.”

The Cherry Bekaert Difference

We can work with you to develop an effective AI strategy and guide you through a digital transformation. Our process includes:

  • Understanding your business vision
  • Identifying key transformation opportunities
  • Providing a thorough business assessment
  • Outlining a clear roadmap for digital development
  • Working with leaders to implement new strategies

As a Microsoft partner, Cherry Bekaert’s professionals have extensive experience identifying and integrating solutions to eliminate obstacles and drive maximum value. team drives transformation in productive, cost-effective ways while optimizing performance. Our team is comprised of strategists, technologists and analysts with broad industry experience and keen acumen.

Questions? Contact Us