Accenture promotes AI-ready workforce

Accenture promotes AI-ready workforce

Staff need to adapt to the technology

From left: Patama Chantaruck, country managing director of Accenture Thailand, Ms Lan and Ms Ng. The company says all industries will be affected by AI.
From left: Patama Chantaruck, country managing director of Accenture Thailand, Ms Lan and Ms Ng. The company says all industries will be affected by AI.

Understanding and developing a workforce able to use artificial intelligence (AI) is critical for corporate management in the age of generative AI, says global services company Accenture.

Lan Guan, chief AI officer at Accenture, said generative AI will have a more profound impact on companies across industries than any technology that preceded it.

Organisations have to reinvent work, reshape workforce processes and prepare workers to scale generative AI to achieve the technology's full potential, said Ms Lan.

Organisation leaders must commit to learning and leading in new ways that deliver economic value, drive business growth and benefit their people, she said.

Accenture, in collaboration with clients and partners globally, has been developing proof of concept projects for around 1,000 projects for more than a year.

Roughly 80 to 100 have been developed into practical use cases, said Ms Lan.

These use cases can help organisations across industries incorporate generative AI into their operational structure to achieve AI's potential, she said.

Ms Lan said there are five core strategies for top management of all organisations to embrace in the age of generative AI.

The strategies comprise a clear value target for companies adopting generative AI, understanding and developing an AI-enabled workforce as well as a secure digital core, reinventing talent and ways of working, closing the gap on responsible AI, and driving continuous reinvention.

She said some key themes in the development of generative AI adoption include: model supremacy is declining, meaning there will no longer be one best model; open-source models that leverage worldwide communities to innovate and experiment with AI; and large multimodal AI that seamlessly understands and generates content across text, images, videos and more.

In addition, edge AI is the new focus of generative AI development as it helps enhance privacy, reduce costs and improves speed using edge computing.

Another trend, the "age of agents", helps to generate content by executing end-to-end processes, said Ms Lan.

Thailand is an exciting market with high potential for AI, though it is still at the early stage of adoption as digital transformation grows across industries, she said.

Corporate executives are also early adopters of innovations such as blockchain, the metaverse and ChatGPT, said Ms Lan.

Ng Wee Wei, senior managing director and Southeast Asia market unit leader, said an Accenture survey found 97% of global executives believe generative AI will transform their enterprises and industries, playing a significant role in their strategies over the next 3-5 years.

Across almost 700 generative AI client engagements at Accenture, the company views software and platforms, banking, communications and media, and life sciences as among the most active industries.

"Our clients are most frequently applying generative AI for content creation, IT and assisted software development, knowledge retrieval, and customer service and contact centres," Ms Ng said.

In Southeast Asia, all companies surveyed have either implemented or increased the implementation of AI and automation.

INVESTING IN TALENT

She said companies across all industries must not view an AI-enabled workforce as a technological matter.

Typically, after discussing the disruptive potential of the technology, Accenture demonstrates to its clients research that indicates 40% of working hours will be affected by generative AI, said Ms Ng.

She said companies need to contemplate questions such as: How should we approach workforce planning? How can we effectively train our personnel to adapt to this new technology? What cultural shift should we anticipate? How do we encourage adoption?

While individuals may initially experiment with generative AI, overcoming mental barriers to its daily use requires a significant cultural shift, said Ms Ng.

Success with generative AI demands as much attention to people and training as it does to technology, she said.

Ms Ng said companies should significantly increase investment in talent to tackle two distinct challenges: creating AI and utilising AI.

While creating AI entails developing expertise in technical domains, utilising AI requires training personnel across the organisation to operate effectively within AI-integrated processes.

Without an appreciation of the capabilities of generative AI, it is difficult for work and the workforce to be transformed to tap into its potential, she said.

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