The challenge of organizational change has long been a complex and daunting task for businesses across industries.
However, in today's digital-first age, technology has become a driving force for work efficiency and productivity. The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) has provided organizations with powerful tools to facilitate change and transformation and achieve sustainable success.
And the more these newer tools get integrated into our workflows, the better results we are likely to get.
About 50% of companies across the globe have integrated AI in at least one of their business areas. A significant portion of these companies is also starting to find value in diverse and novel AI capabilities and tools (beyond the basics) and applying them across functions.
Using AI solutions in real-world scenarios — also called ‘applied AI’ — has the potential to revolutionize how organizations approach change and its management.
Organizational change is the process of implementing planned adjustments and adopting new tools to align a company's structure, systems, processes, and culture with desired outcomes. It requires intelligent people management, forward-thinking, and informed decision-making to navigate the challenges posed by evolving business conditions.
AI can serve as a catalyst for change, enabling organizations to identify areas that require improvement and transformation.
One such area is process automation, where AI tools can help companies enhance efficiency and generate cost savings. AI can also play a critical role in improving decision-making processes by providing data-driven insights and optimizing strategy formulation and execution. Through AI-driven analytics, organizations gain the ability to make informed decisions, seize growth opportunities, and adapt swiftly to market dynamics.
The benefits of AI in organizational change extend well beyond operations. AI solutions can foster an agile and adaptive organizational culture, empowering teams and promoting continuous improvement. With AI systems supporting agile practices and experimentation, companies can embrace iterative improvements and nurture a culture of innovation.
Smart change management is key to effective change. It involves identifying opportunities, anticipating challenges, and engaging stakeholders throughout the process. AI can play a pivotal role in each of these aspects, offering organizations a powerful tool to enhance their change initiatives. But AI adoption is also a change initiative in itself.
McKinsey's comprehensive study of over 400 machine and deep learning use cases across 19 industries and various business functions revealed the vast potential of AI across practically all sectors. However, it’s important to recognize that the true value of AI lies not solely in the technology itself but in how companies leverage it to augment human capabilities.
It is up to leaders and stakeholders to identify problems and opportunities within their organizations and effectively harness the power of AI to address them.
Organizational change is typically categorized as either transformational or adaptive. AI adoption could be seen as a combination of both types of change.
Transformational changes are extensive in scope and have the potential to disrupt an organization. In a transformational approach to AI, a company may need to completely reevaluate its business strategy, structure, and operations, and then select the right AI solutions to drive impactful change where needed.
An adaptive change approach can also be valuable. This method involves making smaller adjustments that accumulate into a larger-scale transformation. Organizations may choose to introduce AI-powered tools and processes gradually across different departments or begin by implementing AI in selected processes before scaling up.
By adopting a thoughtful and holistic approach to AI-powered change management, organizations can navigate the complexities of transformation. This ensures that AI is integrated into every aspect of the organization, maximizing its potential to drive innovation, efficiency, and competitive advantage.
Both in change management and overall performance, organizations can leverage AI to unlock new capabilities and improvements.
By automating repetitive tasks, AI streamlines operations and reduces manual effort, leading to increased efficiency and productivity. This allows employees to focus on higher-value activities, ultimately driving change and organizational performance.
In logistics, AI can be used to reduce costs and enhance customer service. For instance, UPS utilizes AI algorithms to optimize delivery routes, reducing fuel consumption (and ETAs) and improving overall delivery efficiency.
AI's ability to analyze large volumes of data with speed and precision enhances accuracy in decision-making processes. This reduces the risk of human error and enables organizations to make informed, data-driven decisions for better outcomes.
Recall that AI use extends across various areas of work — even the health and medicine field. Google is currently developing an AI large language model (LLM), Med-PaLM 2, which can answer complex medical questions and interpret large volumes of medical data. Google's DeepMind also has an AI system that accurately diagnoses certain medical conditions by analyzing medical images and providing insights to healthcare professionals.
AI-driven automation can lead to significant cost savings by reducing the need for human labor and minimizing errors.
As an example, JP Morgan Chase uses AI solutions for fraud detection and prevention, saving millions of dollars by identifying and mitigating fraudulent activities. By optimizing processes and resources, organizations can allocate their budget more effectively — and better handle high-stakes matters.
AI-powered communication and collaboration tools can foster employee engagement and knowledge sharing. In particular, the ability to receive personalized information and seamlessly collaborate across teams and departments can contribute to increased communication and productivity.
A great example is Salesforce’s AI-powered tool, Einstein GPT, which helps employees share insights, collaborate on projects, and drive engagement within their organization.
By leveraging machine learning algorithms, businesses can analyze market intelligence and trends, identifying areas for improvement and innovation. This data-driven approach ensures that change initiatives are targeted toward areas with the most significant impact.
For instance, retail companies can use AI-powered analytics tools to interpret customer data and market trends. By identifying changing consumer preferences, they are able to adapt their product offerings and marketing strategies, leading to increased sales and market share.
AI's predictive capabilities can help companies anticipate potential roadblocks and find solutions. Through analyzing historical data and patterns, AI systems can identify likely sources of problems or resistance, allowing leaders to tailor their strategies accordingly and increasing the chances of successful implementation.
For example, energy companies can use predictive AI to assess customer behavior and energy use, anticipate system malfunctions, optimize energy dispatch, and more. By identifying potential challenges in advance, service providers can optimize their operational and communication strategies, improving both internal processes and customer experiences.
While AI offers tremendous potential for organizational change, it also raises several challenges and considerations.
In the era of AI, companies must break through cultural and organizational barriers to seize the transformative potential of this technology. While progress towards widespread adoption has been slow, businesses that can navigate these challenges are gaining a competitive edge, regardless of their sector.
To scale up AI implementation, organizations should
As AI capabilities continue to unfold, it’s vital for organizations to approach implementation with caution — after all, the newness of AI means that there could still be other inherent, little-known risks. Customizing AI models based on specific needs and datasets can help mitigate negative biases and inaccuracies, delivering better outcomes that align with each company’s goals.
Ultimately, by embracing AI as a catalyst for transformation, organizations can better navigate the complexities of change and position themselves for long-term growth.
If you’re interested in pursuing innovation to enhance your company’s strategy and improve operational excellence, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at email@example.com.