Advice | 4th January 2024

“2024: AI Takeover and Hybrid Work Revolution!”

“As technology continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace, the landscape of organisational delivery for both straightforward and complex work is set to undergo transformative changes in 2024. The new year promises to be a watershed moment for businesses as they embrace cutting edge digital software that redefines how they operate and interact with technology. From the practical applications of artificial intelligence (AI) to the nuanced dynamics of hybrid work, these trends are poised to shape how we work.” That’s according to Ray Bowe, CEO of Xcentuate the award-winning, Dublin based, international provider of digital productivity and performance solutions to the Financial Services, Telco, Pharma and Public sectors,

1. AI’s Practical Business Applications

In 2024 the integration of artificial intelligence into organisational delivery is no longer a distant ambition but a tangible reality that firms will eagerly adopt. Leveraging AI to enhance operational efficiency, decision-making, and customer experiences will become the norm.  From automation of routine tasks to streamlining more complex ones, AI will become a gamechanger for businesses across industries.

As businesses seek to gain a competitive edge, practical applications of AI are no longer a luxury, but a necessity. We are witnessing a shift from experimentation to implementation where AI is seamlessly woven into the fabric of organisations to drive innovation an efficiency.

This trend is especially prevalent in sectors such as finance, healthcare, and manufacturing, where AI is being harnessed to analyse vast datasets, predict trends and optimise processes. The result will be a more agile and responsive business environment that can adapt to the dynamic demands of the global market.

For the immediate future, it’s not WHEN you should adopt but WHAT you should adopt. Businesses need to start interacting now with AI to avoid getting left behind and becoming part of a digital divide. For SME’s, there are numerous AI tools now available and ChatGPT is a good place to start before exploring other AI capabilities.  In 2024 we will see more and more AI becoming available in existing software.

Looking beyond 2024, AI will evolve and unlock new potential – faster and better thanks to Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), a form of artificial intelligence in which a machine can learn and think like a human. This will lead to the era of agent powered applications with everyday problem-solving capabilities with transformative impact on customer delivery.

Meanwhile, work will become more engaging for employees as AI helps to automate repetitive and low-level administrative tasks as well as acting as a copilot, allowing them to focus their talents on work that reflects their expertise.

2.  Accelerating Transformation Through Advanced AI

The landscape of transformation has historically been characterised by gradual progress, necessitating extensive periods of analysis, coding, and testing to ensure the delivery of precise and well-fitting solutions. Recently, the widespread adoption of AI tools like ChatGPT for coding purposes has marked a significant shift in this paradigm. As we move into 2024, this evolution is poised to leap forward. We are on the cusp of witnessing a revolution in intelligent automation. This new era is defined by automation solutions that autonomously analyse processes, develop code, and perform testing against historical data, thereby preparing solutions for final acceptance testing. The integration of AI in process analysis and robotic development heralds a future where the time and cost associated with the delivery of process automation are dramatically reduced, paving the way for faster, more efficient, and cost-effective transformation.

3.  AI: Collating Data to Provide Insights that Matter

The other critical trend dominating the business landscape in 2024 is the profound impact of AI on data collation and analysis. AI algorithms are becoming increasingly sophisticated, enabling businesses to unlock valuable patterns and trends that were formerly hidden in a previously collected “data deluge.” Historically, organisations have large amounts of data but unlocking insight has been a challenge.  AI will be able to collate the vast amounts of available data, provide insightful dashboards and provide analysis identifying emerging opportunities and mitigating risk more effectively. 

This trend is ushering in a new era of data-driven decision making, empowering businesses to stay ahead of the curve in a rapidly changing environment. From customer preferences to market trends, systems equipped with advanced AI capabilities are providing actionable insights that enhance strategic planning and offer more informed decision making.

4.  Hybrid Work: An Employer’s Market 

As wars and higher interest rates have taken the heat out of the global economy, 2024 will see a significant shift in the dynamics of hybrid work as a solution is sought between flexibility and in-person collaboration. While 2022 and early 2023 were an employee’s market, in 2024, it’s arguably an employer’s market now.  Businesses are increasingly asking staff to return to the office – but a balance is being struck between flexibility and full-time office working – we are now firmly in the era of Hybrid Work.

The general feeling is that being present in the workplace fosters greater degrees of creativity, innovation and team cohesion.  We have seen younger employees crave the advantages of face-to-face interaction and mentorship opportunities in the office environment.  More experienced employees have enjoyed the flexibility of remote working and the freedom this has brought. 

The balance is hybrid work where employees spend 2-3 days in the office environment striking the balance between both of these worlds. Employers will want to invest in management systems to ensure that they are making the most of collaboration time when in the office.

5.  Senior Managers at the Helm

The role of the senior manager is going to undergo significant change as companies navigate the complexities of the modern workplace.

First, the presence of senior managers in the office has become indispensable.  The move to hybrid work means that senior managers must be visible in the workplace to shape the organisational culture and lead from the front.

Second, customer delivery will become more complex as simpler tasks are automated, resulting in a lower number of more specialist skills which are less transferable between individuals. New ways of training and upskilling employees will need to be developed as well as better systems to manage capacity.

Finally, AI will start to support them through delivering better insights, prompting as to next best action and helping them manage through this complex environment. (as well as supporting note taking at meetings, producing first draft presentations etc)     

Ray Bowe, CEO of Xcentuate concluded: “I’ve heard the emergence of AI described as the most profound industrial revolution in human history. We’ve yet to see if that becomes true but what we know for definite is that we are at the cusp of radical change in our professional and personal lives. What’s critical now for Ireland Inc is not only embracing that change but being at the forefront of it.”  

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