Why intelligent apps will transform the workplace

Ask anyone and they’ll tell you: the workplace is dramatically different today than it was 20 years ago. And there’s no question it will continue to change over the next 20 years.

The changes we’ve seen so far are most evident in how we communicate with each other. In the 1990s, we were just starting to get used to the idea of email and mobile phones. We relied on landlines to make calls and most employees had face-to-face conversations for the majority of their communications. Now, we have smartphones, messaging platforms, and various other technologies to help us collaborate and get work done more effectively.

It’s hard to imagine how we’ll work in 20 years, but over the next few years, we can be sure that technologies like analytics and artificial intelligence will play a role in bringing more intelligent apps into the workplace.  

Making workplace apps smarter

Gartner predicts that by 2018, the world’s largest 200 companies will “exploit intelligent apps” and use big data and analytics tools to refine their business processes and improve customer experience. According to Gartner, as companies deploy intelligent apps, they will focus on three key areas: 1) advanced analytics, 2) AI-powered business processes, and 3) AI-powered immersive, conversational and continuous interfaces. Intelligent apps, which include (but are certainly not limited to) technologies like virtual personal assistants (VPAs), have the potential to transform the workplace by making everyday tasks, like prioritizing emails, easier—making employees more effective via personalized content and updates.

While VPAs can help employees perform better at work, intelligent apps can do much more than prioritize emails. In our personal lives, intelligent apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are already anticipating what content we’ll want to see and customising our news feeds accordingly.

Exploiting intelligent apps at work

So how can companies use these intelligent apps to enable better business outcomes? Email is not going away anytime soon – or perhaps ever – but the apps workers use should be able to improve email far more than just helping sort emails into folders. Think about the value of an app that monitors employees’ emails and alerts them to ones that require an immediate response. Now imagine that on a broader scale. Work apps should tap into all of the systems employees use and deliver personalised and relevant content that they actually need to do their jobs.

Enterprises have the power to implement this in the workplace through advanced analytics and AI-powered business processes, as Gartner mentions, but few companies are actually doing it. Why? Because many think it will be a herculean effort to rip and replace existing systems in favour of something new. But that’s not true! Intelligent apps can be built on top of the systems already in place.

Micro apps are intelligent apps

Micro apps are an example of intelligent apps that are built on top of existing systems. They are small, single purpose apps that enable us to get things done quickly. An example micro app we have all seen is delivered through Google. A search for “weather” delivers a micro app (delivered through a card in a web browser) that provides your current location’s weather with a sliding scale to check temperature over time.

Now, micro apps designed for the workplace can do the same thing by delivering relevant results and suggestions based on users’ unique preferences. Just like the Google weather micro app sits on top of Google data to deliver people relevant forecast information, workplace micro apps sit on top of legacy and modern systems and deliver the relevant information and tasks employees need, when they need it. Micro apps have the potential not only to access all of a system’s data, but also to determine what needs immediate attention.

To truly see the change Gartner predicts by 2018, businesses need to leverage intelligent apps beyond simple VPAs. They can do this by building intelligent apps, such as micro apps, that connect to all of their enterprise systems, both legacy and modern, to make these systems more useful and accessible to employees. When done right, intelligent apps will make work more efficient, enable faster business decisions, and drive better business outcomes.‚Äč


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