IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE THE HOLY GRAIL?
BY ROSE KELLY
There is much discussion in the market place about readiness for automation and exactly what Artificial Intelligence (AI) can and will bring to business. That’s not just the real estate market place but business generally. There is clearly a ‘race to market’ competition on for many endeavouring to get their products to release. In the meantime, it’s high time for business owners and leaders to get a picture of what they need and in so doing ask the right questions of their business.
As a small business you might rightly ask yourself if your business is going to engage in this new game, and if so – are you ready for it. There might be a temptation amongst some to think that automation will be the holy grail they have been searching for. A word of caution – Technology is not the answer to poor processes. Automation and use of technology can create certainty, consistency and efficiency. However, before embarking on that journey it would be wise to find ways to ensure that what you do is done at its optimum. Improvement before automation should be the goal right now. In readiness for automation you will need to streamline your processes, document them, test them and prove them first.
The initial iterations of AI were designed around piloting simple repetitive tasks. However more intuitive programming has been and is being developed, which now allows for more complex processes to be automated. Complex processes are increasingly able to be replicated digitally, imitating a human user. The range of functions that can be automated is constantly being extended and advanced. This opens up a realm of possibilities in a real estate business, in particular for repetitive tasks.
Return on investment in automation will not be maximised if the goal is inappropriate or not fit for purpose. If the goal is to use technology to redesign or improve the process rather than automate its current state, then you may be heading up the wrong tree and could potentially waste time and resources. Automation does not ask the question of why we are doing something. It is not a redesign process. In fact, it cannot always be expected to ask or know whether we even need to do the activity or process in the first place.
So, before you embark on any serious AI strategy (and you won’t have long if you want to remain competitive) you might begin with a goal to get your current operations at their optimum. Question what you do, map it out and consider all the possibilities and options. Counsel yourself that your “as is” position is not necessarily your most efficient or your most effective one. Ask yourself, your team and your customers what you need to do right now in terms of your processes. Observe and analyse them closely? Take the time to redesign what is necessary and put in place a process for continuous improvement.
The good news is that teams everywhere are welcoming these discussions. Your employees know that time for change is here and will not respect you if you fail to innovate and move forward. ‘Robot Ready’ is new industry jargon for streamlining what you do to bring in that level of automation that can really enhance what you deliver. Get your business ready – streamline service delivery, minimise clutter, eliminate re-work and create lean and agile processes.
What is on the horizon is automation and lots of it. Be ready.