2020 signifies a new decade with new challenges and opportunities ahead. As technology continues to advance, certain tools help businesses grow and tackle challenges that once appeared as difficult. One of the most prominent technological advancements that continues to develop is Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is the ability of a computer program or a machine to think, learn and perform tasks that normally require human intelligence. To find out more, watch this video for a 101 second explanation of AI:
The reason Artificial Intelligence has so much prominence in the media is due to the astonishing possibilities it has to change the world. This includes autonomous vehicles, facial recognition, deep learning, and more. AI can remind you a little bit of sci-fi dystopias and Terminator scenarios. However, it’s important to know that the purpose of AI is simply to improve the lives of people and businesses. This is simply by automating tasks that would be laborious or impractical for humans to do. Many of the devices you use, such as your computer or mobile device, already implements AI into its functionality. If you use an app or site that makes recommendations tailored to your interests, that’s AI.
In the business world, AI is known for its profound potential to optimize business activities of all kinds. In fact, many businesses are already utilizing AI with 37% of organizations having implemented AI in some form – a 270% increase over the last four years (1). At Celayix, we’ve long known that the use of AI has enormous potential for software. Particularly for us, AI is incredibly valuable for workforce management and employee scheduling. Let’s take a look at the value AI provides for the scheduling process.
AI Produces Fair and Balanced Schedules Automatically
When you use scheduling software with AI functionality, you can automatically create fair and balanced schedules, every time. AI achieves this using historical data it’s collected through machine learning.
Machine learning is the concept of algorithms and statistical models used by computer systems to perform a specific task without using explicit instructions. Instead, it relies on patterns and inference. Machine learning algorithms build a mathematical model based on data in order to make predictions or decisions without being explicitly programmed to perform the task. In scheduling, for example, AI will learn from a scheduler’s behavior patterns, analyze them, and reach an evidence-based conclusion.
The important aspect here is the utilization of data. With scheduling software, AI functionality can analyze the historical data it’s been collecting since the start of implementation. Then, it uses this data to produce insights and efficiencies in the scheduling process.
As humans, we don’t have the ability to collate massive amounts of data and make accurate, efficient decisions. But machines do. The use of AI in the scheduling process can enhance the scheduling process by:
- improving the quality of decision making
- reduce the time needed to produce schedules
- ensure fair scheduling without having to pore through the data manually
Artificial Intelligence Thrives On Complexity
Every business has its own rules, and as a result every schedule has its own complexities and intricacies. When it comes to setting schedules, there is a multitude of different factors in play. Employee experience, seniority, availability, certification, and total number of hours are just a handful of them.
Unsurprisingly, every business wants to minimize overtime hours, while still ensuring the best employees are working. AI can take these factors in to account while, importantly, following business rules and applicable laws.
Business owners want scheduling efficiencies, but they also want to make sure they can trust their software. AI ensures that schedules follow all pre-determined business rules. AI will learn from your decision making and optimize the schedule based on historical data. For example, if an employee shows a record of working shifts relating to a particular client, it may mean they are very suitable for that client. AI can discern this trend and include this in the scheduling process by suggesting this employee for any shifts related to that client.
AI Eliminates Scheduling Bias
Scheduling bias can occur in an organisation when a manager has a certain idea about how schedules should be made or perhaps who should be working on certain shifts or locations. With the implementation of AI, predictive analytics can functionally eliminate scheduling bias. Predictive analytics is the practice of extracting information from existing data sets in order to determine patterns and predict future outcomes and trends (2). This is particularly valuable as it allows businesses to look ahead, anticipating and predicting behaviors and outcomes based on concrete data, rather than intuition. In this way, AI allows organizations to become proactive, rather than reactive.
Artificial intelligence has huge potential and it’s already impacting the world in ways we may not even notice. For businesses looking to streamline their workforce management processes, the fear of change should be avoided when looking to the future. Scheduling software that utilizes AI is a powerful workforce management tool in any environment.
Here at Celayix, we are the only workforce management solution that truly implements AI into the scheduling process. If you’d like to find out how we do this, our attentive support staff are always happy to answer any questions.