How do you spot the talented AI power user within your own business, who can kick-start your automation journey?
If you thought it was tough to recruit software developers, trying to find top AI talent is tougher. If I was a careers officer (are these still a thing?), I would be encouraging young people to learn as much about intelligent automation, AI and machine learning as possible. If incentive is required, I read that "advanced analytics professionals often command compensation in excess of $1m". Furthermore, building a team around your top AI pro could be even tougher!
It makes sense to look inwardly at the talent you already have in your organisation. Perhaps there's an AI natural in your midst, right under your nose, waiting to be given the chance to flex their passion for automation for your company.
The surefire way to spot an AI natural is to have an already fertile working environment. This is how you spot any extraordinary talent, simply because you've created a great place to work where people have the relative freedom to express themselves creatively. The irony of this situation is that RPA is a surefire way to create such an environment, so you may need to work harder to spot the hidden talent.
Let's look at some of the ingredients that make up the automation power user, so that you can recognise them when you see them.
Spotting the automation power user
They think tech-first. While everyone else is busy having meetings about meetings, the AI power user candidate is thinking about how to make working life smoother and more productive. They are inclined to embrace technology and its potential. They don't fear change. They are often innovative, even if some of their ideas seem outlandish. Their water cooler conversations are about Aito and UiPath. They ought to be encouraged to continue thinking about how technology can alter your workplace.
They often prefer to work autonomously. While we love to applaud team players, some of the most creative individuals in your organisation prefer to work and think alone. An introvert is a valuable asset and shouldn't be coerced (too often) into having to socialise or brainstorm as part of a large group. Give them the freedom to observe the processes around them because they may well be thinking about automated solutions.
They observe and absorb the details. A potential automation power user has an eye for detail. This is usually because it matters. When you're working with complicated scenarios and processes, it takes a degree of patience and perseverance to master the details, and it's usually easier when you can see the bigger picture. When the mundane or repetitive processes are identified across the whole business, the power user will have a plan of how to implement automation so that it makes a widespread impact.
They value people skills. Many hard-nosed business types probably think automation means slashing the workforce. It's an opportunity to become a lean business that doesn't pay too many salaries. However, a truly automated organisation is a business looking to grow, and the AI power user is someone who can spot other talent when they see it. Being able to see how colleagues get bogged down by unnecessary tasks is a gift. If they can see how people can make better use of their time on other things, the power user will suggest ways to free them from a boring work life!
They share their knowledge. What's the point in being an AI expert when you can't spread the knowledge and make everyone see how automation can help? The whole point of being a fully automated enterprise is being able to do it as a business. Effective use of intelligent automation is a collective effort, and it's an ongoing journey. When everyone can see the benefits of automation, you're working together to grow the company.
They keep digging. A true AI power user will want to constantly refine processes. There's always something to do better – always a desire to improve. If they created an RPA for a simple task, they may feel rewarded for a short while. However, they become restless about how to take things further, not just making the RPA smoother, but using machine learning to expand its capabilities. Digging deeper into each process can unlock the power of cognitive processes that enhance what your business can ultimately achieve.
Now that you've read this short article, drop what you're doing and think about each and every person you employ. There may be a perfect AI power user within your ranks. You just don't know it yet.