Automated service and knowledge management powered by AI are set to transform business, but as Kevin Baker explains, this combination of technologies is not an automatic panacea.
Sorry to break this to you, but if you’re building knowledge and expect AI to do it for you, you’re going to be disappointed.
Yes, AI is incredibly exciting. If it achieves its potential, it will drastically alter the labour market by eliminating many of the transactional business tasks that currently require expensive human intervention.
Yes, knowledge management is becoming an indispensable business tool for sharing knowledge among customers and colleagues. Deployed correctly, knowledge makes everyone in the business “the smartest person in the room” and drastically reduces the costs of supporting customers while improving the service they receive.
AI has a long way to go before it becomes so clever and self-aware that it can operate independently of humans.
But populating and maintaining a knowledge base is a time consuming and skillful task. Writing knowledge articles requires a high level of communication skill while maintaining the accuracy of the knowledge is a full-time job.
Therefore, AI and knowledge management seem a match made in heaven. If AI can truly act as the ‘human’ element in the building and maintaining of knowledge, then there’s reason for businesses to get very excited.
However, AI has a long way to go before it becomes so clever and self-aware that it can operate independently of humans. It is possible that we will NEVER reach that point with the reality more grounded than the overhyped predictions.
I certainly believe AI will drastically reduce our reliance on humans for finding and delivering rudimentary information and transactional ‘fixes’. I also think AI will become smart enough to start learning the context of questions and deliver more accurate responses accordingly. It’s also likely that if AI, fed with the right predictive business data, will be able to pre-empt problems and request new support information which it can then relay to staff and customers.
Yet, I think that at least for the foreseeable future, AI will be heavily reliant on people to steer and adjust the direction it takes. Certainly, in the context of knowledge, AI will require analysts and programmers to give it the latest intelligence and tweak its reactions accordingly. Gathering and maintaining knowledge requires a tightly controlled set of processes, such as KCS (Knowledge Centered Service). Yes, a combination of AI and automation can deliver a process such as KCS, but the process itself has been built and will continue to be honed, by humans (How KCS is making organisations more intelligent).
The key to unlocking the potential of any technology is people. Clever, resourceful and dedicated people will install and support the technology that makes their business colleagues work more effectively.
We’ve produced a beginners guide to KCs which you can download here, which also offers plenty of tips and lessons for building knowledge management in the correct fashion.