Andrew Martin July 31, 2023

Generative AI – Improving Your Productivity

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Last November, the launch of ChatGPT sent shockwaves around the world. Business leaders in a wide range of industries were presented with new capabilities and possibilities that weren’t even imaginable a year ago. While generative AI tools are still in their infancy, they’ve already begun impacting the way businesses operate. From automating tasks to streamlining workflows to enhancing client experiences, generative AI is providing businesses with a powerful tool to increase productivity and elevate their success.

According to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, generative AI tools have the ability to boost workforce productivity by 14% on average. It’s estimated that global productivity could increase by approximately 7% per year over the next decade due to AI tools. In addition, McKinsey predicts that generative AI could generate as much as $4.4 trillion in output each year.

As AI capabilities improve over the next few years and we discover new ways to leverage these tools, it’s possible that the impact will be far greater than anticipated. While these capabilities are as scary as they are exciting, embracing generative AI is critical for any business that wants to remain competitive and thrive over the next few years.

What Is Generative AI?

generative ai tools to improve business productivityGenerative AI is a type of artificial intelligence that uses machine learning capabilities to create a variety of types of original content in a manner that is similar to what is produced by humans. The content is created by deep learning algorithms modeled after the human brain in order to understand and reproduce the patterns found in existing data. Content types replicated by generative AI include text, audio, images, code and music.

While traditional machine learning simply predicts the outcome of data based on existing patterns, generative AI takes this a step further by identifying the underlying structures and patterns in the data. It then uses this information to autonomously generate new content based on these patterns. In other words, the primary difference between traditional machine learning and generative AI relates to scale – machine learning has the ability to predict the next word, while generative AI can create entire paragraphs.

Ways to Leverage Generative AI Tools with Your Business

One of the primary benefits of using generative AI tools with your business is that it has the ability to automate a variety of tasks, freeing up your team to focus their energy on higher level tasks that are more creative and complex. Generative AI has a wide range of business applications that will significantly boost your productivity.

Administrative Tasks

Administrative tasks can be quite time consuming. As a result, your employees can easily get bogged down dealing with the minutiae of these tasks, taking their attention away from more important items that are critical to the success of your business. You can leverage AI to handle many of these administrative tasks for you, including:

  • Managing routine emails
  • Scheduling meetings
  • Organizing your calendar

Data Analysis

Generative AI can be used to interpret complex sets of data. It can help you identify trends in the data and even predict future outcomes based on your historical data. However, there are certain limitations associated with generative AI data interpretation capabilities. It typically has a difficult time interpreting data that is ambiguous or poor quality. In addition, the current iterations of generative AI tools can’t explain the causality behind the data patterns it identifies.

Project Planning and Management

ai applications to improve your businessGenerative AI tools can improve the productivity and efficiency of your project managers. You can tell these tools what needs to be completed for your current project and it will create an action plan that details all the steps you need to take during the life cycle of the project.

While generative AI tools can effectively automate the planning and management of your projects, there are limitations regarding its ability to adapt to unexpected situations or challenges that arise mid project. In these cases, your team will need to make the necessary adjustments to the plan on their own to account for any changes in timeline and/or workflow.

Content Creation

Generative AI can assist with many aspects of your content creation. It can be used to:

  • Provide the outline and structure for a piece of content or research report
  • Suggest content topics
  • Create initial drafts of large content pieces
  • Personalize product descriptions
  • Write ad copy
  • Assist videographers with building, editing and enhancing images and videos
  • Translate content into different languages

Keep in mind that while generative AI can write an initial draft of your content or create a first draft of a report, these items will still need to be revised by humans to ensure they communicate information in a clear, nuanced way or present a compelling argument that supports your findings.

Research

Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT are increasingly being used as research tools. This is often proving to be a faster way to gather and summarize the information you need.

However, there is an important caveat to keep in mind when using AI for research – you’ll need to double check the information you receive with reputable, authoritative sources to verify the accuracy. One of the most widely documented limitations of the initial iterations of generative AI tools involves their ability to provide factually accurate information. You generally won’t be able to see where these AI tools get their information from, and the facts have been wrong on numerous occasions.

Software Development

ai code to improve the productivity of developersWeb developers and software engineers are experiencing significant improvements in productivity by leveraging generative AI tools to assist them in creating, editing and testing code. In fact, 88% of software coders have reported an increase in productivity from using generative AI tools.

Business Operations

You can use generative AI to assist with a variety of tasks essential to your business operations, including:

  • Pricing decisions
  • Supply chain management
  • Personalizing products and services to better address the needs of individual customers
  • Automating marketing efforts such as social media campaigns, email marketing campaigns and customer journey maps
  • Creating detailed buyer personas for your target audience

Refine Your Prompts for More Effective Generative AI Results

To get the most out of generative AI tools and leverage their capabilities for maximum benefit to your business, you’ll need to know how to craft prompts that guide the response you get from these tools. Ultimately, this will create an entire new field of professionals dedicated to generating the right prompts to optimize your AI performance. That being said, it’s still important for all team members using AI tools to understand the best practices for creating these prompts.

The following tips will help your team get this important part of the AI process right:

  • Be as clear as possible – The best prompts clearly define what you want the tool to generate, the format you want your response in, and how it will be used. This level of specificity and clarity ensures the response will focus on the exact items and formats that are most important for your specific use.
  • Define your audience – Describe your target audience as specifically as possible to ensure the AI tool tailors its response to the needs of the people you’re trying to reach.
  • Refine your prompts several times – Often, your first prompt may not hit the mark. You can refine the response to more effectively address your needs by entering a follow-up prompt that provides additional context information. You may find that you need to do this multiple times to get the results you need.
  • Break down prompts for complex content into several tasks – If you’re asking an AI tool to generate long form content for you, break down your prompt into a few different requests, and have each request focus on a different section of the content. This will make it much easier to refine the response you receive with follow-up prompts focused on the specific sections of the content that need to be revised.
  • Approach your prompts with a collaborative spirit – If you ask a generative AI tool to collaborate with you on a task, you’ll most likely find that you achieve superior outcomes than if you simply tell it to complete the task for you. Asking it to collaborate will encourage the AI tool to ask for clarification if it’s unsure of what you need instead of simply guessing what you want and giving you something that may miss the mark. This approach will foster a conversation between you and the AI tool that results in a greater ability to refine your results and get what you need.

Start Leveraging Generative AI to Boost Your Productivity

Businesses that become early adopters of generative AI technology will have a significant competitive advantage in the next few years. The sooner you get your team aligned on this goal, the sooner you’ll reap the productivity benefits. The following tips will help you get started using generative AI with your business.

Make Adopting Generative AI Technology a Formal Part of Your Business Plan

implementing ai tools with your businessAnytime a technology this revolutionary is introduced, you’re going to experience a wide variance in acceptance in the early stages. This is exactly what we’re seeing with generative AI. Some people are wildly excited about AI technology and its capabilities to make their jobs and lives easier. Other people are genuinely freaked out about this new technology which they don’t entirely understand.

It’s likely that you have a mix of both groups on your team. Unless you formally express that employees are expected to integrate generative AI tools in their daily workflow when appropriate, many people simply won’t do it. This will result in them falling behind as this technology continues advancing at a rapid pace.

You’ll most likely find that by formally including AI tools in your business plan, your entire team will buy in much faster. Once people discover that a tool actually helps them get their job done more efficiently and easily, they’ll look for ways to incorporate it into their daily workflow as much as possible to maximize these benefits.

Keep in mind that simply telling your team that they need to start using generative AI tools won’t deliver your intended outcome. You need to carefully evaluate these tools to determine where, how and when you want to implement them as part of your operations.

Maintain a Human Presence in the Process

While generative AI has shown an impressive ability to automate many operational tasks carried out at your business, it doesn’t mean you should adopt it without proper supervision. You will always need to have a human monitor the output of the AI tools you use to ensure it aligns with your quality standards.

Always have AI work reviewed by an employee on your team to ensure all information is accurate and on brand. There are limitations to what generative AI technology can do and understand, and you’ll need human supervision to spot potential problems and correct them as they develop.

Provide Your Team with Support as They Adopt and Adapt

As you implement AI technology in your business, it’s important to communicate with your team and let them know what is expected of them regarding the usage of these tools. Make sure they are clear on the tasks that can be offloaded to generative AI and which tasks they must continue to own. Most importantly, provide any necessary support and training to ensure a successful adoption of this technology across your company.

Get Your Leadership Team on Board First

improving business productivity with generative AIIn order to effectively implement the adoption of generative AI throughout your business, your leadership team must be on board with this new direction. The more your leadership team can champion its use and support the rest of your employees, the more smoothly this process will go.

This doesn’t mean your entire executive team must become experts in AI technology. However, they should be expected to jump in, learn about the technology and understand the ways in which it can be used to benefit your business. This will help them guide the rest of your team and create a “we’re all in it together” mentality as challenges inevitably arise during the early stages of adoption.

Stay Current on the Latest Developments

We’re just scratching the surface of what can be done by generative AI. These tools are evolving at an extremely rapid pace, and the capabilities you can leverage a year or two from now may not even be something envisioned at the moment. Therefore, it’s critical to continue learning about the latest AI trends as they develop.

If you simply jump in now and neglect your ongoing learning, you’ll soon find that your team lacks the skills to leverage these tools for maximum benefit. If you want to continue to improve your productivity and remain a leader in your industry, it will require adopting a learning mindset that ensures you remain ahead of your competitors as these tools continue to evolve.

If you’re looking to implement generative AI technology with your business, Webolutions can help you navigate the process. Contact us today to get started using this important technology.

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