Microsoft survey says people are ready for AI tools at workplace

Microsoft is seemingly preparing to introduce more artificial intelligence (AI) features into its toolkit. Results of a new survey suggest the majority of Western business leaders want to automate daily tasks.

The American technology corporation says it has surveyed 2,700 employees and 1,800 business decision-makers in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan recently. They were all asked, among other things, “can new technology like AI and low-code and no-code tools help solve their challenges and open up new opportunities.”

The answers were more than clear. “9 out of 10 people want simpler ways to automate daily tasks so they can focus on the work that matters,” Microsoft’s WorkLab, a site devoted to the future of work, said.

The survey showed that employees are hungry for better digital tools – 87% of them believe pursuing digital transformation is more important now than ever before. Even more respondents also said their teams would benefit from solutions that allowed them to automate tasks.

“As people look for better ways to be more collaborative in every aspect of their work, it comes as no surprise that they want to do away with repetitive tasks that disrupt time better spent engaging with others,” the report on the survey results says.

A good example is an average call at the typical contact center. “At many, many IT service desks or customer service centers, over 50% of their calls are related to password resets,” Maribel Lopez, founder and principal analyst at Lopez Research, says.

Automating those sorts of mundane interactions can substantially improve both the employee and customer experience.

“If you can find a way to allow agents to more easily help a customer, the customer is happier and you have greater employee retention,” Lopez says. “And that can save you hundreds and hundreds of dollars per employee.”

However, around 30% of surveyed employees cannot yet use AI-powered tools to delegate more tedious tasks. Of those who have access to automation, the vast majority (89%) feel more fulfilled because they can spend time more effectively.

Microsoft has recently been expanding its partnership with OpenAI, the owner of ChatGPT, an AI-based chatbot. The company doesn’t provide a specific dollar amount, but numerous reports have said it will be investing at least $10 billion.

OpenAI, founded by Tesla and Twitter boss Elon Musk and investor Sam Altman, made the ChatGPT chatbot available for free public testing on November 30. A chatbot is a software application designed to mimic human-like conversations based on user prompts.

The talk of the AI town is that Microsoft wants to incorporate OpenAI tools into Word, Outlook, Powerpoint, and other apps. To users, this will give them the ability to flesh out a document with stretches of automatically-generated text, all based on prompts.

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