How Long Will It Take for ‘Virtual Advisors’ to Arrive in the Workplace?

While many companies already have digital chatbots, robo-advisors, and other digital automation, the bulk of workplaces are still fully run by human brains. While some professions — like a butcher or hair stylist — may remain this way for some time, most companies with more than a few employees will soon be embracing automation.

The question is now “if” but “when?”

Dimension Data recently asked a cross-industry group of 800 respondents across 15 countries and seven industries how long they think it will be before virtual advisors arrive in their office.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) believe some form of virtual advisors will have a place — a “practical use case” — in their companies within the next two years.

One in five people (21%) believe these advisors will have a practical case at their organization in the next 12 months while 18% said that a case for such technology already exists in their workplace today.

Interestingly, about one-fifth (21%) of people say that they believe there will never be a practical reason for virtual advisors to be introduced to their office.

“Artificial intelligence technology is still in its infancy,” stated Dimension Data in the study. “But it is sufficiently advanced to be working its way into companies in the form of virtual assistants and, in certain industries such as banking, virtual tellers and virtual advisors. Manifested as bots embedded into specific applications, virtual assistants. draw on AI engines and machine learning technology to respond to basic queries.”

Such results show that companies have some time — but not too much time — to start making adjustments, both in terms of beginning to strategize for the technological chances and when it comes to transforming the culture.

“Clearly, businesses will have to address employee concerns that such technologies might present a threat and ensure that education is in place to make sure they understand that AI will support them in their various roles,” said the report. It added that, “a successful digital workplace journey starts with a comprehensive strategy that a company’s leadership team has carefully defined. Along the way, new technology is implemented, office spaces are redesigned, and new working practices introduced.”

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