For Karl Redenbach, the introduction of workplace artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots have been among the most significant developments in the digital workplace market over the past year.

"It has given rise to what we’re calling the ‘intelligent transformation,’" he said. "Businesses are looking at AI more seriously as a way to heighten their existing technology investment and ultimately transition from a digital to an intelligent workplace."

Redenbach is CEO of LiveTiles, a digital workplace software startup, which he co-founded in 2014. He fully expects AI to become part of the workplace. LiveTiles is working with customers to develop highly personalized AI solutions that “will help them realize the productivity promises that people read about.”

Understand User Interactions

As well as AI and chatbots, Redenbach highlights two other important areas of recent and ongoing digital workplace development: analytics and integration.

"Understanding how users interact with their digital environment is critical to give intranet managers or any business user the information they need to ensure their digital environment is responding to user behavior and growing with the business," he said.

As the digital workplace become "even more the center of a company’s technology investment," integration plays an ever-increasingly critical role. "The ability for the digital or intelligent workplace to integrate with AI, resources, analytics features and almost any third-party business application is always expanding," Redenbach said.

LiveTiles is a sponsor of CMSWire and Digital Workplace Group’s Digital Workplace Experience taking place June 18 to 20 at the Radisson Blu Aqua hotel in Chicago. Redenbach’s colleague George Muir, futurist at LiveTiles, will present a session on June 19.

We spoke with Redenbach about the promise of technologies like AI and augmented reality (AR), the emergence of the personalized intelligent workplace and the changing nature of work.

‘Users Need to Feel Involved’

CMSWire: How should organizations start thinking about and preparing for the emergence of the personalized intelligent workplace? What likely benefits (and drawbacks) can they expect for their organization and for individual employees?

Redenbach: We’ve noticed that businesses are moving on from thinking, researching and understanding the use cases for AI to action and deployment. They’re ready to adopt AI, and LiveTiles Bots is proving to be a really simple way for enterprises to utilize this technology.

We talk about CoBots and we envisage that highly personalized AI will work alongside individuals or areas of the business to elevate the work they do. With AI and chatbots handling the more mundane and data-driven tasks, the productivity benefits can be enormous. AI can significantly heighten an existing digital workplace and complete the intelligent transformation. AI can be deployed within existing environments and become a really powerful tool that releases the talents of people, allowing them to work to their full potential.

The AI projects that we’re working on aren’t about replacing people but working alongside them. This can be as simple as the AI assistant answering the same HR question HR staff get hundreds of times a year — “How many vacation days do I have left?” 

CMSWire: What, in your opinion, is the promise of emerging technologies like AI and augmented reality? What can we expect to see in the next iterations of technologies such as chatbots?

Redenbach: The promise is greater productivity and more personal time. That’s always been the promise of technology. As a workforce, we’ve arguably never been busier despite advancements in technology that have promised to help us leave the office closer to 5 p.m. We’re cramming more into our days, our inboxes are full and most of us don’t have real human assistants to manage our calendars.

I do believe there is huge potential for AI and AR to live up to this promise. It will certainly change the landscape and impact certain jobs enormously — some for better or worse.

This isn’t about pitting man versus machine, but integrating effective and intelligent software that can eliminate mundane tasks that erode productivity, engagement, performance, and eat away time that could be spent on revenue-raising tasks. Individual assistants can be the ultimate companion, increasing productivity, reducing errors, and allowing their human to work at a higher level by automating time-consuming work.

CMSWire: How do you anticipate the nature of work changing in the future and what does it means to be an employee of one or more organizations?

Redenbach: A year ago, we recruited a futurist to join our team at LiveTiles. George Muir was with IKEA for over 27 years and is predicting some significant changes to how we work. How enterprises respond to advancements in technology and a constantly connected world will be critical.

He is predicting the rise of a new type of workforce, and a shift from people craving a ‘work/life’ balance to a ‘work/life’ blend — a life balance. This changes how workers think about their passion (the heart), their experiences (the head) and their value (the pocket). One of the main drivers is the maturity of the digitization of business, which includes working with robots and augmented artificial intelligence.

George says constant connectivity and the automation of some tasks will give employees the upper hand, creating a demand for specific skills and talents. With more time, there will be greater flexibility for employees to choose how they work and who they work for — the “Uberization of Work.”

CMSWire: When looking at the future of work, what advice would you give to organizations to ensure they’re well positioned for the changes and uncertainties to come?

Learning Opportunities

Redenbach: To maintain growth, retain talent and meet demand, successful enterprises will need to address how they will create an environment where staff are engaged with a multitude of activities with the flexibility that will fit their coworker’s mindset and also their life stages.

George’s view is that AI technology will put the greatest benefits in the hands of the coworkers. Augmented Artificial Intelligence, in the form of personal assistants, will enable the coworker to work more effectively and efficiently. The personal assistants, tuned by the coworker with repetitive and/or complex tasks, will increase productivity. Augmented Artificial Intelligence, in the form of team assistants, will enable teams of coworkers to work more effectively and efficiently.

AI technology will significantly boost productivity, help with staff retention, and release the talents of your people.

CMSWire: How does a company know when it has a successful digital workplace? What kind of metrics should organizations take and then regularly monitor to gain insight into the success or failure of their digital workplace?

Redenbach: User engagement is central to the success of a digital workplace. What companies must understand is it’s not just a matter of building something users engage with at the start and just leaving it. Businesses change, and so do the tools staff interact with. 

The digital workplace must adapt accordingly and react to the changing usage patterns of staff so it grows with the business. That is our idea of what a successful digital workplace looks like.

CMSWire: What tips and tricks do you have for organizations that are having trouble in getting their employees to be engaged and active users of their intranets and enterprise social networks?

Redenbach: I don’t believe there’s any tricks to this, but the answer is collaboration. We see it all the time, a company embarks on an 18-month project that results in something employees wanted but didn’t necessarily ask for.

Users need to feel involved, and not simply given something they’re meant to just make a big part of their work day.

By taking away much of the technical aspects of building a bespoke digital environment, we [LiveTiles] can change the conversation. This often means that IT is working with business areas to discuss color schemes and features rather than widgets or code. Integrating the features users rely on every day is critical, and this includes social media channels. It’s not just about integrating them, but deciding where will they be most utilized.

In our experience, this collaboration leads to stronger user engagement. It’s the Ikea Effect: where consumers place a disproportionately high value on products they partially created.

CMSWire: Which TV show would you recommend binge watching and why?

Redenbach: I don’t watch much TV at all, but I have seen a bit of Silicon Valley recently. In a very funny way, it captures the trials and tribulations of a fast-growing tech startup, from funding rounds to office space.

Learn more about the Digital Workplace Experience here.