Reimagining Work and Operations with Generative AI

Explores how generative AI capabilities in workflow automation, planning, and recommendations can transform operations if guided by institutional purpose and empowering people first.
Public Administration & Technology
June 28, 2022
4 mins
Ziv Navoth
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In Brief

  • Generative AI enables end-to-end workflow automation, personalized recommendations, and predictive planning - profoundly transforming operations.
  • Thoughtfully implemented, these capabilities can liberate staff from rote work to focus on creativity, relationships and judgment.
  • However, responsible adoption requires integrating AI as a collaborative tool while centering institutional mission over efficiency alone.
  • With prudent guidance, automation can reshape work into an arena for both human and artificial intelligence to partner in service of institutional purpose.

The Imperative for Intelligent Change

Behind the scenes, many financial operations remain mired in manual processes and fragmented systems that constrain productivity, accuracy and agility. Attempts to simply systematize workflows through rigid automation have faced resistance, as excessive structure tends to undermine human judgment and institutional knowledge stays siloed.

Meanwhile, spreadsheet-based analytics cannot handle the growing complexity of planning challenges like forecasting demand or optimizing allocations. And employees spend considerable time piecing together recommendations from scattered data and repositories.

This over-reliance on both intuition and brittle automation has left operations fragmented - unable to fully leverage the strengths of either people or technology.

In practice, many core capabilities are neither optimized for human insight nor automated efficiency. Workarounds prevail over workflow excellence. And frustrated employees have little time left to focus on building meaningful relationships and exercising creativity.

To transform operations, financial institutions now need approaches that intelligently integrate human teams with advanced AI - combining the nuanced expertise of people with the scale and consistency of technology.

Generative models provide new capabilities to collaborate with staff, unlocking productivity, agility and customer service quality through end-to-end automation, intelligent recommendations and predictive planning.

Introducing Generative AI

In contrast with rules-based software, generative AI refers to models capable of handling complex, unstructured tasks like language understanding and content creation through unsupervised, self-directed learning.

Rather than relying on predefined logic flows, generative algorithms dynamically model probabilities based on learning how the world operates from massive datasets. This allows flexible reasoning even in unfamiliar situations.

For example, while traditional software struggles to extract meaning from handwritten text, a generative model can dynamically decipher varied penmanship by studying millions of handwriting samples. The system learns heuristics for character recognition much like humans acquire reading comprehension - through experience.

When applied to operations, generative AI delivers three core capabilities with transformative potential if responsibly implemented:

  • Intelligent process automation that combines computer vision, natural language processing and robotic automation to fully digitize end-to-end workflows.
  • Contextual recommendations that assist human teams by synthesizing data, connecting knowledge and suggesting next best actions tailored to each situation.
  • Predictive planning that leverages simulations and prescriptive analytics to optimize forecasting, resource allocation and adaptation powered by institutional data.

Thoughtfully adopted, this new wave of augmentation and automation can profoundly improve efficiency, agility and expertise by reshaping work to empower both human and artificial intelligence collaborating in service of organizational goals.

But leaders must deliberately guide adoption to align with institutional mission and ethics - focusing technology on enhancing human potential rather than simply reducing costs. The machines are here to accelerate, but progress starts with purpose.

Intelligent Process Automation with Generative AI

The Imperative for Intelligent Change

Across banking and financial services, many operations remain mired in manual, repetitive workflows resulting in slow processing, human errors and frustrating experiences for both employees and clients.

Attempts to systematize operations through standardized software have faced resistance, as excessive structure tends to degrade human judgment while institutional knowledge stays siloed in policy manuals rather than embodied in practice.

This over-reliance on rigid digitization alongside human workarounds has resulted in fragmented, dissatisfying processes that fail to effectively leverage the capabilities of either people or technology.

To transform operations, institutions now need intelligent automation systems capable of handling unstructured data and dynamic workflows while seamlessly integrating human team collaboration and oversight.

Enter Generative AI

In contrast with rigidly programmed software, generative AI can fluidly perform semi-structured tasks by learning from experience and understanding situational context rather than just following predefined rules.
  • Powerful computer vision algorithms can now extract printed and handwritten text, signatures, and data from scanned documents and image-based files with high accuracy. This unlocks digitizing information trapped in paper and PDF forms.
  • Contextual reasoning allows generative AI to interpret and make decisions from extracted unstructured data based on institutional knowledge, compliance rules and past cases.
  • Natural language generation produces customized letters, legal documents and client communications personalized for each application based on extracted information.

Together, these capabilities enable the automation of entire workflows rather than just individual tasks. Handwritten loan applications get seamlessly processed from data extraction through background checks, risk analysis, approval and documentation.

However, thoughtfully integrating human teams via collaboration and oversight remains essential for responsible adoption.

Responsible Implementation

Automating complex tasks requires carefully designing systems that focus AI on tedious tasks while elevating human skills through collaboration:

  • User experience designers should partner with staff to map augmented workflows that play to the strengths of both people and technology.
  • AI systems should act as assistive copilots providing contextual recommendations and surfaced insights rather than fully replacing human roles.
  • Confidence scores transparently convey AI limitations, with uncertainty triggers requiring human review to maintain accountability.
  • Continuous feedback loops improve automation quality over time by incorporating user input.
  • Staff should be reskilled to oversee AI systems, handle exceptions, and focus on higher judgment duties.
With diligent integration that centers institutional mission and ethics, intelligent automation can enable new heights of operational efficiency, accuracy and customization while empowering employees in rewarding roles.

However, cultural change management remains imperative to ensure staff feel empowered by AI collaboration rather than threatened by it. The path forward begins with purpose.

Augmenting Workflows with AI

The Need for Augmentation

In many financial workflows, employees must synthesize information from multiple systems and knowledge sources to determine optimal next steps for each unique client or case. Staff juggle dozens of disjointed dashboards, repositories and spreadsheets to gather relevant data and best practices for their particular task. This constant shuffling consumes time and focus.

Institutions have attempted to systematize operations through standardized playbooks and decision trees. However, rigid one-size-fits-all approaches falter in handling complex exceptions and nuances.

Excessive structure causes staff to spend more energy working around rules rather than exercising judgment. Meanwhile, key institutional knowledge stays siloed rather than shared.

To enhance productivity and expertise, institutions need systems capable of helping employees curate knowledge and recommendations tailored to specific situations.

Enter AI Workflow Augmentation

In contrast to rigid automation, AI-powered workflow augmentation assists human teams with data synthesis, knowledge connection and recommendations adapted to each case.

  • Natural language interfaces allow retrieving relevant knowledge or requesting next actions conversationally. Employees can query the system on handling unfamiliar exceptions or cases.
  • The AI scans the specifics of each client history and searches repositories to provide personalized materials or recommend prudent next steps along with explanatory confidence scores.
  • Staff can collaborate with the AI advisor in real time to enrich their understanding of nuanced cases before making decisions. This amplification of expertise enhances human judgment rather than replacing it.
With continuous training, workflow AI advisors become trusted assistants - more knowledgeable, consistent and responsive than any individual expert could be.

Institutional knowledge gets organized, connected and delivered contextually through the system rather than staying siloed in policy manuals and isolated repositories.

Responsible Implementation

However, thoughtfully integrating augmentation involves:

  • Co-designing advisors to provide helpful recommendations without excessive rigidity or opacity.
  • Ensuring transparency via confidence scoring and explanation capabilities.
  • Establishing monitoring and oversight protocols to maintain human accountability.
  • Reskilling staff to collaborate with AI while focusing on judgment and relationships.

With care around governance and team integration, AI augmentation can free employees to focus on critical thinking, exception handling and building meaningful client connections.

Technology handles repetitive data synthesis while humans direct priorities and strategy. But cultural change management is vital to adoption success. The path forward begins with empowering people.

Predictive Planning with AI

The Imperative for Change

In many financial institutions, core planning workflows around forecasting, budgeting and resource allocation still rely heavily on intuition rather than advanced analytics. Attempts at data-driven optimization often fall short due to data quality issues, inadequate modeling capabilities and lack of adoption.

In practice, planning remains more reactive than predictive, with institutions adapting only after lagging indicators reflect suboptimal allocations. Reliance on legacy processes obscures systemic inefficiencies and inhibits proactive alignment to institutional strategy.

To achieve operational excellence, institutions need assistive analytics that combine predictive modeling, systems analysis and scenario mapping to enhance dynamic planning beyond human limitations.

Enter AI Planning Augmentation

In contrast to both intuition and rigid statistical modeling, generative AI advisors leverage predictive algorithms, simulations and prescriptive optimization to provide data-driven recommendations tailored to each planning scenario.

  • Sophisticated forecasting algorithms integrate historical data, economic indicators and context to predict future demand, conversions, capacity needs and other key variables with high confidence intervals.
  • AI then uses advanced optimization and rich scenario mapping to recommend resource allocations tailored to service quality and efficiency goals under various modeled futures.
  • Interactive visualizations allow planners to dynamically test strategies under different simulated scenarios. AI advisors respond conversationally when queried to explain recommendations.

This augmentation empowers human teams with enhanced foresight, while AI handles the computational complexity of systems analysis and optimization.

Responsible Implementation

However, integrating generative planning advisors requires:

  • Ensuring transparency via explanatory confidence scores for recommendations.
  • Establishing monitoring and oversight protocols to maintain human accountability.
  • Co-designing simulations focused on aligning resources with customer needs before cost optimization alone.
  • Continuously enhancing algorithms through user feedback.
With proper governance and collaboration, AI can unlock exponential improvements in forecast accuracy and institutional agility to adapt.

Technology expands analytical capabilities while people provide strategic oversight and focus on creative scenario planning. But cultural change management is vital to transform mindsets around data-driven planning. The path forward begins with leadership.

Realizing the Future of Empowered Work

Generative AI provides groundbreaking capabilities to collaborate with and augment human teams through intelligent process automation, contextual recommendations and predictive planning.

But technology alone is not enough. Realizing a future where work enables both human and artificial intelligence to partner in service of institutional purpose requires deliberative leadership and a focus on people first.

Centering Institutional Mission and Ethics

The capabilities unlocked by generative models are profound in scope and scale. But adoption must be thoughtfully guided by institutional mission and ethics before efficiency alone.

Work must be reimagined around empowering employees in meaningful roles that fully leverage their capabilities, rather than simply reducing headcount through automation. Leaders should proactively shape AI deployment to align with cultural values of transparency, accountability and human dignity while enhancing expertise, creativity and relationships.

Prioritizing Workforce Empowerment and Growth

Reskilling programs need to ensure staff are prepared to oversight AI systems, handle exceptions, and focus on judgment-intensive duties augmented by technology.

Cultural change management must help teams feel energized by the prospect of more rewarding work and new capabilities rather than threatened by disruption.

Compassionate transitions and continued investment in human capital demonstrate institutional commitment to enabling shared prosperity through responsible adoption.

Deliberately Designing Centered Systems

Technologists, domain experts and ethicists should collaborate to deliberately engineer generative systems that empower users and learn from feedback.

Responsible implementation will involve transparency, monitoring, participatory design processes and continuous impact assessment focused on distributing benefits equitably.

Work must be restructured to best leverage the respective strengths of humans and machines in service of institutional goals. This starts with leadership.

A new era of AI augmentation holds enormous promise to profoundly improve how work gets done through enhanced efficiency, customization and intelligence.

But thoughtfully guiding this transformation requires embracing technology as a collaborative tool to empower people rather than just a driver of displacement.

With prudent leadership centered on institutional purpose, generative AI can reimagine work as an empowering arena for both human and artificial intelligence to partner.

The machines are here to accelerate prosperity, connection and meaning. But progress starts with principle. And the window to lead wisely is now open.

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