Accenture calls for job overhaul as response to automation, AI

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COMPANIES must do their part to make the labor force more competitive in the age of automation and artificial intelligence (AI), professional services company Accenture said.

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Benedict C. Hernandez, who leads Accenture’s Intelligent Operations practice in the Philippines, told BusinessWorld in an e-mail interview on Wednesday that while jobs may be threatened by digital disruption, the need for human labor and intervention will not go obsolete.

“As businesses continue to look to and adopt new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Automation and Analytics to improve efficiency, productivity and address changing customer experiences, businesses must act now and commit to implement intelligent technologies, alongside human ingenuity to create greater value for the business while leveraging them to continuously elevate talent and capabilities of their employees,” he said.

Mr. Hernandez cited a study by Accenture, Future Workforce — Reworking the Revolution, which emphasizes the need to “reconfigure” jobs.

“[F]indings from the research show that, to succeed, companies will have to reimagine work, pivot their workforce to disruptive business models and scale up ‘new skilling’ for their employees,” he said.

This includes redefining the roles and job descriptions in a company, aligning these to the new business model as impacted by automation, AI and analytics, and enhancing human talent based on the identified needs.

In a media briefing in Taguig City on Tuesday, Mr. Hernandez said even with high-end technological tools and a data-driven backbone, an intelligent enterprise will still need innovative talent to improve its performance.

“You saw examples of analytics, and we do that for hundreds and hundreds of clients around the world. These are global data. We can’t do analytics if we don’t have thousands of analytics experts. So that’s really what we mean by innovative talent,” he said.

Accenture said 160,000 of its employees globally have been trained to be knowledgeable on new IT. In the Philippines, Accenture says 80% of its employees are “thriving in the digital age.”

The business process outsourcing (BPO) sector has been identified as one of the primary fields expected to take a hit from AI, which has alarmed the industry, which is a major employer. — Denise A. Valdez