Following up on part 1, part 2, and part 3, McKinsey’s Jump-starting resilient and reimagined operations discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the future of work. We are already seeing radical changes in how people work, especially with remote collaboration and other digital tools. But work is also going to change in more fundamental ways – as the authors note, companies will need to reskill their workforce to move from manual, repetitive tasks to human-only capabilities.
But this implies the successful automation of many tasks currently performed by humans. In particular it means replacing manual approvals with automated ones. It means changing from a focus on escalating transactions to more senior staff to make decisions with formal, automated definitions of when things can be approved. It means taking large, lumpy human tasks and identifying the specific pieces of that decision-making that require human judgment while automating the rest. It means figuring out how to combine machine learning, predictive analytics, AI, regulatory rules and human judgment into a single, coherent whole.
Our experience is that this means modeling decisions. It means working directly with those who know how to make a decision to model it. Identifying in that model the pieces driven by regulation and policy so they can be automated with business rules. Finding the places where data-driven insight is key, so that predictive analytics and machine learning can be applied. Asking business leaders to think how they would like to make the decision in the future, so that AI can be applied to answer those questions too. And recognizing that some parts of the decision – some sub-decisions – still require human input. Only with a coherent decision model can you really see how all these pieces fit together, automate it appropriately and move forward into the future of work.
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