The number of collaboration tools in the workplace means our jobs should be getting easier, right? Instead, employees are more overwhelmed and stressed out than ever, according to Alan Lepofsky, VP and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research. In his session entitled, “How Analytics and AI Enhanced Apps Help Us Become More Effective Employees,” Lepofsky said people are suffering from “too much information, coming from too many places and too many people, interrupting them with too many tasks.”

 

 

Today, the average enterprise leverages an average of 329 different apps and solutions! That’s a boon for choice, but it’s also creating a time sink into which employees spend nearly two hours each day just searching for information. “There’s a huge amount of cognitive overhead that comes from the amount of people we’re dealing with,” said Lepofsky. What we need, he believes, is “smarter software.” Fortunately, the era of personal analytics and AI-enhanced applications is here.

 

 

Today, too many people confuse AI with robotics, which leads them to immediately imagine a dystopian future a la The Terminator. Lepofsky doesn’t see AI that way. “It’s not us versus them,” he said. “It’s us and them.” He doesn’t think that AI that tries to mimic the human brain is the answer to information overload though. Instead, software should learn from our behaviors so it can help us become more effective employees. Data is the fuel for intelligent systems yet, while we measure everything in our personal lives today (think Fitbit), we haven't been doing that at work. That’s where analytics comes in.

 

 

“We’re getting to the point where we’re going to be able to interact with our software at work the same way we do with the things in our personal lives,” he said, citing image recognition, natural language processing and recommender engines as examples of the direction AI is heading in the workplace. “The more analytics you get about what you’re doing, the more the artificial intelligence can give you information, the more artificial intelligence feeds back to the analytics, the more you know what you’re doing," he said.

 

 

As Jive’s product team noted in Tuesday morning’s JiveWorld17 opening keynote, the future of work is already here. Lepofsky believes that software that delivers a contextual, personalized experience will free employees to do more meaningful work. “Companies like Jive are beginning to deliver this stuff, folks, so you’re in the right room,” he said.