There’s no doubt artificial intelligence is transforming the very concept of work and, when combined with effective collaboration, the possibilities are endless. In this six-part blog series, I use my nearly 20 years of industry expertise to dive into these possibilities, imagining a world where AI meets collaboration—and work is never quite the same.

When Artificial Intelligence (AI) Meets Collaboration: External Intelligence 

Artificial intelligence continues to be integrated further into our everyday lives, but to be effective in the business world it must be combined with collaboration and leveraged in the right ways. Once that happens, companies will have achieved “intelligence everywhere,” which is exactly what it sounds like: all aspects of business operations optimized with intelligence.

In October 2010, I wrote a blog post about how my smartphone, when paired with the ubiquitous bandwidth of 4G LTE, gave me the ability to access a universe of knowledge any time, anywhere. Today, artificial intelligence is the life-changing technology that’s transforming our access to new information and insights, whether it’s Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant.

This blog series has investigated how artificial intelligence can accelerate pre-work before a project starts, simplify team selection and make meetings more productive. Now, I’ll examine how to integrate AI with collaboration in the right places – beyond just meetings – to achieve the future state of collaboration all forward-thinking businesses strive for. Start by considering where meaningful work occurs.

Collaboration Environment

When you think of all the projects and conversations occurring within your company’s collaboration environment, artificial intelligence’s ability to draw connections between everything occurring across the organization is key. From identifying available resources to discovering what relevant work has already been done by others, artificial intelligence can help businesses achieve true context-aware collaboration.

Email Servers

As the catchall for most text-based communications, email servers are an ideal place for AI. Just as Google offers you response options in your Gmail, AI-integrated email connects you to the collaboration environment to make sure all communications are unified and centrally located. Since calendars are often kept in the same application as email, AI assistance can also set up meetings or make sure team members don’t accidentally get left off useful emails.

Employee Computers

Having AI on your computer is a useful way to ensure files that support projects – often stored in sub-folders like Russian nesting dolls – don’t get buried forever. After all, there is an important place in the project world for works-in-progress and old versions of great ideas. When there’s AI in place to identify what you may have forgotten or can’t find, all available data is kept at your fingers to use and share.

Employee Phones

Desk phones are another excellent place for AI. We’re all accustomed to having our calls recorded when we contact support, but AI can take that one step further by capturing and transcribing conversations for indexing. This ensures everything discussed about a project is available for easy review, including by those outside your project team.

Conference Rooms

In a video or audio conference, most things are captured as quick bullets and action items. For companies with the resources to purchase smart boards or other types of wall-scanning devices, AI can automatically capture this content. Other companies will have to resort to taking photos of the screens with their phones and uploading it to the collaboration environment. In these environments, treating the AI like a team member and dialing it in to the meeting ensures all dialogue is captured, there’s context around the drawings on the board and nothing slips through the cracks.

Work Management Applications

Arguably, most work is done in a work management application, such as JIRA or Workzone. When AI is present in these apps, it can track the progress of work and bridge any gaps created by disparate tools and apps. For example, comments, concerns and statuses made in the work management app would also present in the collaboration space, adding valuable context. As you begin to understand the connections between groups and how one workflow influences or initiates another, these applications are gold mines for providing insight into the flow of work in an organization.

I can imagine AI providing visibility to the various statuses of work in the collaboration environment. Comments made in the tool would also present in the collaboration space and vice versa. Basically the AI would have awareness of work progress and bridge any gaps created by the disparate tools.

Everywhere You Want It

Ultimately, you control the reach of AI-assisted team collaboration in your organization. Adopting a “do what makes sense” strategy will ensure your AI integrations work for your unique culture and operations. When leveraged in the right places, the “intelligence everywhere” concept ensures your best chance of achieving optimal workflows and delivering the productivity promise team collaboration solutions have been making for decades.

Be Sure To Read These Other Installments In The "When Artificial Intelligence Meets Collaboration" Series.

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Uncovering Tribal Knowledge
Part 3: Team Selection
Part 4: Collaboration Assist
Part 6: External Intelligence

Ryan Smith

Content Strategist

Known as "The Voice of Mitel," Ryan is a technology evangelist with a unique mix of software development expertise, marketing strategy leadership and professional multimedia development. A lifelong learner, Ryan's passion for storytelling drives his proven ability to simplify complex concepts for audiences around the world.  

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