Workday: Innovation and the Future of AI in Business
In the latest episode of the Tech Talks Daily Podcast, I had the opportunity to engage in a fascinating discussion with Clare Hickie, CTO for EMEA at Workday. Clare, with her extensive cloud technology experience and pivotal role in a company that serves over 10,000 customers, offers a unique perspective on the rapidly evolving world of AI and machine learning in the business sector.
Our conversation was particularly timely, coinciding with the release of a new Workday report. This report provides an in-depth look at the current state of AI investment and preparedness in the UK, offering valuable comparisons with global and European standards. Given Workday’s significant involvement with 40% of the FTSE 100, Clare’s insights are not just theoretical musings but are grounded in substantial real-world experience and data.
One of the most striking aspects of our discussion was the optimism surrounding AI and machine learning. Clare highlighted that a significant majority of business leaders, about 73%, believe these technologies will profoundly impact the global business landscape in the next three years.
Furthermore, 58% think these advancements will significantly amplify human potential.
However, this optimism is tempered by a concerning revelation from the report: preparation levels need to keep pace with investment ambitions. While nearly half of the respondents indicated that over 20% of their organization’s annual technology budget is invested in AI and ML, only 13% of UK organizations feel entirely prepared to adopt these technologies.
Clare and I also explored the issue of trust in AI, a critical factor in its adoption and integration into business processes. The report indicates that trust in AI is relatively low, with 46% of business leaders expressing concerns about the trustworthiness of AI and ML. This is a crucial area that needs addressing if AI is to realize its full potential in the business world.
During our conversation, Clare shared her insights on how AI and ML are expected to transform essential business functions. She emphasized the strategic role of AI in augmenting human capabilities, particularly in areas like financial reporting, HR tasks, and IT risk reduction. The importance of data quality in training reliable AI models was another significant point of discussion. Clare pointed out that Workday ensures high-quality data through a uniform structure across its customer base, essential for generating responsible and reliable insights.
An exciting segment of our discussion focused on the UK’s position in AI adoption globally and in Europe. Clare noted that the UK is ahead in terms of openness to AI and data accessibility compared to other regions. However, she also mentioned that regulations will continue to play a vital role in shaping responsible innovation in this field.
As we looked ahead, Clare shared her predictions for the next decade of AI. While acknowledging the challenges in making accurate forecasts, she expressed confidence that AI would continue significantly boosting productivity and engagement, empowering us to become better versions of ourselves. Workday’s commitment to developing impactful, responsible AI was a testament to this belief.