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Working Smarter with AI.

How to quickly start seeing the benefits from utilising AI.

John Heaton-Armstrong

March 04, 2024

We spoke to Thredd's Group Chief Information Security Officer, John Heaton Armstrong about how businesses (and individuals) can use AI to work smarter, here's what he had to tell us.

How can businesses use AI to increase productivity?

  • There’s no short answer to this, but the quick gains will mostly come from leveraging the AI capabilities that existing tools are introducing.
  • Low value tasks should be the quick areas of focus - they tend to be the most repeatable, so automating them scales very well based on marginal gains.
  • All businesses rely on information sharing - making users more independent by introducing capabilities which give intelligent answers to human questions will both improve speed to value, but also serve as a critical education point for any workforce.


Which areas of business are most ripe for efficiency gains through introducing AI?

  • Marketing and communication - drafting copy, research, and visual content creation are all time consuming when done manually. There’s a range of capabilities which can speed up these activities and give very rich rewards to those involved.
  • Reporting - drafting reports for different audiences is a value destruction exercise. Making those audiences able to access live information independently effectively kills the need for this to be a manual effort.
  • Project Management - the intelligence and forecasting abilities which AI bring to this domain will give much greater efficiency, but also effectiveness.
  • Legal / Compliance - document reviews, due diligence and KYC are all activities where AI has huge potential.


Which tasks do you think will be automated in the next 3 years?

The development I'm most looking forward to in the next 3 years is where AI starts to act on behalf of users, and becomes more interactive in so doing. Currently it’s very good at returning information, but what about interacting with a third party on a user’s behalf? A good example of this is for booking travel which is currently so tedious and manual, but could be done very quickly and easily.

I think day to day planning is an area all can benefit from. We live increasingly complex lives, but leveraging AI to make things easier can pay dividends. I would love to have a daily planner which can act as an interactive assistant, and ensure that I address all of the activities and expectations in my life. As the saying goes, what gets measured, gets done.


Which tools are you most excited about today?

  • I’m very excited to see Slack AI in the wild. I’m a huge Slack fan, and believe that the potential of this capability in an already excellent platform is going to unleash productivity like never before.
  • I’ve been using for the last week or so, and find that I now very rarely use traditional internet search functions. It’s extremely interactive in how it returns information, but also learns based on the user, qualifies queries to give better returns, and provides complete references on how it’s got to a particular result.
  • Finally - I have started using a lot for meetings - the intelligent summaries it provides, combined with detailed analytics, are absolutely game changing.


How can businesses stay up to date with the latest advancements in AI to remain competitive in their field?

It might sound trite, but there’s probably no better way than to use an AI capability with an appropriate prompt!

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