Good change management: How AI becomes successful in companies

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will change the everyday working lives of many employees. The use of AI systems in companies offers many opportunities for both employees and companies. At the same time, the introduction of AI poses challenges for all those involved - such as the handling of personal data or the humane design of working conditions. A current white paper of Plattform Lernende Systeme shows by means of concrete solutions and practical examples, how companies introduce AI systems both in terms of employees and economic success and how change processes can be successful.

Download the white paper (executive summary)

AI systems can relieve employees of their tasks, make work processes more efficient and enable new AI-based business models. At the same time, their introduction triggers a change in the company that needs to be shaped. The decisive factor for the success of AI systems is change management. Good change management promotes the acceptance of AI systems among employees, so that the potential of the new technologies can be used jointly by all those involved and both employees and their representatives can be made to shape technological change, says the white paper.

"The introduction of AI systems in companies is often associated with uncertainties. Many employees are worried about their jobs or are afraid of being controlled and monitored by machines. It is therefore important that there is full transparency and that employees are involved in the design of AI deployment from the outset," says co-author Oliver Suchy, a member of the national executive committee of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) and the Future of Work and Human-Machine Interaction working group of Plattform Lernende Systeme.

The introduction of AI is still in its infancy in many companies. "Of course, companies have experience in introducing new technologies and can rely on a familiar set of tools to design change processes," says co-author Sascha Stowasser, director of the Institute for Applied Work Science ifaa and member of the working group Future of Work and Human-Machine Interaction. "But there are some special features to be considered when using Artificial Intelligence. AI systems use large amounts of data - including personal data - and sometimes act very autonomously. This raises completely new questions, such as whether personal rights are curtailed or to whom responsibility can be ascribed in the event of a fault in the AI system".

Four phases of a successful introduction of AI

In order to make the transition to AI-supported work a success, the authors describe four phases that successful change management must go through. In the initial phase, companies should work with employees to define the objectives and purpose of the planned AI applications and consider the possible effects, for example, on the work-life balance. It is also important in this phase to educate employees about how the AI system works, because a basic understanding of the technology is the basis for building trust. In the second phase, the focus is on the design of the AI systems themselves. Here it is a matter of designing the cooperation with the AI together - from security and data protection to the division of labour and the traceability of AI decisions.

The preparation of the AI introduction and implementation of the systems are part of the third phase. Central in this phase is the qualification of the employees for the new requirements. In addition, organisational structures and the distribution of tasks within the company must be adapted. The authors of the white paper recommend testing the AI systems in pilot projects and experimental phases and gathering experience under real conditions before the applications are implemented across the board. After the introduction of the AI systems, their use must be continuously checked, evaluated and, if necessary, adapted. In this last phase of change management it is particularly important to include the experiences of the employees. In order to ensure the long-term involvement of employees, the authors propose an AI council with equal numbers of members, which will accompany the change processes on a long-term basis.

About the White Paper

The white paper "Introduction of AI systems in companies" was written by the working group Future of Work and Human-Machine Interaction of Plattform Lernende Systeme. It is available for free download here. The executive summary (in English) can be found here.  

Further information:

Linda Treugut / Birgit Obermeier
Press and Public Relations

Lernende Systeme – Germany's Platform for Artificial Intelligence
Managing Office | c/o acatech
Karolinenplatz 4 | 80333 Munich

T.: +49 89/52 03 09-54 /-51
M.: +49 172/144 58-47 /-39


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