The research blog of CB Insights recently featured a really interesting post around 14 early-stage virtual assistant startups to watch. These assist with a variety of useful tasks such as scheduling meetings, comparison shopping, and health-care assistance, etc. I have tried out some of the meeting scheduling virtual assistants to sync schedules with my wife for our kids' routine doctor's appointments, and am really excited about what they could become in the future. While intelligent virtual assistants, which do specific tasks are great and useful for the narrowly-defined purposes they are intended, in Evalueserve's area of expertise (i.e. supporting complex knowledge work of our clients worldwide), we find that, depending on the nature of the task and the specific work-flow involved, automation can only take you so far.
Recent research by McKinsey confirms our experiential findings, in which McKinsey researchers found it more useful to think of automation's impact at a task level (i.e. on specific tasks that someone in a certain role has to do), rather than thinking about automation on a job-level. McKinsey's research found that, "45 percent of work activities could be automated using already demonstrated technology. If the technologies that process and “understand” natural language were to reach the median level of human performance, an additional 13 percent of work activities in the US economy could be automated."
This implies that in the short to medium term, while technology continues to advance further, for complex knowledge-based tasks and workflows in the enterprise, our best bet is to combine human and machine intelligence to provide virtual mind+machine™ assistants. This is exactly what Evalueserve has started doing over the last two years! In a recent post, our CEO and Co-Founder Marc Vollenweider has cited examples of various mind+machine™ products we have introduced in our practices and industry verticals. In 2015 alone, these collectively enabled us to save 300,000 hours of human work.
Over the coming weeks and months, we have several new mind+machine™ product announcements planned, each focused on specific corporate and business functions within the Fortune 500 companies we already support. Stay tuned to learn more about virtual mind+machine™ assistants from Evalueserve!