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– If you want to retain your employees, you need to invest in technology

“A friend of mine got offered a new job last year with a fancier title and higher salary. Two months later, he returned to his previous employer. Why? Because the new employer had outdated and poor technology. He couldn’t stand using his time on repetitive tasks.” We talked to the CEO of Visma Software AS, Øyvind Larsen, about the importance of investing in the right technology to retain your employees.

Øyvind Larsen, CEO Visma Software AS

This blog post was first published on our Norwegian blog, and you can read the original article here (link to Norwegian article)

Salary isn’t what makes people quit their job. What makes people quit is the rather the lack of professional development. Yet, many Norwegian leaders still expect their employees to spend time doing repetitive tasks that could rather have been spent on professional development. 

“If you want to retain your employees, you need to invest in the right technology.”

Øyvind Larsen, CEO of Visma Software AS,

What surprises him is the number of companies that do not facilitate a workplace where their employees can work efficiently and proactively. Larsen believes that many leaders underestimate the importance of the systems their employees are using. 

“When systems are outdated and rigid it not only damages day-to-day productivity, it is also a threat to the long-term power of innovation.”

Also read: The future of the digital workplace.

54% of leaders are positive to increased productivity through artificial intelligence

In a survey carried out by PwC, it was found that 54% of Norwegian leaders believe artificial intelligence results in increased productivity. 

“However, how much is really just over a half? Is the glass half-full or half-empty? It’s not good enough. Here, we as suppliers must be self-critical—and take responsibility. We have not been good enough at talking, in an understandable way, about how artificial intelligence really can contribute. Maybe we have also made AI appear frightening for most people.”

So, what is AI really about? In simple terms, artificial intelligence (AI) is a collective term for various types of technologies that can learn to solve problems. These are normally tasks that people have done in the past.

“When machines are dealing with boring input tasks, we can spend more time playing with analytics, testing hypotheses, making better investments, and making better decisions for our company.”

You might also be interested in reading: Revolutionary technology presented at Visma’s AI conference.

– The real benefits come from automating three simple processes

Businesses cannot afford a workday where employees punch data until their fingers turn blue, print papers, double-check Excel rows and dig out the same numbers every Monday.

“We live in the year 2021, this shouldn’t even be on the agenda.”

Larsen points to three business-critical areas where artificial intelligence and automation can play an important role. 

“The real benefits come from improving the invoicing process, reporting and budgeting. Here, systems using artificial intelligence can do the manual tasks that previously have been done by people,” says Larsen and points to budgeting.

“Previously, it was natural to look at historical figures monthly or quarterly. Today’s cloud solutions give you updated numbers per second so you can make both better and faster decisions. And make adjustments continuously.”

The goal should be that everyone budgets in a system that automatically collects large amounts of data, pick up on deviations, and quickly feeds out qualitative insights.

Another example is the accounting of revenues. In this situation, artificial intelligence can summarise data, and present how much money you will be left with tomorrow.

“Numbers are only numbers if you only observe them and do not act on them. It is only when you refine the numbers, that you discover the gold.”

According to Larsen, most things in a company can be done in a simpler and more flexible way, and many tasks and processes can also be automated. Business as usual is not always the recipe for success.

“If you want to keep your staff, you have to free them from the tedious work. Manual and repetitive tasks are the perfect recipe for killing motivation,” he concludes.

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