79% of business leaders say AI is essential for competitiveness

Remember when Tony Stark built his first Iron Man suit in a cave? That’s where we are with AI—except now we’re stepping out of the cave and into the real world. 

According to the 2024 Work Trend Index Annual Report by Microsoft and LinkedIn, AI use at work has nearly doubled in the past six months. 

But, the big challenge is moving from experimenting with AI to making it a game-changer for business. In fact, 59% are still figuring out how to measure productivity gains. Just like Stark had to go from prototype to superhero, businesses need to go from AI dabbling to full-on use.

Measuring the Benefits of AI

How do you know if AI is actually helping your organization? 

Microsoft developed a metric called “Copilot Assisted Hours” to answer the question. This metric helps leaders understand not just how much time AI saves, but also how it improves the quality of work and reduces effort. For example, AI can summarize an hour-long meeting in minutes, retrieve information faster, and even help create content from scratch.

Microsoft’s research shows the real benefits of using AI tools like Copilot. Users report saving time, focusing on important tasks, and even enjoying their work more. For example, retrieving information across files, emails, and calendars is six minutes faster with Copilot. Creating content, like writing a blog post or designing a slide deck, also sees big time savings. 

With 68% of people struggling with the pace and volume of work and 46% feeling burned out, AI is starting to help ease the load and make work less stressful.

Cutting Costs with Smarter Workflows

Smart technology can significantly cuts operational costs by automating routine tasks and optimizing workflows. 

For example, AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can handle customer inquiries 24/7, reducing the need for large customer service teams. In manufacturing, AI-driven predictive maintenance can foresee equipment failures before they occur, reducing downtime and repair costs. 

Additionally, AI’s ability to analyze large amounts of data quickly and accurately helps businesses make informed decisions, reducing costs associated with trial-and-error approaches.

Increasing Profits with AI Insights

Beyond cost savings, smart technology boosts profitability by finding new revenue streams and optimizing existing ones. AI’s advanced analytics capabilities enable businesses to understand customer behavior and preferences in great detail. This insight allows for more personalized marketing strategies, leading to higher conversion rates and customer loyalty.

 In retail, AI can optimize inventory management, ensuring that popular products are always in stock while minimizing overstock of less popular items.

AI in Action: Real-World Examples

The “2024 Work Trend Index Annual Report” highlights other ways companies are using AI to transform their operations:

  • Customer Service: AI chatbots at global advertising network Dentsu have improved customer service efficiency, reducing call-handling times and increasing customer satisfaction.
  • Product Development: Estée Lauder uses AI to reimagine product development and customer experience, leading to innovative products and enhanced customer engagement.
  • Creative Processes: AI tools help creative teams at companies like Dentsu brainstorm and produce content faster, allowing more time to focus on high-value tasks such as strategy and innovation.

Moving Ahead: Adopting AI for Business Growth

As we move forward, integrating AI and other smart technologies into business operations will become increasingly important. To fully harness these technologies, companies need to adopt a clear approach:

  • Identify Key Areas for AI Integration: Start with areas where AI can have the most immediate impact, such as customer service or product development.
  • Create a Culture of Innovation: Encourage employees at all levels to explore and experiment with AI tools. As the report highlights, power users of AI—those who frequently experiment with AI—are more productive and creative.
  • Invest in Learning and Development: Equip your workforce with the necessary AI skills through continuous learning and development programs. This investment will pay off as employees become more adept at leveraging AI to drive business outcomes.
  • Monitor and Measure AI’s Impact: Use metrics like Copilot Assisted Hours to track the effectiveness of AI initiatives and make data-driven changes to strategies as needed.


In a nutshell, smart technology is changing how businesses operate, helping companies cut costs and boost profits. From the examples we’ve discussed, it’s clear that some organizations are already using smart tech effectively. Whether it’s in customer service, product development, or creative processes, AI can save time, resources, and energy, allowing for more focus on strategic initiatives.

There are still many untapped opportunities with AI, and Hive Learning is on a journey to unlock its potential. While we don’t claim to know everything about GenAI, we’re passionate about combining it with human creativity. So why not join us as we learn and explore more about GenAI?

We’ve put together a program that covers everything from GenAI basics to how you can build an AI strategy. Want in?

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