“The implementation of AI has reduced man-hours for hiring new graduates alone by 75%,” says Kumi Ando from the Recruitment & HR Development Management Division. After managing temp staff, she began taking charge of new grad hiring in 2013. She was surprised to see a lot of manual work was necessary at her new position. This experience prompted her to implement AI. The new grad hiring team has the text data of the entry sheet submitted by student applicants. She came up with an idea of making use of the data and consulted with a former coworker.
”When I frankly shared what I wanted to do, although it was still like a delusional dream, the former coworker said, ‘It sounds interesting. Why don’t you try it?’ I thought this freeness was very Softbank,” Ando says. In fact, she had assumed that implementing AI would solve every problems but came to know that there are some things even AI cannot do. She realized that the key to a successful implementation of AI into business operations is how well human beings can use AI by compensating for its weaknesses with effective operation, and then began the process of trial and error.
As a result of research, Ando found that SoftBank was developing a Watson-based system for commercial sale under a business alliance with IBM. Her flexibility made her think that the system would be available for in-house use. She immediately visited Shigemasa and Kasuga for consultation.
“Thanks to interactions with IT-savvy departments, we became aware that it would be possible to do something new by combining our operations with innovative ideas and technologies,” Ando says. Since then, she has been constantly engaging in open and frank exchanges of views with other departments, including by inviting engineers to have tea parties and inviting colleagues from other departments that had successfully implemented AI to hold user meetings.
The atmosphere of her department has also changed. Ando is now often asked for advice on doing something new. She feels that the mindset of department members has become more positive. For example, when she suggests seemingly fanciful ideas, other members say, more often than before, “It’s interesting. Let’s try it.”