I’m Sorry, Dave.  Unleashing the Future: Our journey into AI-Powered Skills Intelligence

“I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do” said HAL 9000, the artificial intelligence equipped CPU on the Discovery One from the (at the time) fantastical sci-fi movie “2001: a Space Odyssey”.

Yet, not so fantastical now, though a very skills-based quip from the robot!

Prescient and a little scary maybe, as was the intention of the movie producers. The message today being, if we let AI run its own race without control and boundaries we could be in for some unexpected outcomes.

Which is why it’s so important to see controls getting introduced, like they have been recently in the EU. Which we applaud as an anticipated outcome.

You can’t just use AI to scrape people data anymore. Not that it was a good thing anyway, it’s very much a rubbish in / rubbish out situation, but at least it will put a stop to some of the hype that exists with some of the less grounded skills-tech players.

Our approach to AI has been somewhat different and has been recently empowered via the launch of “Sam v2” our AI-powered skill insights agent.

Sam: a dedicated consultant that works for you, 24/7, on your data and provides you with compelling insights to drive more productivity, better staff retention, more efficiency, and a fundamentally more effective workforce; people doing things they are very good at and very interested in…who would have thought that would lead to better outcomes!

This is where we think AI adds the most value. Collect quality insights via a sophisticated assessment logic (as opposed to scrapping rubbish from wherever you can get it) and then use AI to assimilate those insights with what matters most to your business, and “et voila” suddenly HAL is your friend.

Now, I want to discuss our view on where Sam (our version of AI) adds the most value: the nexus between operations, the changing nature of work, and the future workplace.

We are taking this very seriously, but not because we are “me-too.” 

Allow me to explain.

What makes Skills Base so powerful, and what our engineering and tech-team customers keep telling us, is that they love our assessment model. We were the first and only skills management platform to create bespoke assessment logic that provides real skill facts on actual skill and skill level via our industry-leading “Structured-Subjective” model.

Structured Subjectivedemocratizes the collection of skills data so it’s easy, fast, and accurate. Nothing else has the potential to deliver such accuracy.

This is contrasted sharply with a lot of others in the market who are now harnessing AI to scrape skill insights from LinkedIn, your job description, your HR system and other corporate applications. 

The problem with that, as we are seeing, is the old “rubbish in = rubbish out” problem.

Just because someone you have never met has given you a skills endorsement on LinkedIn, does that actually mean you are really any good at that skill? And, at what level of mastery do you possess said skill? All a bit flaky if you ask me. And if you ask our customers.

This is a key part of our specialty. In fact, we’ve dedicated our working lives to it at Skills Base, and so we give it a lot of thought and attention.

We specialize in helping Technology, Engineering, Manufacturing, Aerospace, and Life Sciences teams (to name a few) to quickly realize their actual skills, the level of those skills, and the skills gap. For our customers, this is mission-critical information. You need to know explicitly what the actual skill level is; it’s not something that can be inferred. In many cases, this can be life-and-death information so getting it right is very important.

Part of our promise is “Your skills, today”, and we take that very seriously.

We help customers to build a taxonomy, that is theirs. It’s their skills in their language, not an off-the-shelf skill cloud that might mean very little to the actual team members doing the work. It’s part of where we are now starting to incorporate AI, which can really streamline and accelerate this process. Whilst it is very convenient and has proven to really speed up the process of taxonomy creation, the use-case of AI here is not exactly earth-shattering. It’s something a lot of vendors are now doing.

But what we ARE doing, which is very different is to offer AI-built insights.

At that point, I am guessing many people will say, “But everyone is doing that!” Allow me to explain how this is different and especially powerful.

Firstly, and per the preceding comments about our industry-leading Structured-Subjectivemodel, Skills Base sets itself apart for engineers and technical people by quickly providing the most accurate and reliable skills data that you can rely on.

But we also go beyond that. We are one of the only vendors that also assess interest level, skills, qualifications, and knowledge.

This leads me to my second point, Actual Verifiable and Strategically Aligned Insights.

This is really the nucleus of what makes us so excited about our direction of travel with AI and is something we will shortly, and uniquely, be able to offer our customers which is predicated on the accuracy of the data we collect and know about the skills of the teams and the organization at large.

By ingesting key strategic information on the organization, such as the strategic plan, and then aligning this with the detailed and granular skills data we hold, Skills Base will soon be able to revolutionize the way in which it powers our customers’ skills-based decision-making.

It’s simply next level.

Skills Base is all about attracting, optimizing and retaining skills.

Skills Base has historically been a great platform to help to form teams, support internal mobility, optimize and direct training and coaching initiatives, inform compensation plans, optimize project teams, and the like. AI will now turbo-charge this and also automatically align powerful insights you were not even aware of to your strategic direction, giving you real-time, extremely valuable data to make your organization more efficient, effective and competitive.

And what’s more, all of those customers who are already building taxonomies using our AI-powered skills library and assessing using our Structured-Subjective™ model will get these insights immediately. It really rewards the “get started now” movement that we have seen with many skills-based organizations over the last five years.

With all of this in mind, we’re excited to announce the Beta-2 release of our foundational skills intelligence engine and front-end natural language interface “Sam”. and new Skills Query Language.

Over the coming months we will continue to add to, train and improve this model based on customer use and feedback, we will also be looking to incorporate additional data entities such as historical skill ratings, and course/training data.

By the end of the year you should expect to see  a completely new way to understand skill insights across your organization, fed directly into where you need it most.

A few last things to leave you with: 

  • If you’re a Skills Base customer make sure to try Sam V2 for yourself, or reach out to the team to see it in action. 
  • If you’re thinking about getting started, now is the time so you can leverage skill insights to their full potential. 

Don’t miss out, watch this “Space…Odyssey”!

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