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How we’re using AI at William Reed

William Reed has a test and learn philosophy and is looking to integrate AI across all departments. By John Barnes, chief digital officer, gives us some examples.

By John Barnes

How we’re using AI at William Reed

Q: How is William Reed using AI now?

A: The digital development team use AI to run pair programming to help improve the quality of output and efficiency in productionising code. Our project managers are using AI to transcribe meetings and auto create action points. Our business analysis, project management and testing team are using AI to extract use cases out of a detailed functional specification doc so they can be inserted into our workflow ticketing system. Most of our digital delivery team are starting to use AI to improve written content such as email, PowerPoint slides and similar outputs. Most of our developers and project management team are using AI to help condense large pieces of information (written) into salient points.

We are also employing generative AI across various areas:

  • Images: We are experimenting with a generative AI tool from one of the large image libraries, for creating highly specific images when stock photos are unavailable.
  • Marketing: We have developed an internal AI agent in Microsoft Teams (using OpenAI) that assists our marketers in crafting emails for events. This bot emulates the tone associated with specific brands and saves time.
  • Data: We utilise AI agents to enrich our datasets. For instance, suppose you have a database of 1,000 records of users with designated job functions. AI can swiftly assess the dataset to determine job seniority levels.
  • Translation: We utilise AI tools to translate text for sending marketing emails in various languages and have conducted trials with a video translation service.

Q: How do you expect your company to use AI in the future?

A: Our digital developers have started to use AI to generate code on a more extensive basis.

Our testers will start to use AI to generate test scripts from use cases directly. Our project managers will look to AI to ensure all minutes and actions are recorded securely and are accessible for the teams.

We expect AI to support our drive to improve data quality across our marketing data estate and public facing data products.

We hope our data scientists will be able to use AI to help analyse large data sets. We also expect AI to help us find new data insights across our data estate.

We hope AI will also help our readers and users have a deeper, more beneficial experience when visiting our websites. For example, via chat bots or more accurate content recommendations. We also hope that AI helps us target messaging to our user base enabling them to get to what content they need, faster and with more accuracy to their needs. Be that to point of purchase or to find other resources which are helpful to them.

We are also trialling new tools designed to assist our editors in optimising their content for SEO to enhance discoverability. These tools employ AI to suggest SEO-optimised titles, among other features, as well as a search generative ‘@ask’ experience to complement improved site search.

We plan to utilise AI to assist editorial teams in tagging articles.

We intend to use AI to enhance sales activities. For instance, AI can aid in determining a prospect’s propensity to purchase.

Three top tips

  1. It is essential to integrate AI across all departments. AI should not be restricted to just a few individuals, and we have a test and learn philosophy.
  2. Implement AI agilely while maintaining a controlled environment where it’s OK to fail, and we pick partners wisely.
  3. Encouraging innovation is vital, but so is effective governance. On our website, we state, “William Reed is dedicated to driving positive and transformative digital change, both within our organisation and for our clients. AI and Machine Learning tools therefore hold immense potential in the field of marketing, journalism and commercially within our markets. Our objective is to use generative AI to enhance our content, provide valuable insights and deliver exceptional audience experiences. We will do this responsibly by adhering to a set of ethical principles and governance, whilst upholding the highest standards of accuracy and integrity.” Click here for more information on our approach.

John and the other contributors to our AI Special took part in an ‘AI Special – Q&A’ webinar on Wednesday, 26 June. You can watch the recording by registering here.

This article was included in the AI Special, published by InPublishing in June 2024. Click here to see the other articles in this special feature.