New research released by IDC, in collaboration with Salesforce claims that that Artificial Intelligence connected with CRM activities will boost global business revenue from the beginning of 2017 to the end of 2021 by $1.1 trillion. Furthermore, new direct jobs associated with the increase in revenues could lead to 800,000 positions and 2 million indirect jobs.
AI has already impacted nearly every aspect of our consumer lives - think of Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa and Netflix's personal recommendation engine. AI has redefined how we engage with technology and each other. With the rise of increased computing power, big data and breakthroughs in machine learning, AI is also poised to transform how people work, especially when it comes to the sales process.
IDC carried out a survey of over 1,028 organization globally from countries like the US, Canada, Japan, Germany, Australia and the UK. The results are especially interesting if you look at the impact AI will have in helping salespeople with: speeding up sales cycles, improving lead generation and qualification, as well as solving customer support problems faster.
Salesforce's very own Einstein AI solution allows salespeople to automatically capture sales activities and log customer data. It also allows suggests next best actions and recommended emails responses. The main benefit to salespeople is that they will spend less time on non-revenue generating sales admin activities and thus be able to focus on delivering more personalized and valuable assistance to prospective customers.
Canadian based e-commerce solution provider Shopify recently began offering Kit, an AI-powered virtual assistant for retailers. Kit enables Shopify customers to leverage its virtual assistant features to launch Facebook Campaigns (including pixel tracking and retargeting), promote Facebook posts and send out thank you emails to customers upon a purchase. For merchants, this powerful bot acts like their virtual marketing employee.
There's been a lot of news and research produced regarding how AI will replace humans and actually result in the decrease of jobs. Part of the research conducted by IDC was around attitudes on AI. Participants tended to be positive on AI. In one question, they rated their agreement with several statements about AI — on a scale of 1 to 6, with 6 being the highest level of agreement — as shown in the image below.
For the most part, respondents felt that AI would allow them to prioritize and increase performance when executing their work. There is still some concern about transparency and AI putting jobs at risk, however, this may change as more businesses implement their AI programs in the upcoming years.
IDC's research shows that the majority of the respondents in the survey are spending 2017 in the pilot phase, with the bulk of AI projects being implemented between 2019-2021.
Is this adoption profile realistic? IDC believes it is, as analysts have reported that vendor investment in embedded AI for enterprise applications has picked up significantly in the past 6 months. Technology vendors offering embedded AI services in conjunction with other cloud solutions can make implementation a near-automatic event for most customers. What remains to be determined is how quickly organizations investing in AI solutions will recoup lower expenses, high revenues and improved productivity - either way this is definitely a space to watch, in IDC's view: Implementing AI could change our organization's culture, workforce, and operations entirely.
For the full report visit IDC's website here.