Some $1.1 trillion in business revenue will be generated and two million indirect jobs globally will be created during the same period.
“IDC is well aware there is significant debate about the long-term impact of AI on jobs and presents the forecast here as based on the opinions of surveyed respondents,” according to the IDC report. “…The forecast embodies an assumption that AI will lead to net-positive financial benefits, which will drive job growth. Some roles may be eliminated, and others will be created or enhanced, not unlike the change in jobs in IT departments during the advent of the cloud.”
2018 will be a landmark year for AI adoption, according to the IDC report. More than 40 per cent of companies surveyed globally said they will adopt AI within the next two years. IDC forecasts that by next year, 75 per cent of enterprise organization and ISV development will include AI and machine learning functionality in at least one application.
“This year (2017) and the next (2018) to be watershed years — as planning and piloting turn into implementation. In fact, more than 60 per cent expect to have either projects or pilots in place this year, and 55 per cent expect to have AI implementations in place by 2018,” according to the report.
IDC sees AI as a “technology almost as old as the computer industry itself” but has come into mass awareness through the release of personal digital assistants and bits such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google’s Assistant, as well as image recognition on Facebook, personalized recommendations offered by companies like Netflix and Amazon.
Increases in processing power, the sinking cost of hardware, and availability of data have pushed AI innovations.
The analyst firm estimates that global spending on cognitive and AI systems, including hardware, software, and services, will grow from $7.9 billion in 2016 to $46 billion in 2020.
In early 2017, IDC surveyed enterprise organizations from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Australia, and Germany. The survey, which involved 1,028 respondents, was conducted online and by phone interviews. Executives familiar with their company’s CRM activities were asked about their opinions on how AI might affect their organization.
While the respondents were specifically asked about the potentials for AI use in the CRM activities, these activities “cover a large spectrum of activity and touch almost all facets of an enterprise,” according to IDC.
As many as 46 per cent of AI adopters reports that more than half of their CRM activities are executed using the public cloud.
Cloud vendors are expected to lead in the delivery of AI to customers by embedding AI into their applications.
Here are some of the ways AI is expected to impact CRM activities:
- Speeding up sales cycles
- Improving lead generation and qualification
- Solving customer support problems faster
- Helping companies improve brand campaigns and recognition
- Lowering costs of support calls while increasing resolution rates
- Lowering the cost of recruiting employees and partners
- Increasing revenue from optimized product marketing
- Optimizing pricing
- Optimizing distribution logistics
- Preventing loss through fraud detection
Organizations are looking to adopt AI technologies such as advanced numerical analysis (31 per cent), voice and speech recognition (30 per cent), text analysis (27 per cent), and machine learning (25 per cent)
Key takeaways from the survey are:
- AI adoption is about to begin in earnest.
- Early adopters and fast followers will gain early, critical experience, which should lead to a competitive advantage.
- The prevalence of cloud-based AI solutions in the CRM space expresses a strong relationship — if not symbiosis — between enterprises and their cloud providers. This, in turn, puts a responsibility on the vendor to be trusted and innovative and on the enterprise to manage the relationship at a high level.
- Cloud solutions may lead the way in delivering AI to customers, often embedded into solutions and user interfaces, making adoption easy as an add-on to existing applications and perhaps even free at the entry level
- 2017 and the next few following years will see an incredible amount of experimentation with AI.
- Enterprises for which such IT and operational experimentation is second nature will reap benefits others won’t.
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