Artificial Intelligence (AI) is impacting many aspects of our lives, redefining how we engage with technology and with each other. With the convergence of increased computing power, big data and breakthroughs in machine learning, AI is also poised to transform how people work. 

While many researchers predict AI will automate as much as 49 percent of jobs in certain industries, new data from IDC suggests AI will also augment and increase the productivity of employees, in CRM-related fields. From predictive sales lead scoring to service chatbots to personalised marketing campaigns, AI will provide every employee with tools to be more productive and provide smarter, more personalised customer experiences. 

According to a new IDC report commissioned by Salesforce, 2018 will be a landmark year for AI adoption. More than 40% of companies surveyed globally said they will adopt AI within the next two years. In fact, by 2018, IDC forecasts that 75% of enterprise and ISV development will include AI or machine-learning functionality in at least one application. 

AI-powered CRM activities will cover a large spectrum of use cases and touch almost all parts of the organisation. At the same time, as with past technology revolutions, the rise of AI will change the employment landscape as more tasks are automated and new opportunities are created.

Key findings from IDC’s report on the economic impact of AI on CRM include: 

  • AI associated with CRM will boost global business revenues by $1.1 trillion from the beginning of 2017 to the end of 2021. In the UK new business revenue growth due to the economic impact of AI will be $55 billion
  • This business revenue boost will be led primarily by increased productivity ($121 billion globally) and lowered expenses due to automation ($265 billion globally).
  • Globally, the types of AI companies are planning to use, or exploring, range from machine learning (25%) and voice/speech recognition (30%), to text analysis (27%) and advanced numerical analysis (31%).
  • Net-new jobs associated with the boost in global business revenues will reach more than 800,000 globally and 38,000 in the UK by 2021. This includes those jobs lost to automation from AI.

Gavin Mee, head of Salesforce UK, said about the report findings: “In the UK, we’re seeing a massive boom in the formation of AI businesses. The number of companies focussing specifically on AI doubled between 2014 and 2016, compared to the prior period 2011 – 2013. For companies embracing AI, it’s critical to create and identify new ways to train workers to ensure they’re ready for this next wave of innovation.

“According to the World Economic Forum, 65% of today’s children will have jobs that haven't been invented yet. It might be hard to comprehend this statistic, but one thing is clear: without up-to-date digital skills our children will be left behind.

“Alongside a Government focus on STEM education and digital skills, employers also need to step up. For our part, Salesforce offers free high-tech and business skills training through Trailhead, a free online programme that trains participants on Salesforce and other tech and business expertise. It aims to prepare them for the nearly 140,000 Salesforce-based jobs that we expect to be created in the UK between 2015 and 2020.” 

Today, more than 25,000 people are using Trailhead in Europe, with many retraining from different industries.

You can download the IDC whitepaper: A Trillion-Dollar Boost: The Economic Impact of AI on Customer Relationship Management here.