Home Business IT Business Intelligence IDC claims AI will give CRM trillion-dollar boost

Artificial intelligence associated with customer relationship management could boost revenues for global businesses by US$1.1 trillion between the end of 2017 and 2021, IDC research commissioned by CRM software maker Salesforce claims.

This boost in revenue is predicted to be mainly through increased productivity (US$121 billion) and lessening of expenses through automation (US$265 billion).

The IDC white paper also said that the types of AI that companies were planning to use, or exploring, ranged from machine learning (25%) and voice/speech recognition (30%), to text analysis (27%) and advanced numerical analysis (31%).

The researchers analysed business revenues from 2016 forecasted to 2021, third-party GDP, gross outputs and employment estimates from companies in 54 countries.

They also surveyed more than 1000 firms from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the UK and the US to find out how much AI could improve CRM activities in the first year of implementation, the timeline for adoption and what it could mean in terms of efficiencies for a company in savings and new revenues.

The boost in revenue would also bring an increase in new jobs which could reach more than 800,000 by 2021, IDC said, surpassing the number lost to automation from AI.

Forty-six per cent of AI adopters reported that more than half their CRM activities were carried out using the public cloud, IDC said.

The research predicted that the US would lead the way in new business revenue growth due to the economic impact of AI (US$596 billion), followed by Japan (US$91 billion), Germany (US$62 billion), the UK (US$55 billion) and France (US$50 billion).

It said 2018 would be a landmark year for AI adoption. More than 40% of companies said they would adopt AI within the next two years.

IDC forecasts that 75% of enterprise and ISV development would include AI or machine-learning functionality in at least one application. AI-powered CRM activities would cover a large spectrum of use cases and touch almost all facets of an enterprise, including accelerating sales cycles, improving lead generation and qualification, personalising marketing campaigns and lowering costs of support calls.

“AI is impacting all sectors of the economy and every business. For the CRM market — the fastest-growing category in enterprise software — the impact of AI will be profound, ushering in new levels of productivity for employees and empowering companies to drive even better experiences for their customers,” said Keith Block, vice-chairman, president and chief operating officer, Salesforce.

“For companies embracing AI, it’s critical that they create new workforce development programs to ensure employees are prepared for this next wave of innovation.”


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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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