Electricity and plastic changed how every industry operated. In a similar manner, artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to disrupt every industry – from retail and insurance to healthcare and financial services. And if this shocks you because you’ve yet to invest in AI, I’ve got some good news… but I’ve also got some wake-up and smell the coffee news.
The good news is you’re not alone, as not everyone is using AI today. So, it’s not too late. But your wake-up call is this: Get cracking – stat – because disruption is on the way.
At Pega, we recently conducted a survey of over 600 business and IT leaders across the globe to understand how prepared organizations are to deal with the disruptive change coming to their industries, with a particular focus on the use of AI to drive business outcomes.
Out of the more than 600 individuals surveyed, less than two-thirds of them said that their organizations were using AI in any meaningful way. This is in line with a recent study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group and MIT Sloan Management Review that found only 1 in 20 companies have extensively incorporated AI.
If AI use overall is so low, why bother implementing it at your organization now? Is the AI juice worth the organizational squeeze? The short answer is the window of competitive advantage will be small, and if you don’t jump through it, one of your competitors will. According to a recent report by Forbes Insights, 100 percent of the brands identified as leaders in customer engagement currently use AI in their business operations. Yes, you read that right. 100 percent. Organizations not exploring this technology are putting themselves at a distinct disadvantage.
There’s also much to be gained by using AI to improve business outcomes. According to our survey, organizations using AI reported improved customer engagement (18.3 percent) and reduced costs (18.5 percent) as their most common business outcomes.
The benefits of AI, however, don’t stop there. Only a small percentage of respondents (5 percent) said that AI either connected or prolonged the life of legacy systems. There’s a real opportunity here. Using AI robots to connect old and new systems not only postpones expensive rip and replace projects, but also keeps your organization focused on what matters in the near-term – providing better and faster customer experience.
Not using AI today? Here are some ways to get started:
- Find one customer journey in dire need of improvement. Tease out a few key customer engagement pain points that AI could alleviate, and hyper focus on addressing them.
- Set manageable goals that can be accomplished in 90 days or less. Don’t boil the ocean, as even one customer journey in a large enterprise can become daunting in terms of data and systems involved. Resist the urge to fix it all at once. Use effort versus value trade-offs as your priority guide. Use an agile approach to manage the project, show results quickly, and you’ll have an example to showcase and build upon.
- Measure your project in terms of business outcomes. Set tangible objectives like increased revenue or customer retention. The AI technologies you weave in are merely parts (albeit critical ones) in the overall solution. Ultimately, you’re interested in the AI only to the extent that it helps you meet or exceed your objectives.
- Look for an experienced AI vendor. The best vendors will demonstrate not only that they understand the AI technologies, but more importantly that they have proven experience building and servicing at-scale AI business solutions.
- Read Vince Jeff’s whitepaper, “AI and Improving the Customer Experience.”
- Take Forbes Insights’ short assessment to find out, “Are You a Customer Engagement Leader?”
- Watch a video of Pega CTO Don Schuerman and Dr. Rob Walker, VP of decision management & analytics, discuss “AI for Customer Engagement 101.”