AI will create 800,000 jobs and $1.1 trillion revenue by 202

Contrary to the bleak picture painted by critics, a new IDC study of more than 1,000 organisations worldwide shows that AI will be in the workplace “sooner than we think”, and will have a positive impact on productivity, revenues, and job creation.

From 2017 to 2021, the Salesforce-sponsored study predicts that AI-powered CRM activities will boost business revenue by $1.1 trillion, and create more than 800,000 direct jobs and 2 million indirect jobs globally, surpassing those lost to AI-driven automation.

The business revenue boost will be led primarily by increased productivity and lowered expenses due to automation, which account for $121 billion and $265 billion of the $1.1 trillion sum, respectively, according to the study.

Keith Block, vice chairman and COO at Salesforce, said the impact of AI for the CRM market will be “profound” in that it will enable “new levels of productivity”.

“The convergence of increased computing power, big data, and breakthroughs in machine learning have meant artificial intelligence is set to transform the lives of workers, especially those that are already using CRM technology, by helping them be more productive in their development of more meaningful connections with customers,” added Robert Wickham, RVP of Innovation and Digital Transformation at Salesforce APAC.

“What IDC’s research shows is the picture is more nuanced than doom and gloom predictions.”

While the trillion-dollar figure might appear far-fetched to some, the A Trillion-Dollar Boost: The Economic Impact of AI on Customer Relationship Managementreport states that it’s a “conservative” prediction, because a lot of resources go into IT implementations.

“The spending on IT software, services, and hardware itself is often small compared with spending on staff (IT and operational), operations, non-IT capital goods, and more. In fact, spending on external IT — which now permeates most enterprises in the world — represents less than 1 percent of the world’s business revenue and generally less than 5 percent in even the most IT-rich enterprises,” the IDC-Salesforce report states.

“IDC research shows that even in cloud-based solutions, any single implementation will require additional spending — on other cloud services, consulting, networking, security, and more.”

Block recommended that companies looking to embrace AI should create new workforce development programs to equip employees with the skills necessary in the future.

The study also estimates that Salesforce customers will account for $293 billion, or about 26 percent, of this revenue boost, and more than 155,000, or about 19 percent, of the net-new jobs by 2021.

2018 will be a landmark year for AI adoption, according to the IDC-Salesforce study, with more than 40 percent of the organisations surveyed indicating that they will adopt AI within the next two years.

The types of AI that these organisations are looking to adopt include machine learning (25 percent), text analysis (27 percent), voice/speech recognition (30 percent), and advanced numerical analysis (31 percent).

IDC expects worldwide spending on “Cognitive/AI systems” — which includes hardware, software, and services — to grow from around $8 billion in 2016 to $46 billion in 2020.

The research firm also forecast that 75 percent of enterprise and ISV development will include AI or machine-learning functionality in at least one application. AI-powered CRM activities — such as accelerating sales cycles, improving lead generation and qualification, personalising marketing campaigns, and reducing customer support expenses through chatbots — will cover a large spectrum of use cases, according to IDC.

The United States is expected to lead the way in new business revenue growth through AI implementation, accounting for $596 billion of the $1.1 trillion GDP impact, followed by Japan at $91 billion; Germany at $62 billion; the United Kingdom at $55 billion; and France at $50 billion.

Australia came in last, with the study estimating that AI-powered CRM activities will create more than 16,000 new direct jobs and AU$19 billion in increased revenue over the next five years. Improved productivity in Australia accounts for $4 billion of the revenue boost.

The CRM giant itself has invested heavily in artificial intelligence, announcing in May a new $100 million Salesforce Platform Fund aimed at accelerating the development of artificial intelligence-powered applications and components on the Salesforce platform.

The company has also been boosting its AI capabilities, integrating its “Einstein AI” technology with its various clouds as an add-on in March. It also launched Einstein Vision, a set of APIs that allow developers to bring image recognition to customer relationship management and build AI-powered apps.

In May, Salesforce revealed that it was testing a version of its Einstein AI service internally to help project sales and give guidance.

In Salesforce’s first-quarter earnings conference call, CEO Marc Benioff said an internal version of the Einstein Guidance feature has made the AI another member of the management team.

“Every question that I possibly could have, I’m able to ask Einstein. And I think for a CEO, typically the way it works is, of course, you have various people, mostly politicians and bureaucrats, in your staff meeting who are telling you what they want to tell you to kind of get you to believe what they want you to believe,” Benioff said in the earnings conference call.

“Einstein comes without bias. So because it’s just based on the data, and it’s a very exciting next-generation tool. And to have Einstein guidance has transformed me as a CEO.”

It’s not clear, however, when the Einstein Guidance feature will be rolled out broadly.

Salesforce is not the only CRM vendor investing in AI; MicrosoftSAP, and Oracleare also betting on the AI-powered CRM market, especially as enterprise data explodes, making it more compelling for sales and marketing teams to have access to intelligent tools that can sift through that data, and identify and tailor experiences to the prospects with the highest propensity to make a purchase.

Source: ZDNet – AI will create 800,000 jobs and $1.1 trillion revenue by 2021

AI technologies affect all corners of business, IT

All areas of IT must brace for AI impact

Throwing artificial intelligence at your data to answer business questions is like using a tornado to blow out a match.

In other words, just because artificial intelligence tools can provide answers doesn’t mean you should use them. If good old business intelligence tools do the job just fine, stick with what you know. But AI is a great way to uncover information hidden within vast amounts of data — as long as you’re willing to use the information that surprises you, according to Jana Eggers, CEO of Nara Logics, a synaptic intelligence company based in Cambridge, Mass.

“If you aren’t willing to learn, don’t do an AI project. Do a regular analytics project,” Eggers said during her presentation at the TDWI Accelerate conference in Boston earlier this year.

That’s sound advice in a time when all we hear about is the power and promise of AI technologies like cognitive computing, natural language processing and machine learning. Using AI judiciously can save companies a whole lot of time and money on a tech that’s exciting but may not be appropriate for the job. It’s also important to carefully consider where and when to use AI because artificial intelligence affects nearly all areas of IT, along with the people, processes and corporate culture underlying the business.

AI technologies require vast amounts of data, collected from sensors, applications or the mobile devices in users’ hands. Collecting all that data to feed AI systems requires a tremendous amount of storage — so much so that companies are moving their data warehouses to the cloud. Companies also need staff members with data science skills to make sense of the data, developers who know how to work with AI — the list goes on.

The articles in this guide provide deep insight into the dos and don’ts of AI, how AI affects the data center and IT staffing, tips for figuring out the ROI of AI, and more.

Source: technologies affect all corners of business, IT

How to Reduce IT Outsourcing Costs Without Going Offshore

When we’re talking about significantly cutting IT costs, we’re typically talking about tapping offshore markets where labor costs are significantly lower.

But going offshore always comes at a price, typically in the form of reduced efficiencies caused by communication breakdowns, cultural misunderstandings, time differences, and combinations of those problems and many others. Still, the cost-savings are a powerful draw. You can have better interaction and quality with full onshore team, but that comes with a high cost. What if we could have something in the middle?

There is another approach, which I call global shoring, which is very less talked about, is providing the cost-saving advantages of offshoring without any of the disadvantages.

The an equation representing global offshore modeling would look something like this: Senior team onshore + mid and junior team offshore = high quality and lower cost.

Initially implemented by large IT outsourcers, the global shoring model is now being adopted by mid-sized companies and small startups. With global shoring, a project’s leads, such as project manager, technical architect, designers, and senior QA professionals, are provided onshore, while developer, testers are offshore. Onshore team interface with the customer and perform high end responsibilities, while simple, routine, and repetitive processes are performed offshore at a significant savings in labor costs.

Global shoring has some surprisingly attractive advantages beyond the labor cost-savings.

Seamless Communication and Project Management

Having project managers and technical leads onshore enable you to talk with them on your time and your terms. The communication advantages are enormous when everyone is in the same time zone and on the same page culturally and technically. Problem-solving is faster, easier, and less chaotic. Complex misunderstandings can be eliminated with face-to-face, on-site appearances. It is always easier to explain your vision and needs to a team that is in the same country as you and understands your industry, company, and product cultures the same way you do. Your on-shore management leads can insulate you from having to navigate all the time, language, cultural barriers, and other obstacles to efficiency that offshoring can pose.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) are Better Protected

When you hire a global shoring company with offices in same country as yours, your contracts will be in the law of the land. That means it will be easier to find and enforce any IPR infringement or copyright issues with a global shoring company than with an offshore company. If an offshore company infringes on your IPR, your legal options will be fewer, more complex, and costlier if the case must be pursued overseas.

Greater, More Focused, Quality Control

A global shoring company will provide senior QA and tech leads onshore, and, because they are overseeing offshore processes, a more deliberate and disciplined quality assurance approach must be taken. Time and calendar disparities will be planned for and accommodated in project timelines, ensuring that requirements and testing standards are met.

Better Customer Support (One, Much Closer, Throat to Choke)

If something goes awry in IT services provided by a global shoring company, you will know you can always reach out to them in the same time zone and they’ll be able to respond to you much more easily than an offshore company on a different continent and in a different time zone. Plus, proximity carries a greater weight of responsibility. It’s always easier to ignore someone a world away, than it is to ignore someone who could be knocking on your door later in the day.

Cost is Cheaper than Onshore

A global shoring company will charge you rates somewhere in the middle of a full onshore company and an offshore company. That is still a great cost advantage. Typically, a global shoring company will do 30- to 40-percent of a project’s work onshore and 60- to 70-percent of the work offshore. The final savings are difficult to turn down, especially when they come without the disadvantages of full offshoring.

Global Shoring Creates Jobs Onshore

The best part of hiring an onshore company is knowing that you’re getting the advantages of offshoring, but you’re also helping to create jobs in your own country. In today’s business and political climate, that’s an attractive message to be able to communicate. global shoring provides you economic benefits while helping to support your own country’s economy.

Source: to Reduce IT Outsourcing Costs Without Going Offshore