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Investing in AI—brands are ready to find out if the hype is real

by | Jun 22, 2018 | Public Relations

Artificial intelligence has been touted as the saving grace for customer experience for retailers and marketers, and after an awkward ramp-up phase, it looks like the promise just might pan out.

Brands are certainly hoping so—new research from digital disruption firm Constellation Research finds that firms are getting serious about investing in AI to help improve CX and drive growth.

C-level execs surveyed by Constellation reported the highest levels of investment and adoption in a variety of company departments, including IT, customer service/commerce, sales and marketing, and employee productivity.

The research for the Constellation Research 2018 AI Study reveals 52 percent of respondents report AI projects in production or in pilots in the IT department, with 50 percent reporting production or pilot AI projects in customer service/commerce, 46 percent citing AI projects in sales and marketing, and 36 percent reporting them in employee productivity (although this excludes manufacturing employee productivity).

Driving this trend is the ease with which firms can acquire AI capabilities for these departments

Packaged apps with AI capabilities are widely available for sales, marketing, employee productivity and commerce, explained Cindy Zhou, a Constellation Research principal analyst. Packaged apps with AI capabilities are often features of existing software or a platform that can simply be “turned on.”

“As far as sales, marketing, and customer service organizations are concerned, AI is already here,” said Zhou, in a news release. “Salesforce and Microsoft, for example, sell applications with AI capabilities rolled into the core product, or they are sold as add-ons. Salesforce Lightning platform customers automatically get basic Salesforce Einstein capabilities with their contract. If customers need more robust AI capabilities, they can upgrade,” she added.

Download the full report here.

The study leverages findings from the 2018 Constellation Research Artificial Intelligence Survey, which assesses the state of AI among the first movers, early adopters, and fast followers that comprise Constellation’s subscriber base. The survey asked C-level executives about the state of AI investment and deployment in their organizations, budgets for AI investment, technologies driving AI development, how AI might impact executives and the workforce, sources of internal resistance to AI, and privacy. Total revenue of respondents’ firms in 2016 range from less than $10 million to more than $1 billion.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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