Report: AI-powered CRM could create US$1.1 trillion and 800,000 jobs by 2021

New IDC and Salesforce report looks at state of artificial intelligence adoption globally and its potential revenue and jobs impact and finds some positives in the industry shake-up

Artificial intelligence-powered CRM will deliver more than US$1.1 trillion in new GDP impact globally and $19 billion in increased revenue in Australia over the next five years, as well as create 800,000 net-new jobs worldwide, a new report claims.

The new IDC whitepaper, commissioned by Salesforce, heralded 2018 to be the landmark year for AI adoption, with more than 40 per cent of companies surveyed saying they’ll adopt AI within the next two years. At present, 28 per cent of those surveyed by IDC are already using AI in some way.

By the end of next year, the research group claimed 75 per cent of enterprise and independent software development will include AI or machine learning functionality in at least one application.

IDC quote third-party stats suggesting automation drive by AI could impact 49 per cent of job activities and eliminate about 5 per cent of jobs. But according to IDC’s report, AI could also augment and increase the productivity of employees, specifically in CRM-related areas.

AI-powered CRM activities are expected to cover a wide range of use cases, including accelerating sales cycles, improving lead generation and qualification, personalising marketing campaigns and lowering the cost of support calls.

Respondents to IDC’s survey were also asked to nominate where AI is already cropping up, and highlighted advanced numerical analysis (31 per cent), voice/speech recognition (30 per cent), machine learning (28 per cent), and to text analysis (27 per cent) as top areas.

Overall, IDC estimated AI-powered CRM activities to create more than US$1.1 trillion in new GPD impact worldwide, thanks to a combination of increasing productivity by $121 billion, and lowering expenses with automation by $265bn.

AI in the CRM space is expected to create 800,000 net-new jobs by 2021, a figure IDC claimed will surpass the number of role lost to automation as a whole. The numbers were extrapolated both from survey respondents as well as economic impact modelling.

In Australia specifically, IDC is predicting AI-powered CRM will generate $19 billion in increased revenue over the next five years, along with a $6bn decrease in expenses, while creating 16,714 jobs and $4bn in improved productivity.  

Commenting on the findings, Salesforce APAC RVP, innovation and digital transformation, Robert Wickham, said the convergence of computing power, big data and breakthroughs in machine learning are transforming the lives and roles within organisations, and none more so than those around CRM.

“Australia stands on the artificial intelligence threshold, with job and revenue growth in store for companies that embrace technology as a way to catalyse employee productivity and the ability to provide personalised customer experiences at scale,” he said.  

“The impact of AI on jobs is a hot topic for economists and everyday Australians. What IDC’s research shows is the picture is more nuanced than doom and gloom predictions, with AI job creation exceeding jobs lost to automation to the tune of 800,000 globally by 2021.”

IDC’s report was based on a survey of 1028 enterprises in multiple countries including Australia.

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