Skills gap holds back AI adoption

Over half of UK organisations (55%) would adopt more solutions with integrated AI-based technologies, driven by a fear of being left behind, if they had access to the skills to do so. 

Circa 70% of respondents in a survey by Vanson Bourne (supported by Avaya) accept that failing to get on-board with AI now will cost their organisation over the next decade. 

The knowledge gaps can partly be attributed to over a quarter (27%) feeling that they don’t understand AI because of inaccurate reporting on its capabilities. A fifth (20%) of respondents also claim that the over-reporting of AI scare stories is also leading to a lack of understanding.
Even those organisations that have successfully navigated this potential stumbling block are held back by resource constraints; 35% of UK organisations lack the in-house skills to facilitate adoption. Given these challenges, it isn’t surprising that nine out of 10 UK businesses concede that their organisation has work to do if it is to get the most out of AI.
Gregg Widdowson, Customer Engagement Solutions Leader at Avaya UK and Ireland, said: “Many of our customers across the UK and Ireland come to us to discuss how they can deploy AI intelligently. They are stood at a cliff edge looking down into the water wondering if they will sink or swim with AI.
“Not jumping in at all may be the most costly decision that they can make, but the decision needs to made very carefully. We often advise customers not to employ AI for AIs sake. It can be tempting to see it as a means to simply save money over and above the more strategic ways in which AI can provide best-in-class business processes and customer experiences.”
With customer experience more important than ever before, Widdowson suggests focusing on those applications of AI that can have a measurable positive impact on the customer journey as the best place to start. This means integrating AI into the contact centre.
UK businesses agree on this point: 91% of respondents said that effective AI can transform the performance of their contact centre. Indeed, 45% are at least half-way through their strategy for rolling out AI in the contact centre, with 96% using AI to some degree.
“AI can be so much more than chatbots,” continued Widdowson. “It can also be used to employ guided help, by handing off interactions to the best equipped human agent by matching the agent to the customer based upon to behavioural pairing or sales data. 

"Whatever the use case, the best lesson organisations can learn with AI is to make their initial excursion a very narrow one. By keeping the purpose of AI clearly defined, the route to success will be quicker and more attainable.”

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