Are You Asking the Right Questions About AI?

If you still think artificial intelligence (AI) is something for your grandchildren to grapple with, prepare to be surprised: AI is going to have a drastic impact on our lives and our businesses over the next decade.

How drastic? According to McKinsey, artificial intelligence is contributing to a transformation of society happening “ten times faster and at 300 times the scale, or roughly 3,000 times the impact” of the Industrial Revolution. That puts an almost impossible demand on every organization to adapt wisely – and quickly.

Of course, we’re already surrounded by AI every day, although we may not think of those tools as such. Maybe you dictate your To Do list to Alexa each morning. Maybe that’s a driverless car next to you at the stoplight. And maybe – make that probably – your daily workflows and collaboration are powered by AI.

The reality is, these tools and technologies have blended into our lives so seamlessly that we don’t even think of them as being AI. But that doesn’t mean that AI’s integration into our business lives isn’t going to be disruptive.

In fact, for most organizations, it will mean transformation on an unprecedented scale. The way we hire, collaborate and achieve are already shifted and they’re going to change even more. And the way we deliver customer experiences? That’s going to blow wide open.

The time to forecast these changes and develop appropriate strategies is now. Other leaders might be waiting for the day a robot pours their morning coffee, but you can get the jump on the future now by asking these 4 questions:

How fast – and how severely – will AI change your industry?

Some experts are predicting that AI’s economic impact will hit somewhere between $14 trillion and $33 trillion by 2025. However, the where of those numbers is more in question. We know that the auto industry and retail have been disrupted by AI, while manufacturing is quickly becoming the next in line for a drastic overhaul. But while some leaders in other industries feel they’ll be passed by, it’s more likely that every industry will be impacted – and sooner than they think. In other words, everyone can benefit from planning for the AI revolution.

How will your strategy and operations change in the next 5 years?

Think of changing the way sales and marketing interact, the way we recruit new talent or the way we plan new initiatives or design job responsibilities. Now imagine all of them changing at the same time. Artificial intelligence will bring sweeping changes and not necessarily in a tidy or manageable order. Some experts believe AI technology will mature faster than most organizations will be able to adapt to their new world.

How will AI impact your workforce?

In an ideal world, AI would make our work lives easier and more productive; maybe even usher in an employment boom. But anyone who’s been paying attention has seen jobs lost to automation. It’s a safe bet that many employees will see their job roles change or vanish entirely. Forward-thinking leaders who care about recruiting top talent and sustaining a positive company culture will need to begin dialogues about training, development and fostering an agile workforce that can work productively with new AI capabilities.

How can we drive better customer experiences with AI?

Gartner believes that by 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed by AI.Does that make you nervous, relieved or both? Customers already expect immediate service and meaningful conversations; will AI really able to deliver on the second part? We’ve all had frustrating experiences with so-called “intelligent” applications that were the opposite of smart, relevant or efficient. That means leaders who care about creating excellent customer interactions will need to be ready to carefully manage AI customer tools. Those who find ways to partner personal relevance with AI capabilities will have a considerable advantage.

For Salesforce users, the march towards AI has begun. To find out more, you can visit the Salesforce Einstein page.