[PART 1] AI Will Add $2.2 Trillion to the Australian Economy: Will You Get Your Share?

It’s 2017 and artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere. Jobs that were once only capable of being done by humans are now becoming automated – and this is starting to dramatically impact how businesses are run. Increasingly, we’re seeing AI being used to disrupt the market in industries like transport (think Uber, Tesla, and Google’s driverless cars), hospitality (Airbnb), music (Spotify) and retail (Amazon). Over the next five years, we can expect even bigger changes as AI moves into finance, healthcare, education, and agriculture. The pace of its advancement is limited only by the human mind.

Big Data and Machine Learning

Two technological capabilities that have combined to make AI feasible and useful are Big Data and Machine Learning.

  • IT research firm Gartner defines Big Data as “high-volume, high-velocity and/or high-variety information for enhanced insight, decision making, and process optimisation.” This effectively means vast swathes of data that need to be analysed in order to make improvements.
  • Machine Learning is hugely valuable in bringing AI benefits to smaller companies and individuals. It means that software can “learn” and improve on its own power, instead of relying on developers to come up with ideas. For example, Australia Post launched an email addon that uses machine learning to find unpaid bills and itemises their due dates in 2017. The CSIRO invests heavily in machine learning and is using it to create AI for bushfire predictions, structural engineering monitoring and open data initiatives.

Big Data No Longer Has a Big Price Tag

For years, Big Data was expensive to acquire, maintain and use. A 2013 report found that Australian companies are spending $50 million a year on Big Data. Until recently, the value of Big Data was limited by manpower and tools – there were not enough professionals available to analyse the data outside of large firms. Fortunately, we are now entering into a key transition point. The increased availability of machine learning – often built into enterprise software – means you can secure an advantage over competitors who are ignoring AI.

AI is Ready For Business

Five years ago, business AI was limited to multinational companies with deep pockets like Google and Amazon, but at the World Economic Forum early this year, 40% of Australian businesses were found to have experienced cost savings, improved productivity and better decision-making benefits from AI. AI in 2017 is similar to the ecommerce revolution in the late 1990s: models and systems have been proven but many businesses are missing out on the opportunity – which is estimated to boost Australia’s national income by $2.2 trillion by 2030.

How Salesforce Brings AI To Your Business  

You probably use Salesforce to manage your customers’ details, opportunities, purchases and enquiries – but can you anticipate their behaviour? That’s where Salesforce Einstein comes in. It brings easy to use AI to business and helps you make smarter predictions about customer behavior. That means making better use of your time and focusing your attention on the most worthwhile opportunities. For example, Salesforce points out that Einstein for Sales Cloud helps you identify opportunities likely to close as well as when a potential customer is about to lose interest.

Sales and marketing automation is one of the most cost-effective and valuable ways companies can use AI to grow their bottom line. Einstein for Salesforce Marketing Cloud provides predictive scoring, predictive audiences and automated send-time optimisation. That means taking your marketing performance metrics to levels never reached before.

Australian motorcycle company Zero recently partnered with Salesforce to create a fully integrated sales experience for their customers and dealers, from email automation through to a roadside assist service that analyses key data on the bike and remotely diagnoses issues. Zero is looking to increase revenue by 100% this year, and has seen a 50% faster response for emergency services and a 25% reduction in support tickets.

AI is here and it is available to every business thanks to the tools and platforms created by companies like Salesforce. How to get started? Stay tuned for PART 2 to find three steps to obtain AI insights for your business.

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