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Customers don't fear AI but need plenty of education around it

A couple of pieces of research into the reaction of UK businesses to artificial intelligence has indicated there is an educational role for the channel to play if the technology is to become more widely adopted

It is still early days for the channel to be pitching AI solutions but the awareness of the technology is growing in the customer base and the need for conversations about how it could work need to start happening.

Although customers are largely positive about AI and don't see it as a threat to jobs more widespread adoption in the UK is being held back because of a lack of understanding about the technology.

Research from Genesys found that nearly two-thirds of UK employees quizzed in the survey saw value in having AI tools in the workplace with many viewing it as a chance for them to be more effective with their time.

The findings should help ease some reseller fears that any conversation about AI would be met with resistance from staff worried about their jobs.

“It’s encouraging that UK’s workers recognise the potential new technologies such as AI have to make their jobs more fulfilling and the value it can bring to businesses,” said Steve Leeson, vice president for UK and Ireland at Genesys.

There were some concerns that training would not be made available with staff keen to access support that would enable them to master the benefits of AI.

“Some jobs will evolve as human work combines with the capabilities of AI. It’s increasingly important for companies to assess the need for training programs to help employees further skills like creativity, leadership and empathy, which AI just can’t replace.
Businesses that adopt a blended approach to artificial intelligence, where AI-technologies work in unison with employees, will get the best out of their technology investment and their skilled workforce," added Leeson.

But before most customers get to that stage there is plenty of education required, a situation made clear in research from Avaya. Customers blamed knowledge gaps and inaccurate reporting of AI capabilities as some of the challenges they were dealing with.

“Many of our customers across the UK and Ireland come to us to discuss how they can deploy AI intelligently, and today’s research highlights the challenges UK businesses are facing. They are stood at a cliff edge looking down into the water wondering if they will sink or swim with AI," said Gregg Widdowson, customer engagement solutions leader at Avaya UK and Ireland.

“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 AI’s 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," he added.

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