Who’s Ready for AI?: The AI Investment Gap

While the excitement of Augmented Intelligence (AI) continues to permeate industry circles and news headlines, it’s unclear how much of the business market is actually ready to adopt it. Curious to better understand the current state of AI, Bluewolf conducted a new survey among Salesforce decision-makers and across industries to gauge the maturity of business system infrastructure. What did we find? The AI Investment Gap–a discrepancy between C-Level executives who understand AI and those who have yet to deploy it into their business. AI can sound intimidating, but it is quickly becoming the ultimate market differentiator for business transformation–companies of any size and industry can benefit from using AI to deliver the personalized, simple experiences customers have come to expect from the digital business era.

In the C-suite, 82% of respondents understand the impact AI can have on their organization. Of this group, 67% have already made an investment in AI to support their business. As enterprise software continues to evolve, it is increasingly valuable to review IT and business processes to ensure your CRM and its most advanced technological capabilities are serving the entire organization.

In particular, AI and other advanced analytics tools are transforming the role of analysts. Among respondents from Financial Services, an industry in which there is a larger number of analysts, 25% use AI today, and 29% expect to purchase AI within 12 months. This means 54% have made some level of investment today or plan to in 12 months. Able to focus on high-value tasks, industries that invest in AI can expect to benefit in cost and time savings, as well as revenue growth.

From the small business respondents, only 21% use AI in their business, today. Small retail business owners can combine local shopping patterns, weather, and retail industry data from IBM Watson with customer-specific shopping data and preferences from Salesforce Einstein. With AI, the small business owner can automatically deliver highly personalized and localized campaigns to shoppers.

In the process of adopting AI, enterprise organizations face a dual challenge of balancing the improvements in productivity and satisfaction while they shift the digital mindset of the organization. 30% of enterprise respondents use AI in their business today and 44% of enterprise organizations expect to purchase capabilities within the next 12 months. Take note–in case you didn’t catch that–74% of enterprise organizations will have deployed or be using AI within the next 12 months.

With the growth in agile business models and the changes in how employees interact, the way we do work is changing dramatically. Access to data for faster, smarter decision-making is paramount, but improving this cannot be at the expense of productivity. Enterprise organizations need to unify the nuances of their operating model with AI capabilities, in order to demonstrate value quickly.

At Bluewolf, we believe AI is a computer system that enhances human capabilities with deep data analysis and actionable insights. It doesn’t discriminate across role or industry. In some cases, manual tasks will be fully automated; in other cases, they will provide recommendations and guidance for a more effective human/machine interaction.

Many companies have already begun integrating AI/cognitive components and functionality in their products, like IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein, to provide predictions, assistance, recommendations, and guidance on tasks across Sales, Marketing, and Service. We recognize that businesses of all sizes and industries can take advantage of AI, now.

The AI Investment Gap Survey was a quick poll of 177 respondents. Their views, and others, will be further explored in The 2018 State of Salesforce report, due to release in September 2017. Join your peers to participate in The State of Salesforce Report 2017-2018 by taking the survey here.


Bluewolf, an IBM Company, is a global consulting agency and proven Salesforce strategic partner that builds digital solutions designed to create results. Now.