SafriCloud recently conducted research which found that South African businesses are facing several obstacles to implementing AI solutions, but are excited about the prospects of this technology.
Safricloud surveyed nearly 1,000 stakeholders to determine sentiment among South African businesses and IT professionals regarding AI.
It is important for Safricloud to understand this sentiment as it makes it easier for the organisation to assist its clients with AI-solutions that are suitable for the South African market’s current state.
The research also provides an interesting picture of how South African businesses are using AI in comparison to their global counterparts.
The survey found that local stakeholders are desperately trying to balance their current requirements and future expectations in a tough economic climate, which results in mixed sentiments regarding this technology.
While stakeholders may be split on how effectively their organisations are able to leverage this technology, there is widespread excitement about the potential it holds.
Resourcing and skills
The Safricloud report found that stakeholders have significant concerns regarding the quality of AI skills and knowledge available to them.
Only 35% of all respondents said their organisations currently have internal resources focused on AI, while over half of all respondents said that low internal skill levels in the field of AI is a big obstacle to effective AI adoption.
With nearly 60% of respondents believe it is important that they implement AI solutions in the next two years, this highlights the big skills gap in the South African market, meaning that experienced employees with AI skills are at a premium.
This is likely to increase the salary demands of those who have high AI skill levels, and Safricloud predicts that the AI skills gap South African businesses currently face will continue to grow as inexperienced employees will enter the market still needing to be trained in using AI solutions.
42% of all respondents saying that fear of the unknown is one of their biggest challenges to adopting AI, showing that organisations are excited about the possibilities AI offers, but uncertain how to take advantage of these opportunities.
Safricloud suggests that those who are yet to implement AI in their businesses start small so that they can get quick and easy wins while gaining valuable experience in this important technology.
A great first step is to ensure that your data is structured, as this type of data results in the best AI performance.
Once you have gathered experience with smaller, easier projects, you can plan larger AI undertakings with increased confidence.
Current and near-future benefits
Stakeholders perceive that IT will be the division that benefits the most from AI.
This is understandable as it is the department that manages many of the solutions used by other departments, and AI solutions implemented across the business will reduce the number of mundane tasks they must perform.
Currently, however, it is communications that is reaping the most benefits from AI, as chatbots, live chat, and knowledge base self-service are among the most popular AI-powered solutions in use.
AI-powered finance solutions are also doing a great job of removing repetitive tasks that these employees have historically needed to perform.
It is important to note that AI will not eliminate more jobs than it will create long-term; it will simply result in employees using their time smarter and for more important tasks.
If you want to leverage AI to improve your business communications systems, SafriCloud is ready to assist you.
SafriCloud offers unified and integrated cloud communications products and services which are driven by powerful technologies, such as AI.
Its expert technicians offer deployments that take just a day to complete, while their managed services solutions mean you can focus on business-related tasks and projects.
Its support team is always ready to help, while the combination of SafriCloud and the cloud results in easy scalability and pay-as-you-use pricing.
SafriCloud clients include major names such as Shoprite, SA Home Loans, and Britam.