UAE businesses struggle with AI knowledge gap: study

Avaya study reveals that 93% of UAE organisations identify AI as one of the most important technologies in 2019

While it is encouraging to see the strong appetite for AI in the UAE, the fact that organisations are still struggling to separate the AI fact from fiction validates the guidance and approach we have been offering our customers, says Yaser Alzubaidi.
While it is encouraging to see the strong appetite for AI in the UAE, the fact that organisations are still struggling to separate the AI fact from fiction validates the guidance and approach we have been offering our customers, says Yaser Alzubaidi.

According to a survey of business leaders in the UAE, almost half of the businesses in the UAE are struggling with a knowledge gap when it comes to adopting artificial intelligence. That gap can be attributed to the confusion between ‘real AI’ and ‘TV/movie AI’ as cited by 44% of UAE respondents — higher than the global average of just 30%. And those organisations that have successfully navigated this potential stumbling block are held back by resource constraints; 40% of UAE organisations claim to lack the in-house skills to facilitate adoption. The research was conducted by Vanson Bourne and sponsored by Avaya.

Given these challenges, it isn’t surprising that 98% of UAE businesses concede that their organisation has work to do if it is to get the most out of AI. However, UAE organisations are keen to overcome the challenges of adopting AI. The majority say that failing to get on-board with AI now will cost their organisation for the next decade.

And because of this worry around being left behind on AI, nearly half of UAE organisations (46%) want to adopt more solutions integrating AI-based technologies.

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“While it is encouraging to see the strong appetite for AI in the UAE, the fact that organisations are still struggling to separate the AI fact from fiction validates the guidance and approach we have been offering our customers,” said Yaser Alzubaidi, senior director – Digital Engagement Solutions, Avaya International. “We have often stated that organisations do not need AI — they need solutions to business issues. Applying AI for the sake of AI can be tempting. However, the main focus of any CEO looking to deliver best-in-class customer and employee experiences should be on utilising AI, if — and only if — it solves a business issue.”

Just 25% of UAE businesses have a fully implemented AI strategy, according to the research, with the remainder still weighing up use cases. With customer experience more important than ever before, Alzubaidi suggests focusing on those applications of AI that can have a measurable positive impact on the customer journey as the best place to start. This means integrating AI into the contact centre.

Yaser Alzubaidi,  Avaya International

UAE businesses agree on this point; 92% of UAE respondents said that effective AI can transform the performance of their contact centre. Indeed, over half (51%) are at least half-way through their strategy for rolling out AI in the contact centre.

“AI can be so much more than chatbots; for example, First Call Resolution (FCR) is a perfect use case for AI that demonstrates this. AI can support the customer service agent by collating all relevant information on the customer, in real-time, and presenting it in a format that allows the agent to easily view, interpret and action the customer’s query without the need for multiple touchpoints,” explained Alzubaidi. “Practical applications like these will offer the fastest route to success in implementing AI.”

Applying AI for the sake of AI can be tempting. However, the main focus of any CEO looking to deliver best-in-class customer and employee experiences should be on utilising AI, if — and only if — it solves a business issue

As AI becomes more prominent, 87% of UAE organisations say they’ll need to look for more third-party support. Recognising this, Avaya has in recent years evolved its product portfolio and partner ecosystem to offer its customers the easiest path to implementing AI into their business.

Acknowledging that AI has the potential to give regional businesses a competitive advantage and enhance the happiness and well-being of citizens, the UAE government aspires to establish the country as a global hub for AI innovation and investment as is evidenced by the UAE AI Strategy 2031.

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