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78% UK IT decision makers deploying AI and automation

8x8, Inc, an integrated cloud contact centre and unified communications platform provider, has unveiled how companies are dealing with this current time of instability and insecurity, which is impacting British businesses by turning to AI and automation.

The new report from 8x8, Permacrisis: The View from the IT Frontline, surveyed over 550 IT decision makers of UK businesses with over 500 employees about how permacrisis (a period defined as an extended time of instability and insecurity) has impacted organisations and their IT teams. The report explores the ongoing effect of operating in uncertain times and the technology and approaches businesses are using to address it.

Impact of the UK’s Permacrisis

91 per cent of respondents are feeling the effects of the permacrisis to some degree, with two-thirds stating that macro issues are accelerating their organisation’s digital transformation plans.

Multiple and consistent challenges have led to a feeling of crisis fatigue among employees, with fewer than 9 per cent of respondents citing that their colleagues do not appear to be fatigued by ongoing events.

Across the different UK businesses, many industries, including education, health, retail, and others, agreed that inflation, Brexit, and the COVID-19 pandemic have had the largest impact in recent years.

Adapting to change

With the change and uncertainty of the last decade, organisations have to be agile to ensure business continuity. More than 94 per cent of IT decision-makers reported that their organisation is implementing technology changes to reduce crisis fatigue and be future-ready, with customer engagement and communication systems allowing them to manage ongoing instability and uncertainty.

Two areas being seen as key in helping through this period are AI and automation. Both of these technologies are being seen as able to help streamline workloads, reduce routine manual work, and increase both customer and employee satisfaction, while 76 per cent of respondents agree that their organisation is using the technology to better serve customers.

Chris Angus, VP, EMEA Contact Centre Engagement at 8x8, Inc said, “the UK has experienced a number of crises over the last decade, with no end in sight. As a result of this unprecedented series of ongoing, unexpected events at the societal and global level, businesses are being forced to constantly adapt to significant amounts of change. Further, the expectations of customers and employees have also shifted along the way and digital technology has played a fundamental role in enabling organisations to adapt and show resilience. As companies now have more data and demand for real-time insights, the use of AI will go beyond customer engagement, and be deployed to run more efficient businesses and provide better services and offerings.”

The Importance of being future ready

Organisations can enhance business resilience by preparing and ensuring the right tools are used to ease communication and reduce friction in the event of a crisis, without adding to the burden on IT and digital teams. Moving forward, nearly all organisations are planning to use communication systems to manage instability and uncertainty, with planned use cases including automating processes (51%), managing staff performance (47%), and predicting customer and employee trends (44%).

When considering the most valuable call handling tool for a crisis situation, 40 per cent cited virtual agents/chatbots. Meanwhile, auto attendant (19%) and voicemail (22%) are considered to be the least valuable call-handling tools in a crisis.

The survey for the report was carried out in March 2023.

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