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UK Businesses Turn to AI and Automation to Navigate Permacrisis


In our current world, there is a period of ongoing uncertainty that has been dubbed the "permacrisis." The permacrisis, a term that is a part of my vocabulary now thanks to 8x8 Inc., describes the confluence of multiple crises (including inflation, supply chain disruptions and the ongoing wars). These things created a climate of anxiety and instability for businesses.

8x8 conducted research and revealed that 91% of I businesses felt the effects of the permacrisis to varying degrees. British businesses are increasingly turning to AI and automation to future-proof their operations – 78% of respondents are actively deploying AI and automation solutions.

“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,” said Chris Angus, Vice President, EMEA Contact Centre Engagement at 8x8. “Further, the expectations of customers and employees have also shifted along the way and digital technology has played a fundamental role in enabling organizations to adapt and show resilience.”

AI and automation are seen as key tools to overcome this challenge. Repetitive tasks are being automated, freeing up human employees to focus on more strategic initiatives. This is particularly valuable in areas such as customer service, data analysis and logistics.

AI-powered analytics provide businesses with deeper insights into their operations and customers. This data-driven approach enables them to make better decisions in the face of uncertainty. Automating processes and optimizing resource allocation also leads to significant cost savings, which are crucial in a time of rising inflation and economic pressures.

AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants are improving customer service by providing 24/7 support and personalized experiences. This is crucial for businesses looking to retain customers in a competitive market.

“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,” said Angus.

However, it should be noted that challenges associated with AI and automation adoption may arise. One concern is the potential for job displacement as tasks traditionally performed by humans are automated. This raises questions about the future of work and necessitates a careful consideration of how to mitigate the impact on employment.

Beyond job displacement, ethical implications also loom. Issues related to bias in algorithms, privacy concerns and the responsible use of AI systems require thoughtful consideration. Businesses must prioritize ethical frameworks and standards to ensure that AI technologies are deployed responsibly and with respect for societal values.

Additionally, the rapid pace of technological advancement demands a proactive approach to workforce development. Upskilling and reskilling initiatives become imperative to equip employees with the necessary skills to thrive in an AI-driven environment.

But that all said, do not let those things deter your business from embracing AI and automation. These tools are allowing businesses to build a more resilient and future-proof organization.

Learn more about the future of work from Justin Robbins, Evangelist, 8x8, during his session at Future of Work Expo 2024. Future of Work Expo provides a three-day experience focusing on defining and understanding the changing workplace and workforce, and how companies can leverage technology to succeed in light of these changing dynamics. Future of Work Expo takes place February 13-15, 2024, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, alongside several other business technology events that are part of #TECHSUPERSHOW.

Edited by Alex Passett
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