UK brands are embarking on a major recruitment drive to adopt artificial intelligence as they race to make sense of customer data and deliver more relevant, personalised experiences, while staying on the right side of GDPR.
So says a report by Adobe, which reveals an overwhelming majority (91%) of UK businesses view personalisation as a priority, although fewer than one third (30%) said they are currently delivering the required level of personalisation.
Current levels of personalisation are behind key competitor markets (42% in Germany, 35% in Switzerland and France), meaning there is clearly still work to do and more effective data management must be a priority.
More than half (59%) of UK brands surveyed said they cannot process data quickly enough at present, while 52% said that they collect too much data from too many sources.
GDPR is adding another layer of complexity to brands’ personalisation strategies, with over two-fifths of UK businesses (43%) saying that the EU’s new data protection regulation had held them back to some degree in the drive towards personalisation.
The research shows UK companies have an aggressive timeline for the implementation of AI for business and customer data analytics. Just under three quarters (70%) plan to have implemented AI for business and customer analytics by next year, going up to 92% by the end of 2020.
Consequently, 71% of firms are hiring new staff to ensure they have the skills needed to benefit from the technology, with IT skills (58%), data analytics skills (50%) and ethical skills and understanding (48%) the most sought-after. Some 74% are also training their current workforce.
Adobe EMEA vice-president of marketing Bridget Perry said: “UK companies are acutely aware that they need to get closer to their customers, and provide more personalised services if they are to stay relevant. The level of analytics required for effective personalisation at scale may have seemed impossible just a few years ago, but AI has made it a reality, allowing companies to quickly gain vital customer insights from huge volumes of data.
“UK brands don’t just see AI as a technology issue. They are focusing on a wider set of skills, including skills to help them manage the improved customer experience and skills to ensure they take an approach that is ethically and culturally right for them and their customers.”
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