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As we predicted in our DMEXCO trends piece earlier this week, AI is a hot topic on the digital marketer’s agenda this year. It seems every company is looking to leverage it in some way, shape or form. Brands are seeing the advantage of using AI to help automate certain processes in their organisation, personalise communications and enhance the customer experience. In some cases, they are creating their very own personal assistants (think Siri, Cortana and Alexa). Brands everywhere want to see what AI can do for their business but on a panel at yesterday’s DMEXCO, Accenture’s Nikki Mendonça had some words of advice for brands looking to leverage this shiny new piece of tech: skill up before you implement. “When it comes to pivoting to the new, you absolutely have to reskill your workforce,” says Mendonça.

Mendonça is concerned by the lack of investment in AI technologies within business. “We recently discovered that only 3% of executives were actively investing in AI,” she says. “There is the potential for companies to experience a 38% uplift in revenue by 2022 with the proper integration of AI – so it’s something that shouldn’t be ignored.”

Why are brands slow off the starting blocks? While companies are hungry to gain the benefits that AI might bring to their business, Mendonça believes they are simultaneously fearful about the effect it might have on their workforce. Professional services brand Accenture is tackling this issue through education: “We’re helping make AI less threatening,” she says. “We fundamentally believe in responsible AI and that it is not going to replace humans – it is actually going to augment humans. Humans will then be able to spend more time doing things that only humans can do.”

Training and education within the workplace are too often seen as the non-sexy aspect of embracing new technologies such as AI. It is frequently overlooked by companies and viewed by some simply as a compliance ‘tick box’ exercise, something that is completed efficiently and swiftly forgotten about. “Some companies don’t even properly rationalise their training budget, or look at their curriculum with the level of details that they should,” states Mendonça. But, she argues, this is the antithesis of how they should approach training, especially around digital technologies.

“It is incumbent now on the C-Suite to take the training curriculum very seriously, because it’s not like there aren’t jobs to be done,” she says. “It’s just that a lot of people don’t have the necessary skills to do those jobs. It needs to be a C-Suite responsibility to get involved in that training curriculum.”

Not only should training be a task for C-Suiters but, Mendonça argues, it should be engaging and fun to take part in. “[The C-Suite] should champion a very energetic and fun approach to learning, because technology doesn’t have to be stale and boring,” she added. “It can be very, very exciting. It’s incumbent on the C-Suite to really look at modernising their approach to training and make it more engaging.”

This was music to our ears! At Circus Street we fundamentally believe in the transformative impact of engaging and entertaining training programmes: learning doesn’t have to be boring. To get a taste of what our training offers and to see the courses we have available, check out our lesson library or visit our YouTube channel to experience our training first hand.

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