Enterprise AI moving beyond experimentation

What is the impact artificial intelligence (AI) technology implementations in the enterprise are having on return-on-investment (ROI), the workforce and organisational leadership?

A research report from Infosys this morning coming out of the World Economic Forum in Davos attempts to answer this.

The research findings point to a fundamental shift in how enterprises operate as AI takes hold. Enterprises are moving beyond the experimentation phase with AI, deploying AI technologies more broadly and realising benefits across their business.

According to the survey, 73% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their AI deployments have already transformed the way they do business, and 90% of c-level executives reported measurable benefits from AI within their organisation.

>See also: Enterprise AI moving beyond experimentation 

Additionally, the data showed organisations are taking steps to prepare employees and business leaders for the future of work, with 53% of respondents indicating that their organisation has increased training in the job functions most affected by AI deployments.

Mohit Joshi, president at Infosys said: “While it’s fair to say that, like most promising new technologies, there has been a tremendous amount of hype around AI, it turns out that the vast majority of enterprises with AI deployments are realising clear and measurable results. AI, as the research shows, is becoming core to business strategy, and is compelling business leaders to alter the way they hire, train and inspire teams, and the way they compete and foster innovation. Industry disruption from AI is no longer imminent, it is here. The organisations that embrace AI with a clearly defined strategy and use AI to amplify their workforce rather than replace it, will take the lead, and those that don’t will fall behind or find themselves irrelevant.”

Beyond experimentation

AI deployments are no longer imminent but are becoming pervasive, as 86% of organisations surveyed have middle- or late-stage AI deployments and view AI as a major facilitator of future business operations.

80% who said they’ve seen at least some measurable benefits from AI agreed or strongly agreed that their organisation had a defined strategy for deployment, while 53% of all respondents said that their industry has already experienced disruption due to artificial intelligence technologies.

Beyond automation

The benefits of AI span the business value chain. A majority of organisations (66%) start off using AI to automate routine or inefficient processes, but businesses in later stages of AI deployment are leveraging the technology to innovate and differentiate.

>See also: Getting enterprise on the fast-track with AI

For example, 80% of IT decision makers at organisations in later stages of AI deployment reported that they are using AI to augment existing solutions, or build new business-critical solutions and services to optimise insights and the consumer experience. 42% of these organisations also expect significant impact in research and development in the next five years.

ROI market and industry breakdown

India, the United States and China led geographies with the most respondents stating that their organisation has realised direct, tangible results from deploying AI technologies.

Australia trailed behind the leading geographies followed by the United Kingdom, Germany and France. The leading industries currently using AI to automate business processes include retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG), followed by telecom and communication service providers and banking and insurance.

Investing in people

Investing in people is key to AI success. According to the report, 77% of respondents surveyed were confident that employees in their organisation can be trained for the new job roles AI technologies will create.

>See also: Artificial intelligence is transforming the enterprise

Respondents showed commitment to this belief by ranking training and recruitment as the top areas of investment in order for AI technologies to make an impact. C-level executives likewise called out training the leadership team on AI as a top priority.

AI leadership

AI leadership essentials include strategy and training, according to the report. Four out of five c-level executives said that their future business strategy will be informed through opportunities made available with AI technology.

Business leaders were confident that their executive teams have the ability to adapt their leadership skills as AI technologies are adopted, with the majority of executives in agreement. However, training on the executive level is still critical as three-fourths of IT decision makers felt that their executives would benefit from formal training on the implications of AI technologies.

The challenges

Data management is a persistent obstacle, with nearly half of IT decision makers reporting that their organisation is unable to deploy the AI technologies they want because their data is not ready to support the requirements of AI technologies. As such, approximately 77% of IT decision makers said that their organisation is investing in data management.

>See also: Oracle makes a big play for the enterprise AI market

Furthermore, c-level executives reported that their leadership team is concerned with the implications of industry regulations on their ability to use AI technologies within their business and the potential advantages AI technologies could lend to competition.

Ethical concerns

The report found that 69% of c-level executives said that employees within their organisation are concerned AI technologies will replace them. However, ranked among the top two ways their current AI deployments have impacted their business, 48% of respondents cited that AI has augmented human skills to make their people better at their work, and 45% said AI is making for better employees because it frees up their time for higher value work.

A new kind of professional

The rise of AI professionals throughout the ranks of businesses will become more common. According to the data, IT will continue to be the most affected job function over the next five years. However, AI is beginning to have a growing impact on marketing and communications, human resources and legal departments.

>See also: Despite the hype, AI adoption still in early stages

AI leaders will become fixtures in the c-suite and throughout the organisation as an overwhelming majority of IT decision makers from organisations in the late stages of digital transformation said that their organisation plans to have a dedicated team of AI professionals.

Business leaders are optimistic that AI technologies will ultimately create more opportunity for employees than they will eliminate, with many widely agreeing that AI technologies will have a positive effect on their workforce, and equally benefit customers and employees.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...