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80% businesses already investing in AI - all expecting huge ROI

14 Oct 2017

A new study has revealed artificial intelligence (AI) is clearly going to continue its rampant rise to prominence amongst businesses.

A staggering 80 percent of enterprises are investing today in AI, with a third of business leaders believing their company will have to invest more within the next 36 months to keep pace with competitors.

And they’re certainly confident, with companies expecting a 99 percent ROI in the next five years for every dollar invested today and 187 percent ROI over the next 10 years.

The results came from a survey of 260 large global organisations that was conducted by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Teradata.

Despite this growth, respondents are expecting a number of barriers to adoption of AI technology and looking to strategise against those issues by creating a new C-suite position labelled the chief AI officer (CAIO) to streamline and coordinate AI adoption.

“There is an important trend emerging evident in this report — enterprises today see AI as a strategic priority that will help them outpace the competition in their respective industries,” says Atif Kureishy, vice president of Emerging Practices at Think Big Analytics, a Teradata company.

“But to leverage the full potential of this technology and gain maximum ROI, these businesses will need to revamp their core strategies so AI has an embedded role from the data center to the boardroom.”

The industries where respondents expect to see the most impact from AI are IT, technology and telecoms (59 percent), business and professional services (43 percent), and customer services and financial services tied for third (32 percent).

In terms of where businesses expect AI to drive the most revenue, product innovation/research and development came out on top with 50 percent, followed by customer service with 46 percent and supply chain and operations on 42 percent.

According to Vanson Bourne, this mirrored some of the top areas of current AI investment, which include customer experience (62 percent), product innovation (59 percent) and operational excellence (55 percent).

“As we continue to adopt AI solutions across our business, we're finding it is a proven differentiator for creating opportunities to streamline our operations and drive revenue,” says Nadeem Gulzar, head of Global Analytics at Danske Bank.

“Finding the right talent is always a challenge in emerging tech fields and having service-based options, as well as off-the-shelf, will be important to fill the gap as we continue to invest in this technology.”

42 percent of the businesses that are already investing in some form of AI say there is lots of room for further implementation across the business, while 30 percent of all businesses still believe that their organisation isn’t investing enough in AI.

Business leaders appear to be nonchalant about the impact AI and automation will have on employee morale, with just 20 percent seeing this as a barrier.

The leading barriers to AI adoption were deemed a lack of IT infrastructure with 40 percent and a lack of access to talent with 34 percent, followed by lack of budget on 30 percent, complications around policies and regulations with 28 percent, and impact on customer expectations on 23 percent.

Currently the CIO (47 percent) and CTO (43 percent) are leading the effort towards AI adoption, but but 62 percent of respondents say they are planning to hire a dedicated CAIO to lead the effort in the future.

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