IT Brief New Zealand - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
Story image
Shockingly low AI readiness reveals challenges for New Zealand organisations
Tue, 21st Nov 2023

Cisco disclosed its maiden AI Global Readiness Index. This unique study aims to understand the level of preparedness of organisations around the world in terms of deploying AI into their operations. Shockingly, only 9% of New Zealand's organisations are fully equipped to incorporate and maximise AI.

The Index brought to light the vast difference between the aspiration of Kiwi firms to adopt AI and the actual readiness for AI integration across areas like strategy, infrastructure, data, governance, talent and culture. Additionally, Cisco developed an AI readiness tool, permitting New Zealand businesses to evaluate and compare their readiness.

While 14% of global respondents were prepared for AI deployment, 61% of these organisations believe that they could lose their competitive edge due to AI's rapid advancement. Furthermore, although 67% have strategies in place, these are more high-level concepts, with businesses unprepared for deployment.

Approximately 93% of New Zealand organisations reported that the urgent necessity to adopt AI-powered technologies has risen over the past six months. There exist considerable gaps in six key business areas, with 91% accepting their unreadiness to assimilate AI entirely. Alarmingly, 65% feel that they have a year at most to implement their AI strategy or risk severe business impact.

In comparison to global organisations, NZ entities are notably advanced in terms of strategic readiness. However, among the six readiness pillars, they lag in Data (#4), Talent (#5), and Culture (#6).

The index was unveiled to underscore the rapid consumption of AI and the major technological shift it is causing in businesses and individuals across the region. However, Cisco advised Kiwi firms to establish the essential groundwork for AI implementation to avoid potential failure.

This report is backed by a blindfold study involving 8,161 business and IT leaders involved with AI, across 30 markets, from companies with more than 500 employees. Of these, 191 were respondents from New Zealand.

The Index concluded that AI readiness is lacking not only in Kiwi firms but also globally due to a lack of focus on vital areas like infrastructure and governance and a lack of scalability when faced with AI challenges. It further observed that despite a highly defined AI strategy, most of the respondents hesitated to embrace AI, underlining that more needs to be done on this front.

The readiness was studied across six key areas: strategy, infrastructure, data, talent, governance, and culture. Almost one-third of the respondents were deemed "Pacesetters" or fully prepared. However, the AI readiness tool revealed that 62% of Kiwi organisations were less prepared, categorised as "Laggards" (4%) or "Followers" (58%), pinpointing several significant gaps.

Despite these drawbacks, organisations across New Zealand demonstrated a high level of motivation to make AI a priority, with more than seven out of ten (72%) organisations embracing AI with moderate to high urgency. From these insights, it is evident that the AI Readiness race is on.