Artificial Intelligence is fundamentally changing how businesses operate, make decisions, and engage with customers. In our recent research, 64% of decision-makers rate AI as very important. However, just 29% of respondents across industries are at a maturing or advanced level in implementing AI.
Early adopters of tech
What is the hesitation about? And what is the state of AI maturity? According to Erik Dingvall, AI & Analytics Director at Cognizant Sweden, the Nordic region is small, yet advanced. Industries like manufacturing have already embraced technologies like AI, smart factories, digital twins, AR and VR simply because they must for remaining competitive.
The same goes for the Banking sector; since labor cost is high in the Nordics, we have already digitalized large parts of the sector, says Anna Suhr Trzecieski, Data & AI Director at Cognizant Denmark. In the financial sector, AI investments have also been spent on ensuring regulatory and privacy matters.
Stig Martin Fiskå, AI & Analytics Director at Cognizant Norway, agrees that the Nordics is digitally mature in general. Reaching the next level of maturity is another story though; when we look at the major enterprise companies, many of them didn’t do their core modernization homework 10-15 years ago. This is harming them now. Without having moved to the cloud, a prerequisite to succeed, the AI journey isn’t that straightforward. If you are in the cloud, on the other hand, you’re in a good position to become truly a data-driven business.
ROI in AI projects
When Cognizant surveyed leaders, 40% said that their AI projects didn’t have any immediate return. Why is it so hard? The most essential piece to succeed is a clear focus on the real business problem you want to solve together with built-in capabilities to scale the initiative, according to Stig Martin Fiskå.
Cognizant themselves have learned AI the hard way in various projects, among them is Norwegian engineering firm Kvaerner. Here, AI enables automation in design processes to optimize construction design and to reach the market faster.
Snowflake’s data platform
Another company with vast AI experience is Snowflake. Mats Stellwall is Senior Sales Engineer at Snowflake. According to him, organizations shouldn’t view AI as a silver bullet. Initiatives need to be part of the overall strategy rather than isolated islands. So far, most organizations have focused on having the fundamentals in place: infrastructure, platforms and involvement across the company.
Companies also spend a lot of time handling their data rather than utilizing it. Snowflake Data Cloud addresses this issue; it helps companies discover, analyze and share both internal and external 3rd party data, breaking down the barriers of siloed data. Cognizant is an official Snowflake partner and helps companies unlock the power of AI on basis of the platform.
Key AI challenges
What are the key challenges for AI projects then? The AI director trio all agrees on this one: it’s about having the right people in the right place. Companies shouldn’t focus too much on the IT side; the business side should be equally involved. AI needs to be de-mystified, employees need upskilling and access to the right AI tools. Change should be driven top-down: it all starts with company culture and people. And don’t be afraid to try, fail, and try again in small steps.
It also helps to be accompanied along the AI journey. Cognizant is one of the largest data and AI consultancy organizations in the world, with over 400 AI experts in the Nordics alone (and named an AI leader by Forrester). Find out more about our view in this new eBook with insights from Cognizant’s Nordic AI leaders, survey data, and local case studies.