Germinating in R&D labs since the 1940s, artificial intelligence (AI) is slowly but surely moving into the mainstream across the consumer world. But in the enterprise space, AI remains bound by concerns about balancing its responsible development, deployment and usage with its ability to deliver business value. And while there’s widespread recognition of AI’s immense potential, many organizations are still working to determine how AI can move the needle where it makes the most sense: controlling costs, unleashing new customer experiences and offering an intelligent foundation for creating products and services that drive topline growth.
Given the hype, it’s no wonder that the AI market is expected to grow at a strong 36% CAGR to reach $191 billion by 2025. And according to Gartner, global business value created from AI is projected to total $3.9 trillion in 2022.
To gauge executive perceptions of and achievement with AI, we recently surveyed 975 business leaders from organizations in the U.S. and Europe. While our study uncovered widespread enthusiasm and optimism about AI, it also revealed AI’s nascent stage of adoption. For instance, the vast majority of AI projects (78%) remain in experimental stages (i.e., proofs of concept and prototypes).
The state of the state of AI in business
The following are the key takeaways gleaned from our study:
- Most respondents consider AI to be vital to business success. The vast majority of respondents across industries view AI as extremely or very important to their business. Not surprisingly, respondents were also optimistic about AI’s ability to generate benefits, including cost efficiency, revenues and new products and services.
Moreover, most respondents expect major or significant benefits in terms of revenue growth from their use of AI. In fact, almost all expect value to increase significantly within three years, with financial services and technology industry companies leading the pack.
- AI is infiltrating multiple business functions. Among all business functions, customer service appears to be a prime target for AI use across industries. This is understandable, since customer satisfaction, engagement and buy-in is critical to ensuring business success and justification of an AI-led transformation agenda.
Organizations are also focusing their AI efforts on areas that are core to the business, such as operations in the healthcare industry, production in manufac- turing and R&D in technology.
- Choice of AI technology is influenced by functional area and associated processes. Respondents reported using all five of the AI technologies included in our study at a fairly similar rate (see Figure 1).
Organizations seem to attach equal importance to the various technologies that can power an AI strategy. However, virtual agents (conversational AI) and computer vision (machine intelligence algorithms that recognize patterns, among other things) led other AI technologies by a small margin. Respondents said their companies are selectivelydeploying technologies tailored to specific functional areas, such as virtual agents for customer service and bots in production.