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Following the chaos of the early days of the pandemic, US businesses turned en masse to artificial intelligence (AI) to improve decisions, our research reveals. With huge volumes of data at their disposal, AI and analytics offered the best way forward in a complex and seemingly unpredictable business environment. But many soon discovered that creating a virtuous data-to-intelligence cycle transcends mere technology investment; it requires a step change in strategic thinking.

Our research found that AI leaders put humans at the center of their AI strategy and invest in technologies that propel intelligent decisioning forward. This approach explains to some degree why laggards have struggled to move beyond the low-hanging fruits of AI by deploying rules-based chatbots and embracing elementary forms of data mining.

Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work (CFoW), working with Thoughtlab, surveyed 1,000 C-level US executives to understand how businesses are using AI to adapt to rapid change.