Artificial intelligence (AI) has evolved from an exciting technology into a critical business tool, according to our groundbreaking global study conducted with ESI ThoughtLab. We surveyed 1,200 senior executives around the world, including more than 370 from the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, to understand how AI is being deployed in an increasingly uncertain world.
Across APAC industries, 71% of respondents see AI as an essential ingredient in business success, and 45% consider themselves to be either in the leaders or advancers category, suggesting the potential for sustained growth of AI adoption in the region.
Clearly, APAC is moving in the right direction. AI projects in APAC are smaller and more discrete than those in other regions, enabling organizations to more quickly reap returns — relatively speaking. We believe this approach has helped APAC businesses gain comfort and competency with maturing AI toolsets and replicate success across the organization — one step at a time.
With modest accomplishments under their belts, we believe the time is now right for leading organizations to shift gears to higher value, enterprise-wide projects that could potentially change the competitive landscape by delivering new products/services and ways of working. Naturally, there are challenges. In the aftermath of COVID, data modernization has emerged as one, as businesses come to realize their data and analytics/models are highly perishable. APAC businesses are acutely aware of this and plan to diversify their sources of data over the next three years.
AI talent — or the lack thereof — is another key challenge for businesses across the region, as it is the world over. Most companies told us they rely on internal talent development and technology partners to fill the gap. This talent shortcoming is creating major implementation/project management obstacles, which are cited by nearly half of respondents as their biggest challenge.
Increased productivity, improved customer satisfaction and employee engagement are among the biggest benefits APAC businesses are achieving through AI. By unlocking game-changing capabilities such as faster and more accurate forecasting, AI offers organizations throughout the region the opportunity to optimize operations and perhaps even adjust for ongoing business volatility.