Few organisations have a clear strategy for AI

Just 15% of organisations have a clearly defined and well-understood AI strategy in place, research from Mesh-AI has found, which also exposed that the top technical challenges to AI adoption are poor data quality (40%) and accessibility (38%).

Based on the responses from 200 business leaders, the IT consulting firm looked at what organisations are actually doing with AI and, perhaps more importantly, what they are not doing.

Mesh-AI found that enterprises have varying degrees of familiarity with AI concepts and different depths of maturity when it comes to implementation. A couple already have specialised teams, while others are working with just a few dispersed experts. Mesh-AI found that some organisations are only just beginning their AI journey and are not yet familiar with the core concepts and principles.

The study found the the first use of AI is to improve existing business processes and customer relations. These AI-based process improvements tend to be put in place before enterprises turn to using AI to create fresh business value and drive new revenues, such as developing AI-enabled products that leverage real-time processing, deep personalisation and dynamic analysis based on multiple data sources, including third parties.

The study found that despite the importance of AI in business model among 90% of enterprises, only a quarter of the IT leaders surveyed are ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ familiar with the core concepts, principles, standards and practices. It found that the vast majority (75%) are at best ‘moderately’ familiar, with 6% being ‘completely’ unfamiliar, while only 7% are ‘extremely’ familiar with it.

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“In our research, the biggest barrier to AI adoption was determining how to apply AI solutions to business problems, which was cited by 22% of respondents, and 7% more than regulation and compliance,” the authors of Mesh-AI’s The state of AI in the enterprise report wrote.

Mesh-AI believes this is reflective of the gap in understanding which business domains and divisions can benefit the most from AI, and how to roll this out, that can be found in so many organisations. According to Mesh-AI, without this connection, AI projects will be severed from business objectives and value creation will be limited, turning AI into a siloed project instead of an organisational capability.

Michael Chalmers, CEO of Mesh-AI, said: “Enterprises evidently recognise the value of AI for their business model and the potential benefits are well known. As a result, there is a strong desire across the enterprise world to harness the technology. However, our research shows that most have not yet fully figured out how to adopt AI in a strategic way and the overall understanding of AI’s technical concepts are lacking.”

While AI certainly has the potential to drive business results, Chalmers recommended that organisations first develop a solid AI strategy that clearly aligns with wider business goals and put the right data foundations in place. Such an approach, according to Chalmers, is essential if businesses want to apply AI technology to solve business problems effectively.

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