Deloitte Survey Reveals Gaps Between ‘Seasoned’ AI Adopters and Others

A new Deloitte survey of IT executives shows that businesses are entering a new chapter in AI implementation in which early adopters may have to work harder to preserve a competitive edge.

This is the third iteration of the Big 4 firm’s “State of AI in the Enterprise” survey, conducted at the end of 2019.

As more organizations buy AI-powered technologies, the most successful companies will be the ones using AI to pursue creative and new applications while addressing the risks of AI and becoming more savvy consumers, the survey of 2,737 executives says.

“Our study results show that while early adopters of AI are still bullish, their competitive advantage may be waning as barriers to adoption continue to fall and more creative use of the technology grows,” says Nitin Mittal, principal and AI co-leader of Deloitte Consulting. “In the era of pervasive AI, where capabilities are readily available, organizations should go beyond efficiency and push boundaries to create new AI-powered products and services to be successful.”

Findings include:

  • 90% of seasoned adopters say AI is very or critically important to their organization’s business success.
  • 61% of respondents say AI will substantially transform their industry in the next three years.
  • 53% of adopters are spending more than $20 million during the past year on AI and talent.
  • Only 47% say that they have a high level of skill around selecting AI technologies and suppliers.
  • Almost all (95%) surveyed expressed concerns around ethical risks for their AI initiatives.
  • Cybersecurity remains the most worrisome AI risk for adopters.

The survey also shows growing caution. More than half the respondents (56%) said their organization is slowing adoption of AI technologies because of the emerging risks, and the same proportion believe that negative public perceptions will slow or stop adoption of some AI technologies. Also, 57% have “major” or “extreme” worries about how new and changing regulations could impact their AI initiatives.

“AI will be viewed as a necessity by more and more organizations in a post COVID-19 world and the leading organizations are figuring out how to make it a strategic competitive advantage. In a future where AI is ubiquitous, adopters should be creative, become smarter AI consumers, and establish themselves as trustworthy guardians of customer data in order to remain relevant and stay ahead of the competition,” says Paul Silverglate, vice chairman, Deloitte’s U.S. technology sector leader.

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