It is too early to say whether artificial intelligence (AI) will fulfill all the hype and promises around it. But in the meantime, the results we see coming together are encouraging. A recently published study shows that the majority of organizations that use AI are still experimenting with technology, with about 12% having technology that really works in a completely “mature” way. Mature AI sites in particular see a strong competitive advantage.
The Accenture study, which covers 1,176 companies and 1,615 executives worldwide, estimates that the number of fully mature artificial intelligence initiatives is expected to grow from 12% to 27% over the next two years. At this point, the majority, 63%, still experience mostly water.
12% who have already mastered AI see an average of 50% higher revenue growth than their peers, according to a team of study authors led by Accenture’s Sanjay Vohra. They gathered another interesting indicator: among the executives of the 2000 largest companies in the world (by market capitalization), those who discussed AI in their calls for profits for 2021 were 40% more likely to see an increase in share prices of their companies – from 23% in 2018. Leading companies are already seeing results – 42% said that the return on their artificial intelligence initiatives exceeded their expectations, while only 1% said that the return did not meet of expectations.
Vohra and his co-authors define AI maturity as “the degree to which organizations outperform their peers in a combination of AI-related foundational and differentiating abilities. These capabilities include technology – data, AI, cloud – as well as organizational strategy, responsible AI, C-suite sponsorship, talent and culture. ”
The report examines what members of this elite 12% – the mature achievements of AI – do differently and goes beyond technological implementations. Along with the science of AI, “our findings show that there is an art to the maturity of AI,” say the authors of Accenture. “Achievers are not determined by the complexity of any particular ability, but by their ability to combine strengths in strategy, processes and people.”
Here are five ways AI Achievers master their craft, according to the study:
Enthusiastic support from C-suite: This is essential as artificial intelligence initiatives compete with other attention and resource initiatives. More than eight out of ten, 83% of AI Achievers are sponsored by executives, compared to experimenters. “Our research also shows that the best AI strategies tend to be bold, even when they have a humble beginning,” said Vohra and co-authors. “Bold AI strategies, in turn, help drive innovation.
Heavy investment in talent and training: AI Achievers are “more likely to invest heavily in AI data creation and smoothness in their workforce,” Accenture analysts said. “We found that 78% of AI achievements – compared to only 51% of experimenters – have mandatory AI training for most employees, from product development engineers to C-suite executives. Nearly half (44%) of the successful have employees with consistently high AI skills, while experimenters (30%) have, on average, significantly fewer such employees.
They think in terms of a “platform”: Call it industrialization, built on reliable input and output data. AI’s achievements seek to build “an operational data platform and AI that integrates companies’ talents, technologies, and data ecosystems, enabling companies to balance experimentation and performance.” This helps to “produce their AI applications and integrate AI into other applications”.
They design AI responsibly from the beginning: Increasingly, AI may need to adapt to laws, regulations and ethics. On average, 53% are more likely to achieve AI than their less mature counterparts “to be responsible for design: designing, developing and implementing AI with the good intention of empowering employees and businesses and having a fair impact on customers and society.”
They give priority to long-term and short-term investments in artificial intelligence. AI achievers get more from AI “simply because they invest more in it,” say Vohra and co-authors. In 2018, AI achievers have dedicated 14% of their total AI technology budgets, while in 2021 they have dedicated 28%. In 2024, they plan to spend 34%. “These companies know that they have only scratched the surface of their AI transformations and that the quality of their investments matters just as much as the quantity. For AIs, ongoing investments largely involve expanding the scope of AI to maximize impact, while pollinating AI solutions and reallocating resources in the process.
Investments in AI are increasing. In 2021, 19% of companies surveyed used more than 30% of their technology budgets for artificial intelligence projects, the study shows. By 2024, the percentage of organizations investing more than 30% of their technology budgets in AI will increase to 49%. Nearly 75% of companies have integrated AI into their business strategies and redesigned their cloud plans to succeed with AI, the survey also shows.