The C-suite is ready for the artificial intelligence age. Approximately 87% of senior executives consider the technology "important" or "very important" for products and services, and 92% find it of the same value for internal business processes, according to the 2017 Deloitte report on cognitive and AI technology.
More than half of companies are deploying robotic process automation, statistical machine learning and natural language processing or generation while around one-third are using deep learning neural networks and physical robots. These technologies aren't cheap. Close to 40% of companies have invested at least $5 million into these projects, and information technology has received around 64% of this investment.
More than 40% of companies fell under what Deloitte called the "Fast Lane" segment and were more likely to innovate with cognitive and AI technologies. "Waders," the quarter of respondent companies still testing the waters, were more likely to pursue automation. While both segments demonstrate the same excitement for bringing new solutions to the market, more than one-half of fast lane companies manage to do so compared to one-third of Slow Lane companies.
Much like GDPR compliance, if a company has yet to form an AI strategy, let alone begin application, it will likely find itself far behind the curve.
AI is the next wave of digital transformation, and companies not willing to get behind the technology run the risk of acquisition or failure.
Deloitte's distinction between segments of the enterprise and how they harness AI illustrates an important trend in how the technology disrupts workplaces. Companies not willing to go full in and only try out the low-hanging fruit of AI will be relegated to basic applications such as automation, which may trigger job cuts of manual or repetitive labor and backlash.
It is up to CIOs to lead their company's AI strategy in a transformative way for the company and not just implement AI for the sake of having the technology. Democratized AI tools will facilitate this process and offset the shortage in AI talent.