Business decision-makers are increasingly adopting AI, are you?

Recently Cloudera released a report ‘Limitless – the positive power of AI’ that outlined how AI is increasingly being used by businesses to drive increased performance and improve environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG). The report was produced in partnership with Sapio Research, which surveyed 2,213 business decision-makers working at worldwide organizations with over 1,000 employees. Over 10,000 knowledge workers also participated in the study. 

You can find the full 68 page report here, but we’ve used the reKnow summarizer to extract and summarize the critical findings below. 

The Limitless report found there is a huge shift in attitudes towards AI, ML, and data analytics, with optimism about how these can be used to shape the future through creating wider opportunities and supporting communities. 

The report discussed how AI can help organizations save money and how employees can focus on more meaningful work. It also mentioned how AI can be used to predict what we want and how it can save us time. 

Encouragingly, 91% of business decision-makers believed that there is a need to use AI to deliver more sustainable business practices that benefit both their organizations and the communities they serve. 81% of knowledge workers agreed, showing that they can also see the potential of AI to do good. If all of these businesses achieved this, it could have a transformational impact. 

However, businesses need to do more than just focus on profit to remain competitive. More than half of knowledge workers say they would consider leaving their business if this does not improve. In addition, knowledge workers are clear about the important issues that are important to them. 

Almost all business decision-makers and a majority of knowledge workers believed that AI, ML, and data analytics can be used to a great extent to create more sustainable business practices.  

However, there is a disconnect between these groups when it comes to whether or not their company is actually using these technologies to inform sustainability decisions. Additionally, there is a high potential for business disruption if it were to come to light that the company had the data to make more sustainable decisions but did not act on it. 

The majority of respondents believed that businesses will face serious disruption if they do not take action on sustainability. However, implementing transformation programs to turn good intentions into reality are often complex and extremely challenging. 

91% of business decision-makers said they’re achieving success through existing AI programs, with 89% and 87% of business decision-makers expressing the same opinion about Data Analytics and ML, respectively. These are huge results for technologies that are deemed to be relatively new. 

Business decision-makers say the top three benefits of AI are cost-saving (45%), accuracy (44%), and allowing the company to scale deployment of other emerging technologies (40%).  

Knowledge workers also called out time-saving (58%), cost-saving (56%), and accuracy (40%) as the top three benefits of AI. Both groups identified time and cost savings as the main benefits of ML and Data Analytics. 

A third of knowledge workers believed the top three potential negative impacts of their company’s further adoption of AI technology will be: disruption due to change affecting productivity (34%), redundancies (34%), and having to retrain (33%). 

Romain Picard, Vice President of EMEA for Cloudera, said that businesses need to consider the use of AI holistically, so that entire processes are reimagined, along with the redesign of tasks to blend machine and employee skills. 

Some of the other findings included: 

  • Almost two-thirds of business decision-makers said they play an active role in decision making about the implementation of AI, ML, and Data Analytics in their organization but are doing so with limited understanding. 
  • Employees believe their job roles are about to change, but instead of fear, there’s optimism. 
  • Business decision-makers recognize that technology doesn’t stand still and that continual training, upskilling, and reskilling will be needed. 
  • Over the next 36 months, 33% of business decision-makers plan to support training for their employees in Data Analytics, 21% in ML, and 20% in AI. 
  • 72% of business decision-makers and knowledge workers agree that businesses will need to invest more in reskilling staff to ensure a fair playing field for all employees. 
  • To this end, 91% of business decision-makers revealed that their organization will commit to continuous investment in reskilling employees as more tasks are automated. 

To achieve this, business decision-makers tell us they are working with partners (51%) and in-house training (49%) to help attract and retain talent that can work alongside AI/ML/Data Analytics technologies in the future, while knowledge workers said their organization is working with partners (42%) and in-house training (42%). 

As much as 71% of business decision-makers believe that government and business have an equal responsibility to help close the digital skills gap, as do 66% of knowledge workers. 

The report also discussed five obstacles to businesses adopting AI, being technological preparedness, emotional preparedness, environmental preparedness, human-centricity in an age of AI, and the transformation of the future.