Enterprise Use of AI has Grown 270 per cent Globally Over the Past Four Years

Companies are adopting artificial intelligence like it's going out of style

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It seems companies are finally taking interest in artificial intelligence to grow their business. In the past four years, the number of enterprises implementing these technologies has grown by 270 per cent.

And in the past year, the adoption has tripled.

According to the Gartner, Inc. 2019 CIO Survey, organizations across all industries use AI in a variety of applications but struggle with acute talent shortages.

"Four years ago, AI implementation was rare, only 10 percent of survey respondents reported that their enterprises had deployed AI or would do so shortly. For 2019, that number has leapt to 37 percent — a 270 percent increase in four years," says Chris Howard, distinguished research vice president at Gartner, in the press release. "If you are a CIO (chief information officer) and your organization doesn't use AI, chances are high that your competitors do and this should be a concern."

To reach the conclusion, Gartner gathered data from over 3,000 CIO respondents in 89 countries across major industries, representing $15 trillion in revenue and public-sector budgets and $284 billion in IT spending.

The specifics

The deployment of AI rose from 25 per cent in 2018 to 37 percent today. The reasons for this big jump, the survey say, is that AI capabilities have matured significantly and thus enterprises are more willing to implement the technology. "We still remain far from general AI that can wholly take over complex tasks, but we have now entered the realm of AI-augmented work and decision science — what we call "augmented intelligence'," adds Howard.

The survey notes that CIOs have realized that sustainable digital transformation and task automation go hand in hand. AI has become an integral part of every digital strategy and is already used in a variety of applications. Survey results show that 52 percent of telco organizations deploy chatbots and 38 per cent of healthcare providers depend on computer-assisted diagnostics. Other operational use cases for AI are fraud protection and consumer fragmentation.

The ease

The more enterprises work with AI, the clearer the deployment challenge becomes, the survey report adds. Fifty-four percent of respondents to a Gartner Research Circle Survey view skill shortage as the biggest challenge facing their organization.

"In order to stay ahead, CIOs need to be creative. If there is no AI talent available, another possibility is to invest in training programs for employees with backgrounds in statistics and data management. Some organizations also create job shares with ecosystem and business partners," says Howard.

The digital revolution

In October last year, Gartner analysts presented a survey's findings during Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando. They found that digital business had reached a tipping point in 2018. Forty-nine percent of CIOs report their enterprises have already changed their business models or are in the process of changing them.

"What we see here is a milestone in the transition to the third era of IT, the digital era," said Andy Rowsell-Jones, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, at the event. "Initially, CIOs were making a leap from IT-as-a-craft to IT-as-an-industrial-concern. Today, 20 years after we launched the first CIO Agenda survey, digital initiatives, along with growth, are the top priorities for CIOs in 2019. Digital has become mainstream."