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80% of Executives Think Automation Can Be Applied to Any Business Decision

Gartner survey reveals how organizations are developing their use of AI

Published: Tuesday, September 13, 2022 - 10:59

(Gartner: Stamford, CT) -- A recent survey by Gartner Inc. found that 80 percent of executives think automation can be applied to any business decision. As automation becomes embedded in digital business, the survey revealed how organizations are developing their use of artificial intelligence (AI) as part of their automation strategies.

“The survey has shown that enterprises are shifting away from a purely tactical approach to AI and beginning to apply AI more strategically,” says Erick Brethenoux, VP analyst at Gartner. “For example, a third of organizations are applying AI across several business units, creating a stronger competitive differentiator by supporting decisions across business processes.”

The survey was conducted online from October through December 2021 among 699 respondents in the U.S., Germany, and the U.K., at organizations that have deployed AI or intend to deploy AI within three years.

Moving AI from pilot to production remains a challenge
The Gartner survey revealed that on average, 54 percent of AI projects make it from pilot to production. This is a slight increase from the Gartner 2019 AI in Organizations Survey, which reported an average of 53 percent of AI projects that make it to production.

“Scaling AI continues to be a significant challenge,” says Frances Karamouzis, another Gartner analyst. “Organizations still struggle to connect the algorithms they are building to a business value proposition, which makes it difficult for IT and business leadership to justify the investment it requires to operationalize models.”

Forty percent of organizations surveyed indicated that they have thousands of AI models deployed. This creates governance complexity for the organization, further challenging data and analytics leaders’ ability to demonstrate return on investment from each model.

Talent not a significant barrier to AI adoption
While a talent shortage is often assumed to affect AI initiatives, the survey found it is not a significant barrier to AI adoption, with 72 percent of executives reporting that they have or can source the AI talent they need.

“The most successful organizations use a combination of in-house development and external hiring for AI talent. This ensures that the team renews itself continuously by learning new AI skills and techniques and considering new ideas from outside the organization,” says Brethenoux.

AI security and privacy concerns misplaced
Security and privacy concerns were not ranked as a top barrier to AI adoption, cited by just three percent of executives surveyed. Yet, 41 percent of organizations reported they have previously had a known AI privacy breach or security incident.

When asked which parties the organization was most worried about when it comes to AI security, half of respondents cited concerns about competitors, partners, or other third parties, and 49 percent were concerned about malicious hackers. However, among organizations that have faced an AI security or privacy incident, 60 percent reported data compromise by an internal party.

“Organizations’ AI security concerns are often misplaced, given that most AI breaches are caused by insiders,” says Brethenoux. “While attack detection and prevention are important, AI security efforts should equally focus on minimizing human risk.”

More insights from the survey are available in the complimentary Gartner webinar, “The Gartner AI Survey Top 4 Findings.” Gartner clients can learn more in “TechWave: Artificial Intelligence Annual Survey Findings.”

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