The state of Artificial Intelligence in business

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Eighty percent of managers view AI as a strategic opportunity, but 40% see it as a strategic risk as well.

The MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group conducted a survey of more than 3,000 leaders, analysts, and technology experts across industries to identify the strategies that companies are using to implement Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their business model.

The report “Reshaping Business With Artificial Intelligence: Closing the Gap Between Ambition and Action” provides a baseline for executives to develop a strategy for their business.

Researchers warn that AI has implications for management practices, especially for large companies. They note that the leaders in this area have a deep understanding of AI and are more likely to have senior leadership support in their advances.

“Our research reveals large gaps between today’s leaders — companies that already understand and have adopted AI — and laggards. While most leaders are investing in AI talent and have built robust information infrastructures, other companies lack analytics expertise and easy access to their data.”

The study divides companies in four categories:

  1. Pioneers (19%): Organizations that both understand and have adopted AI.
  2. Investigators (32%): Organizations that understand AI but are not deploying it beyond the pilot stage.
  3. Experimenters (13%): Organizations that are piloting or adopting AI without deep understanding.  
  4. Passives (36%): Organizations with no adoption or much understanding of AI.

Key findings: 

  • 14% of respondents believe that AI is currently having a large effect on their organization’s offerings; 63% expect to see these effects within just five years.
     
  • 80% view AI as a strategic opportunity, but 40% of managers see AI as a strategic risk as well.
     
  • 84% believe Al will allow their organization to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage.
     
  • 60% say that a strategy for Al is urgent for their organizations, but only half of those say their organizations have a strategy in place.
     
  • Only one in 20 has extensively incorporated AI in their offerings or processes.
     
  • Pioneers (91%) and Investigators (90%) are much more likely to report that their organization recognizes how AI affects business value than Experimenters (32%) and Passives (23%).
     
  • 70% of Passives also have not even started to lay out clear responsibilities for AI initiatives