In Spain, the Madrid metro uses AI to monitor its network and reduce energy consumption by 25%. In the US, a beverage company uses AI to boost sales by analyzing retailers and markets. In Europe, an energy company trains its engineers and managers in a digital twin factory powered by AI. In the Middle East, a telco’s AI-powered virtual assistant speaks to 1.65 million customers every month in various Arabic dialects and English.
Doubtless, AI is in full use around the world, and all industries are recognizing it as the next big thing in technology. However, an Accenture report assures that 63% of companies using AI are just surfacing.
On June 8, 2022, Accenture presented the report The art of AI maturity† The report concludes that the majority of organizations using AI are still experimenting with the technology. Only 12% use it at maturity level.
AI Achievers vs. AI Experimenters
According to Accenture, about 30% of the total revenue of “AI Achievers” is linked to AI. “AI Achievers” also enjoyed an average of 50% more revenue growth during the 2019 pandemic era.
“In 2021, the executives of the world’s 2,000 largest companies (by market capitalization) were 40% more likely to see their company’s stock prices rise, compared to 23% in 2018,” Accenture said. †
In total, Accenture identified four groups: “AI Achievers”, “AI Builders”, “AI Innovators” and “AI Experimenters”. Achievers, Builders and Innovators together represent only 37% of the organizations surveyed. “AI Experimenters” nearly double these numbers.
“AI Achievers” turn AI pilots into production projects to solve real-world business problems. They also use their metrics and data to take action, for example by measuring and reducing greenhouse gas emissions or the consumption of natural resources. Companies that are leaders in AI are building their data and AI core instead of buying it. They also have an integral AI strategy and drive innovation through their culture.
More than half of all companies surveyed using AI are not making the most of the technology. Set at 63% by Accenture, “AI Experimenters” lack the mature AI strategies needed and lack the capabilities for AI operations.
Whit Andrews, Gartner’s award-winning VP analyst, told TechRepublic that while many organizations have come up with at least one AI project, the challenge they now face is how to power their digital future through AI.
Gartner agrees that AI has the potential to enable organizations to stay competitive and reinvent products and services. But IT leaders need to see through the hype around AI and discover how to apply the technology to solve real-world problems, Gartner says.
Accenture’s new report predicts that companies mastering AI will double from 12% to 27% in the next two years. To master AI, companies are looking beyond data and AI tools, such as machine learning. They embrace an AI organizational strategy, invest in talent and infrastructure, and build an AI culture.
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Top and Low-Rank Sectors by AI Usage
On a scale of 1 to 100, the Accenture report says the average AI maturity score for all industries is slightly above 35 points. Technology industries are the most advanced with an AI maturity score of 54 expected to rise to 60 by 2024. The gap between technology and all other sectors is significant, but Accenture expects this gap to narrow significantly by 2024.
Industries that excel in the use of AI include:
Industries that fall below average include:
- banking and capital markets,
- Public services
Accenture highlights AI-powered self-driving vehicles in the automotive sector, AI remote control and navigation systems developed by aerospace and defense companies, and drug development in the life sciences industry as groundbreaking trends.
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The art of mastering AI
Accenture says AI priorities, investments, AI tools, responsible AI use, and long- and short-term AI strategies are five key areas that can help organizations master AI. Companies that excel in AI do not want to master just one point, but join forces to perform better in every way.
“AI Achievers” make AI a priority throughout their organization. Eighty-three percent of “AI Achievers” are fully sponsored by leaders. CEOs create a conscious innovation culture. Forty-eight percent of Achievers integrate innovation into their organizational strategies, while only 33% of experimenters do the same.
‘AI Achievers’ also invest in talent. Seventy-eight percent of Achievers provide mandatory AI training for all their employees, from product development to C-suite executives. This ensures strong AI literacy that enables AI collaboration across the business.
The industrialization of AI tools and teams building an AI core is also a priority for “AI Achievers”. Talent, technology and data environments come together in cloud processes to drive migration, scaling and growth, innovation, progress and performance. “AI cores, in turn, are managed by dedicated interdisciplinary teams of machine learning engineers, data scientists, data domain experts and systems engineers,” Accenture said.
Whit Andrews, VP Analyst at Gartner explains that AI investments should involve different practices. “Examples include formal programs for linking software engineering and AI teams, a plan to hire internal and external talent, and the top-down commitment that all new IT projects and major upgrades must include AI,” says Andrews.
“That means we have to invest resources to do this in every aspect of their digital operation. They need to push experimentation in the direction of production. That means central systems for the time being. Ultimately, those central systems will sink into the entire company,” Andrews added.
AI responsibility is another differentiator. When an AI project adheres to laws, regulations, and ethics from the start, it can empower employees, businesses, and customers, while impacting society.
Long and short term investments are also top priorities for AI Achievers. Leading in AI requires aggressive investment. AI leaders get more out of AI simply because they invest more than other groups. They also understand that AI is a journey without peaks, requiring continuous investment, research and development.
“AI Achievers are thriving. In several industries, they have moved from cloud migration to innovation. They have taken advantage of the scale and computing power of the cloud to leverage new data sources and AI technologies that are widely available. But AI is not their secret to superior performance. It’s how they approach AI that makes them different,” concludes the company behind the report “The Art of AI Maturity”.