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AI Investment Driven by Fear of Disruption According to MIT Sloan

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To future-proof their organizations, 91.6 percent of executives are accelerating their investments in artificial intelligence and big data initiatives, explains MIT Sloan experts. According to the NewVantage Partners 2019 Big Data and AI Executive Survey, which surveyed 65 Fortune 1000 organizations, the drive for this focus is the fear of disruption.

To successfully compete against highly agile data-driven competitors, Fortune 100 companies are realizing that they must be more adept at leveraging their data assets. They’re recognizing the rapid evolution of AI capabilities and how those can and should be used to provide business value. 91.7 percent of executives in the study identified a need to transform their organizations to be more nimble and data-driven with dollar investments in these areas increasing.

AI Driving Disruption

According to executives, AI is perceived as being a highly disruptive force. The survey reveals that investments in AI and machine learning have steadily increased over the last three years (68.9 percent in 2017 to 96.4 percent in 2019), which reinforces the idea that AI is now universal. Other potentially disruptive technologies include blockchain, digital technologies such as mobile and sensor devices, and cloud computing.

Most importantly, executives are reporting measurable ROI from big data and AI investment. In total, 62.2 percent have reported favorable results. Areas that have most benefited from these investments include advanced analytics, customer engagement, faster product rollout, and expense reduction for low-hanging fruit.

Adopting AI

The problem is that many companies struggle with adopting AI with production implementations remaining scarce. Many organizations struggle regarding changing existing business processes and in potential skills gaps. This is also reflected in the survey, which revealed that 77 percent of executives report AI and big data adoption challenges with 95 percent reporting business process issues and skills as the primary obstacles.

Other factors that harm AI adoption efforts include organizational alignment agility (40.3 percent), cultural resistance (23.6 percent), and lack of understanding (13.9 percent). Companies will need to address all of these issues if they want to be successful when it comes to adopting AI and big data.

Read the full report within the MIT Sloan Management Review.

Kelly Vo
Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and topics related to personal development. She has been working in the MBA space for the past four years in research, interview, and writing roles.