Deloitte recently released its fifth “State of AI in the Enterprise” report, based on the results of a survey of more than 2,600 global executives on how their companies and industries are integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into their operations. The report found that while 94% of leaders agreed that AI is crucial to success over the next five years, the number of organizations that fall into the “underachiever” category – defined as having deployed a high number of AI projects but with low outcomes – has grown from 17% in 2021 to 22% this year.
The speed of change in the AI space has pushed Deloitte to convert its once-biennial report to an annual affair, and as interest and subsequent investment in AI increases, the pressure to ensure successful outcomes grows. The 2022 report focuses on four key actions that can power widespread value from AI in the short term, with an eye on long-term scalability.
Deloitte recommends that companies focus investment in culture and leadership, obtaining buy-in from business leaders to drive culture change and bring in talent that can effectively develop, implement, and manage AI deployments, getting the entire organization onboard with the technology. According to the report, while 43% of respondents say they have appointed an AI leader responsible for collaboration, concrete actions are few.
The report shows that high-outcome organizations are significantly more likely to transform their operations around AI, tracking the ROI of deployed models and applications and having documented processes for governance and data quality along with life cycle management, a common and consistent development platform, and an AI quality and risk management framework.
AI and talent investments must also be carefully orchestrated to take advantage of the unique strengths of each, ensuring that the entire organization has a high-level understanding of what AI is and how it works. The report recommends that companies need to provide basic foundational training along with role-based training focused on the unique needs of each department.
Lastly, Deloitte noted that successful organizations are choosy about which business processes they select to implement AI into, with Beena Ammanath, Executive Director of the Global Deloitte AI Institute, warning that “doing AI for the sake of AI is never a good idea . . . You know, you start buying some of these tools or setting up a Data Science Center of Excellence without having a clear pathway towards the value – whether it’s not deploying it in the right function, or not putting the right level of thought into it – it can actually create a false start and impact the end goal.”
Despite the challenges faced by companies attempting to use AI to boost their digital transformation, Ammanath remains optimistic, hoping that underachievers will be able to tap into the ecosystem, learn from best practices, and ultimately drive better value from their AI investments.