Inside Supply Management Magazine

How Organizations Are Using Artificial Intelligence

August 05, 2019

Among companies that have implemented artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, only one in four has developed an enterprise-wide AI strategy. That’s the finding of a report, Artificial Intelligence Global Adoption Trends & Strategies, by International Data Corporation (IDC), a Framingham, Massachusetts-based provider of market intelligence, advisory services and events for information-technology, telecommunications and consumer-technology markets.

Nevertheless, AI remains a priority for half the companies surveyed — and two of three respondents indicated they are emphasizing an “AI first” culture within their organizations. Also, more than 60 percent say their business models have changed as a result of their AI adoption.

IDC surveyed 2,473 organizations using AI solutions in their operations, whether by buying them commercially, developing them in-house or a combination of the two.

The report found that improved productivity, business agility and customer satisfaction through automation were primarily driving AI initiatives at the respondents’ companies. Other factors included being able to achieve a faster time to market with new products and services. Implementation roadblocks included cost, lack of skilled talent and bias in the data.

"Organizations that embrace AI will drive better customer engagements and have accelerated rates of innovation, higher competitiveness, higher margins and productive employees,” Ritu Jyoti, program vice president of artificial intelligence strategies at IDC, said in a press release. “Organizations worldwide must evaluate their vision and transform their people, processes, technology, and data readiness to unleash the power of AI and thrive in the digital era."

Among other survey findings:

AI is most used by information technology (IT) operations, with customer service and fraud/risk management following closely.

Trust, bias and ethics considerations are becoming increasingly important for organizations — and they are using formalized frameworks (according to nearly 50 percent of respondents) to look at implications and risks. At nearly one-fourth of organizations, a senior-management position oversees adherence.

Lack of skilled staff and unrealistic expectations are top factors contributing to AI-project failure rates. A quarter of respondents reported failure rates of up to 50 percent at their companies.

"For many organizations, the rapid rise of digital transformation has pushed AI to the top of the corporate agenda,” Jyoti said. “However, as AI accelerates toward the mainstream, organizations will need to have an effective AI strategy aligned with business goals and innovative business models to thrive in the digital era.”