Accenture recently issued a global study that tackles companies’ use of artificial intelligence (AI). The research revealed that while most organizations are experimenting with the technology, only 12% are using it at a maturity level advantage. 

The Art of AI Maturity: Advancing from Practice to Performance” uncovers strategies for AI success through a holistic framework, including a new index to express company AI maturity on a 0-100 scale. According to the research, AI maturity is the degree to which organizations outperform their peers in a combination of AI-related foundational and differentiating capabilities. These capabilities include the technology – data, AI, cloud – as well as organizational strategy, Responsible AI, C-suite sponsorship, talent, and culture. 

The 12% of organizations that already use AI to outpace their competitors are dubbed AI Achievers. While the majority (63%) of companies barely scratching the surface of AI’s potential are simply called AI Experimenters. Meanwhile, 13% of organizations that Accenture labeled as AI Innovators and 12% are labeled as AI Builders, both of which are advanced but still leave the total value of AI untapped.

“AI Achievers are showing their peers what’s possible when you release the full potential of talent and technology, working in tandem, supported by a clear vision and commitment to change. But even this most mature group has plenty of room for growth. And while most industries have AI Achievers, they vary greatly in how AI-mature they are overall and the leaps they will make,” explained Sanjeev Vohra, global lead for Applied Intelligence at Accenture. 

Examples for the current and projected future state of AI maturity by industry are:

  • Tech firms already have a high AI maturity score of 54, which will rise moderately to 60 in 2024, but still position them at the pinnacle of AI maturity across all industries.
  • In contrast, carmakers and suppliers will leap from a moderate 39 today to 57 in two years – betting on a significant surge in sales of AI-powered self-driving vehicles.
  • Similarly, retail companies will evolve in their AI Maturity from 38 today to 54 in 2024. Notably, many retail companies show a more profound commitment to AI transformation than other industries. As part of its efforts to create a more data-driven organization that can offer customers highly personalized digital service, Walgreens Boots migrated from legacy databases to advanced cloud databases and analytics. The company also built more than 100 high-value AI products that create detailed customer profiles and help it better optimize inventory and prices.

However, the impact of AI on businesses is growing regardless of industry. In a 2021 survey, several companies that used more than 30% of their tech budgets for AI projects are also increasing in AI investments. By 2024, the percentage of organizations investing more than 30% of their tech budgets in AI will increase to 49%.

Subsequently, the machine learning models utilized for the research suggest that the share of AI Achievers will increase rapidly from the current 12% to 27% by 2024. At the same time, the overall AI maturity score will rise from 36 today to 50.

“Adopting AI at scale and embedding it deeper in all aspects of business is no longer a choice, but a necessity and opportunity facing every industry, organization and leader,” Vohra said. “While the science of AI is ground-breaking and inspiring, harnessing it fully is an art that leaders must continually practice. Our report provides actionable recommendations for how to advance AI maturity to join the ranks of the AI Achievers.”

You can read the full report of Accenture’s recent research by downloading the file here.

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