Innovation

79% of AI leaders expect employees to work comfortably with robots by 2020

While 82% of executives plan to implement artificial intelligence in the coming years, barriers include security and business silos, according to a new study from Genpact.

Some 79% of executives at global companies currently leading in artificial intelligence (AI) implementations expect that their employees will work comfortably with robots by 2020, according to a new study from Genpact, released Wednesday. However, a significantly smaller portion of businesses are providing adequate training and reskilling to address this coming tech disruption, the study found.

About 82% of the 300 senior executives surveyed reported plans to implement AI-related technologies in the next three years. But even in these early days of enterprise adoption, large gaps in performance exist between AI leaders, who report business gains from the tech, and laggards, who do not, the report found.

"CxOs often struggle with how to achieve strong business impact from AI. The survey findings underscore what we see with our clients daily - success won't come simply from technology alone," said N.V. Tyagarajan, president and CEO of Genpact, in a press release. "Companies must train their workforce - at all levels - and encourage the right corporate culture."

Despite reports about workers fearing that robots will steal their jobs, the C-suite is actually the most resistant to implementing the technology, the report found: 32% of executive respondents said that senior management was the group that most strongly resists AI, compared to 13% who said middle management, and 5% who said entry-level workers.

SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research)

The top three barriers to AI adoption in the enterprise are information security concerns, lack of clarity about where to apply AI most effectively, and siloes within the organization, especially between IT and other areas, the report stated.

Genpact found that AI leaders take several steps to foster a culture that embraces the technology that laggards do not. For example, 71% of leaders allocate resources and funding toward AI-related technologies, compared to just 9% of laggards. More than half of leaders allow a training and development culture to learn new skills, compared to 15% of laggards. And nearly 60% of leaders report that their middle managers "think out of the box" and encourage innovation, while only 14% of laggards said the same.

AI leaders also reported a strong focus on data and process: Leaders were seven times more likely to have large amounts of customer data they can easily share across departments, and also more likely to have processes and systems that are well-documented with standard operational procedures.

"Process design and talent are keys to success with AI," said Sanjay Srivastava, chief digital officer of Genpact, in the release. "One provides the catalyst for extracting the value from AI technologies; the other provides the amplifier to drive it at scale for the enterprise. Without one or the other, the chemistry of AI success just doesn't work."

The benefits of AI for leaders are tangible: One-third of these executives cited cost savings, while more than 40% said AI improves the customer experience. Leaders were also nearly twice as likely to see increased revenues from implementing AI, the report found.

"Collaboration between humans and machines has the power to improve customer experiences, grow revenue, and create new jobs - but only if senior management has the vision to proactively prepare and embrace change," Tyagarajan said in the release.

Want to use this data in your next business presentation? Feel free to copy and paste these top takeaways into your next slideshow.

  • 79% of executives at global companies currently leading in artificial intelligence implementations expect that their employees will work comfortably with robots by 2020. -Genpact, 2017
  • 83% of executives say they plan to implement AI-related technologies by 2020. -Genpact, 2017
  • The top three barriers to AI adoption in the enterprise are information security concerns, lack of clarity about where to apply AI most effectively, and siloes within the organization, especially between IT and other departments. -Genpact, 2017
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Image: iStockphoto/YakobchukOlena

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About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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