Artificial Intelligence

Here are the top 3 benefits and barriers to AI adoption

More businesses are embracing artificial intelligence, according to IDC and DataRobot. Here's what you should know in order to stick with the pack.

An increasing number of organizations are using artificial intelligence (AI) to aid in their digital transformation and remain competitive, according to a new report by the International Data Corporation (IDC) and DataRobot released Monday.

AI is expected to help companies across the world grow over the next five years, with Japan leading the pack with 74% expected projected growth from 2016-2021, according to the report. The US should expect 49% compound annual growth, with countries in Western Europe expecting around 44% growth.

SEE: Quick glossary: Artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research)

Two-thirds of businesses globally already have implemented AI, or plan on using the technology in the next five years, the report said. The US has the most early adoption, with 38% of companies already using AI, ahead of 11% in Asia and 9% in Western Europe. Of that 38% in the US, 77% of organizations said the technology is exceeding their expectations or they're already seeing returns on its use.

The worldwide growth should result in three big benefits for business, the report says: Increased productivity, more workflow automation, and new insights.

All industries could be spending around $57.6 billion total on AI by 2021, IDC estimates. The financial sector is slated to be spending the most at $12 billion, followed by manufacturing ($9.5 billion), retail ($9.3 billion), the public sector ($8.9 billion), and healthcare ($5.3 billion).

The report gave examples of how AI is already being used across these industries, including fraud detection, targeted marketing, and being leveraged to find top foster homes for children. In the US, 75% of businesses say their data is ready for AI.

But there will be challenges for this growth, the report said. Lack of data and skills will be the biggest obstacle, with 73% of organizations lacking an in-house data scientist or AI specialist. The next two largest challenges are difficulties with stakeholder buy-in and the high cost of solutions.

The report gave four steps for organizations looking to jumpstart their AI usage:

1. Start with a process heavily involved with data and a goal for that data.

2. Have strong ways to prepare, predict, and visualize the data.

3. Use machine learning and best-of-breed algorithms to remove the technicality from AI but still gain from it.

4. Empower employees, regardless of skill, to know how to develop and use models.

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

  1. Japan is expected to see the most growth due to AI adoption from 2016 to 2021 at 74%, leading the US with 49% and Western Europe with 44%. -IDC and DataRobot, 2017
  2. An estimated $57.6 billion will be spent across industries on AI, potentially leading to increased employee productivity, new business insights, and more workflow automation. -IDC and DataRobot, 2017
  3. 73% of organizations lack an in-house AI specialist or data scientist, presenting the biggest obstacle to AI adoption. -IDC and DataRobot, 2017

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Image: iStockphoto/joruba

About Olivia Krauth

Olivia Krauth is a Multiplatform Reporter at TechRepublic.

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