Bringing the benefits of artificial intelligence into a company requires good working relationships between the data team and the business units -- and a clear focus on tangible value. Companies embarking on AI and data science initiatives in the current economy should strive for a level of economic return higher than those achieved by many companies in the early days of enterprise AI. Several surveys suggest a low level of returns thus far, in part because many AI systems were never deployed: A 2021 IBM survey, for instance, found that only 21% of 5,501 companies said they had "deployed AI across the business," while the remainder said they are exploring AI, developing proofs of concept, or using pre-built AI applications. Similarly, a VentureBeat analysis suggests that 87% of AI models are never put into production. And a 2019 MIT Sloan Management Review/Boston Consulting Group survey found that 7 out of 10 companies reported no value from their AI investments.
Over the past decade, many organizations have come to recognize that their future success will depend on data and AI (artificial intelligence) capabilities. Expectations are high and companies are heavily investing in the area. However, our experience advising organizations in diverse industries suggests that many have also become disillusioned in their journey to create companywide, data-driven business transformation. This article discusses some of the common pitfalls in the implementation of data and AI strategies and gives recommendations for business leaders on how to successfully include data and AI in their business processes. These recommendations address the core enablers for data and AI capabilities, from setting the ambition level to hiring the right talent and defining the AI organization and operating model. Many companies are currently investing in data and artificial intelligence (AI). Since the terminology varies, the activities may be called AI, advanced analytics, data science, or machine learning, but the goals are the same: to increase revenues and efficiency in current business and to develop new data-enabled offerings. In addition, many companies see an increasing responsibility to contribute their AI expertise toward humanitarian and social matters. It is well understood that to stay competitive in the digital economy, the company's internal processes and products need to be smart--and smartness comes from data and AI. Over the past 4 years, our company DAIN Studios has been involved in more than 40 Data and AI initiatives in different companies and industries in Finland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. Our clients are typically large, publicly listed companies.
Artificial intelligence is one of the most powerful technologies for reshaping business in decades. It has the ability to optimize many processes throughout organizations and is already the engine behind some of the world's most valuable platform businesses. In our view AI will become a permanent aspect of the business landscape and AI capabilities need to be sustainable over time in order to develop and support potential new business models and capabilities. Specifically, we believe that companies need to establish dedicated organizational units to entrench AI. This is an important business tool that cannot be left to bottom-up whimsy.
AI technology is not just an experiment. Over the past year or so we've been engaged in an effort to tell the story of how large organizations are deploying artificial intelligence in their businesses. We were encouraged by the response to the 2018 NewVantage Partners executive survey, in which 93% of respondents said their organizations were investing in AI initiatives. Plenty of companies to write about, we thought. These were very large organizations spending goodly sums on AI and with a history of early adoption of other technologies.
Machine learning, task automation and robotics are already widely used in business. These and other AI technologies are about to multiply, and we look at how organizations can best take advantage of them. COVID-19 disruption has left enterprises with no choice but to reassess digital transformation investments and roadmaps. While less important projects are delayed, transformation projects involving AI and automation are receiving a lot of attention right now. In just the last 60 days, the adoption of varying levels of AI technologies across the enterprise surged with an incredible sense of urgency.