Half of CEOs Plan to Adopt Artificial Intelligence by 2019

By: Kelley Katsanos| - Leave a comment

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Recent IBM research finds 73 percent of CEOs believe artificial intelligence (AI) or cognitive computing will play an integral role in the future of their organizations. In fact, 50 percent of CEOs plan to adopt the technology by 2019, and they expect a 15 percent return on their investment.

Artificial Intelligence Priorities

The IBM Institute for Business Value, in conjunction with Oxford Economics, surveyed more than 6,000 executives worldwide across 18 industries in order to determine organizational priorities to apply AI across business functions.

To examine how cognitive computing can transform organizations, IBM researchers applied survey findings to divide the enterprise into 13 important functions — including customer service, supply chain management and procurement — and then categorized them based on front-, middle- or back-office capabilities.

For instance, in the front office, self-learning cognitive systems can enable greater customer engagement, as the technology learns and improves with every customer interaction, which allows organizations to personalize the customer experience. In the middle office, business leaders can more easily obtain actionable insight and make faster decisions from large volumes of data in response to customer requests. AI also improves back-office productivity by automating repetitive tasks and enhances quality by reducing human error.

By examining their organization, executives can better prioritize their cognitive computing investments and create a functional cognitive road map toward full AI adoption, IBM suggests. Out of the 13 key organizational functions, survey respondents cited the top three areas where AI will have the most impact as IT, sales and information security.

Digital Transformation and AI Strategy

To fuel digital transformation efforts, IBM advises business leaders to develop an AI adoption strategy that includes three phases:

  1. Envisioning the future
  2. Ideating
  3. Incubating and scaling

The first phase involves identifying “enterprise or business unit reinvention case, KPIs and targets,” the IBM report says. From there, business leaders can apply a targeted operating model and governance that aligns with their organization.

Businesses can pursue the ideation stage by regularly assessing the market and user response to the technology to develop best practices and common use cases that are appropriate for their organization.

In the final phase, businesses should incubate and scale by designing and executing pilots “with a bias toward agility and limited risk to existing customers and operations,” IBM states. This will help demonstrate the value of AI capabilities as they’re tested in the market to solve particular and measurable business challenges. Moreover, the research suggests that business leaders should use an iterative approach to develop new technology capabilities and provide ongoing feedback on market response in order to adjust their AI initiatives or strategy when needed.

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About The Author

Kelley Katsanos

News Writer

Kelley Katsanos is a freelance writer specializing in business and technology. She has previously worked in business roles involving marketing analysis and competitive intelligence. Her freelance work appears at IBM Midsize Insider, Houston Chronicle's chron.com, and AZ Central Small Business. Katsanos earned a Master of Science in Information Management from Arizona State University as well as a bachelor's degree in Business with an emphasis in marketing. Her interests include information security, marketing strategy, and business process improvement.