Opportunities for businesses to improve internal processes and enhance customer experiences through the use of artificial intelligence have been slow to take hold due to confusion about the technology, according to a new report released today by CompTIA, the leading trade association for the global technology industry.
Just 29 percent of companies surveyed for CompTIA's "Emerging Business Opportunities in AI" report are making regular use of artificial intelligence. That's marginally higher than the 24 percent of firms who responded affirmatively in 2017.
"Artificial intelligence represents a new way of thinking about software," said Seth Robinson, senior director, technology analysis, CompTIA. "We're no longer asking computers to produce a defined result every time, but to produce an undefined result based on general rules. Understanding this difference can be challenging, especially when most businesses are not actively developing their own AI algorithms."
Only 19 percent of companies say that they have expert knowledge around AI, while another 29 percent classify their knowledge as moderately high.
Beyond the availability of technical expertise and familiarity with software development, the extent to which an organization has built a modern digital architecture is another key ingredient for AI. Of particular concern are strong practices around the management of data. Just 18 percent of companies say they are exactly where they want to be with their data practices.
The encouraging news is that companies appear to understand this. In the CompTIA survey 94 percent of companies acknowledged a moderate to strong connection between AI and cloud computing; 92 percent between AI and mobile devices; and 91 percent between AI and the Internet of things.
AI Uses, Benefits and Challenges
Asked to identify potential uses for AI, companies focused on improving workflows (52 percent of respondents), analyzing large datasets (51 percent), enhancing the customer experience (48 percent) and in security monitoring and detection (47 percent).
Leading the list of expected benefits of AI was the traditional IT viewpoint of cutting costs.
Some of this thinking may be short-sighted, perhaps due to the lack of understanding about AI, according to Robinson.
"AI can help with cost savings, but the greater potential lies in opening new doors," he said. "Companies that are approaching AI as an IT activity should consider its far-reaching implications and move towards a more collaborative model. AI is a topic that should involve the entire organization."
CompTIA's "Emerging Business Opportunities in AI" report is the based on an online survey of 500 U.S. business and technology professionals conducted in March and April 2019. The complete report is available at https://www.comptia.org/resources/ai-artificial-intelligence-research, along with two companion publications on what artificial intelligence is, and views from 10 individuals responsible for developing and implementing artificial intelligence solutions for their respective organizations.
The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a leading voice and advocate for the $5 trillion global information technology ecosystem; and the more than 50 million industry and tech professionals who design, implement, manage, and safeguard the technology that powers the world's economy. Through education, training, certifications, advocacy, philanthropy, and market research, CompTIA is the hub for advancing the tech industry and its workforce.