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AI Investments Have Doubled in Past Year

Survey shows how artificial intelligence has begun the transition from ideation to integration.


New research by Rackspace Technology, a multi-cloud technology solutions provider, in association with Amazon Web Services (AWS), finds that more than 60 percent of participants have advanced their artificial intelligence (AI) strategies beyond the ideation and proof-of-concept stages and are now transitioning to the initial phases of adoption. The results also revealed that nearly one-third of respondents have already successfully integrated AI into their business operations, highlighting AI’s rapid adoption and evolution.

When asked where they currently are in their AI journey, 29 percent of respondents reported that they have a fully integrated AI strategy for use in employee productivity, with an additional 33 percent at the early stages of development. Companies are also seeing internal benefits, with 29 percent saying they have fully integrated AI and 31 percent are at the early stages. The most fully developed use of AI is customer products and services, with 33 percent having fully integrated AI and an additional 34 percent in the initial stages of implementation. Nearly half of respondents reported being “operationally ready” for AI.

The survey findings reveal a continued surge in AI investment, with companies anticipating doubling their budgets in 2024 as compared to 2023. Moreover, respondents say their investments are yielding significant returns, with 86 percent reporting that their companies have seen tangible benefits from the implementation of AI – a notable increase of 10 percent over Rackspace’s 2023 survey.

Among the leading use cases for AI/Machine Learning (ML) initiatives, respondents highlighted efficiency as the primary motivation and advantage, with intelligent search (62 percent), document processing (61 percent), and fraud detection (56 percent) emerging as the leading applications.

When asked about the driving force behind their company's AI strategy, 57 percent of respondents cited their IT departments as taking the lead. But IT teams are also receiving support from various other departments across their organizations. Specifically, 46 percent of respondents mentioned that customer service played a role in driving their AI strategies, while 44 percent reported involvement from functional departments such as marketing, sales and finance.

Security & Ethics Concerns Remain

Despite the widespread and rapid adoption, organizations remain cautious of AI-associated risks, including ethical and security concerns associated with the technology. Fifty-eight percent of respondents ranked cybersecurity as the biggest risk their organization sees in AI adoption, while just 51 percent of respondents report that they follow data management and retention policies to manage compliance.

Alongside security, ethics emerge as a key concern, with over half of respondents considering the responsible and ethical use of AI as being a part of their approach for AI governance. The key considerations for what respondents considered to be ‘Responsible AI’ were data privacy (55 percent), accountability (52 percent) and transparency (48 percent).

The survey also revealed an ongoing shortage of AI skills. Key roles that companies are looking to fill include software development (44 percent), machine learning (42 percent), and data analytics, engineering, and governance (40 percent). In response, 39 percent of companies currently offer formalized AI training/learning programs, with an additional 58 percent planning to develop such programs in the future.

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