EY Study: AI Important to a Company’s Success, but Lack of Skilled Personnel Remains a Barrier

EY Study: AI Important to a Company’s Success, but Lack of Skilled Personnel Remains a Barrier
  • 62 per cent of respondents believe AI will help drive efficiency, competitiveness
  • 31 per cent believe a lack of skilled personnel is the greatest barrier to AI implementation

An EY study of US CEOs and business leaders reveals that most executives recognise the value of artificial intelligence (AI), with 84 per cent believing that AI is important to the future success of their company. At least three in five respondents (62 per cent) said that AI would have a major impact on creating efficiencies at their company, remaining competitive (62 per cent) and gaining a better understanding of customers (60 per cent). In addition, 55 per cent of respondents believe AI will have a major impact on reducing costs and driving new revenues.

Talent Remains a Major Hurdle for the C-Suite

Despite the opportunities that the C-suite recognises in AI, nearly one in three respondents rank lack of skilled personnel (31 per cent) as one of the two greatest organisational/people barriers to AI adoption in their company. Behind skilled personnel, other key organisational barriers include lack of compelling return on investment (27 per cent), lack of management understanding (24 per cent), unclear business case (21 per cent), limited funding (20 per cent) and siloed data and organisation (19 per cent).

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These findings are consistent with the results from a recent EY survey conducted in collaboration with MIT Technology Review at the 2019 EmTech Digital conference, where nearly half (45 per cent) of 112 senior business and technology decision-makers reported that their organisations lack the skilled personnel needed to implement AI. This is followed by a lack of a clear business case for technology (34 per cent).

How 4 companies use Data to tackle the current situation

Overcoming Barriers to Maximise AI Implementation 

Despite the hurdles that US CEOs and business leaders have faced in AI implementation, several key factors can make the difference in an organisation’s ability to overcome these barriers. The two most important factors cited by US CEOs and business leaders are having a compelling business case for AI (31 per cent) and having a clear strategic vision and commitment to AI from senior management (29 per cent). This underscores the importance of C-suite buy-in, both in informing the organisation of AI’s uses, value and ROI, as well as outlining the benefits of long-term implementation.

Jeff Wong, EY Global Chief Innovation Officer, says: “CEOs and business leaders have a responsibility to not only motivate and inspire their organisations with a strategic vision for the future but to establish a plan that implements AI and other emerging technologies across the workforce. Employees need to be able to trust the technologies and understand the benefits and efficiencies that AI provides personally and for the business.”

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Nigel Duffy, EY Global Artificial Intelligence Leader, says: “Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum — it requires a collaborative effort — and business leaders play an important role by helping to connect innovators with problems to be solved, committing resources and being open to learning. This means partnering with academia to help influence programs that equip students with future-focused skills, and reskilling current workforces and educating them about AI technologies.”

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