CXOs Struggling To Overcome AI Skills Gap: EY
Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer a thing from a sci-fi book or movie. Business leaders are using AI in some form, and many have plans to leverage it in the near future. CXOs are also optimistic about the impact of AI on job creation. However, a majority of leaders agree that AI adoption is being held back by a lack of talented AI and deep learning professionals. That’s according to a poll by EY conducted at the EmTech Digital Conference, produced by MIT Technology Review Insights, where 80% of respondents say there is a lack of AI talent to fill positions.
Nonetheless, more than 50% of respondents use AI to improve products and increase efficiency- C-suite support and performance metrics are needed to scale AI strategies, suggesting that AI is expected to reshape the traditional workplace, more than half (52%) of respondents believe it will have a positive impact on job creation. In fact, about a third (32%) of respondents say that, with the implementation of AI, more jobs will be created than lost, and an additional 20% anticipate that AI will create a surge in new jobs, boosting the economy.
According to Jeff Wong, EY Global Chief Innovation Officer, “Like the poll respondents, many of the people on teams I work with don’t feel their jobs are jeopardized by AI. In fact, they demand intelligent automation that enables them to redirect their time toward more complex work that drives greater employee engagement and adds real value. We estimate that we will save approximately 2.1 million hours of our people’s time on repetitive tasks in fiscal year 2018 due to automation. Those are hours that can be repurposed and reinvested into the EY business.”
Some of the other key findings of the research include:
Talent gap is the top concern for organizations looking to apply AI
While organizations are increasingly implementing AI technologies, adoption plans are being hampered by a shortage of people with relevant skills, which may explain the proportion of organizations applying AI for purely functional capabilities. Indeed, a shortage of requisite talent to drive AI adoption is the top challenge to an enterprise-wide AI program, according to 80% of respondents, followed by a lack of integration of AI insights into current business processes (53%), a lack of managerial understanding and sponsorship (48%), and data used for AI not being trusted or of high quality (48%).
Businesses want to use AI to improve, but aren’t tracking progress
The poll found that the top three outcomes that business leaders want from AI are to improve and/or develop new products/services (54%), achieve cost efficiencies and/or streamline business operations (50%) and accelerate decision-making (49%). Findings also showed that although organizations are seeing how AI can help them succeed, more than half (52%) are not clearly defining business outcomes or key performance indicators (KPIs) related to AI. Instead, they are primarily focusing on piloting and learning.
Organizations lack scalable, enterprise level AI strategy
While 30% of business leaders say their organizations have functional AI capabilities and are piloting the technology within corporate functions, they still need an enterprise-wide AI strategy that aligns with these programs. Only 21% of respondents’ organizations are making progress in securing C-suite support and rolling out a strategy for applying AI, while another 28% say their organizations have limited to no capabilities, and the technology is not regarded as a strategic, overall priority.
Chris Mazzei, EY Global Innovation Technologies Leader and Chief Data & Analytics Officer, says:”Enterprises are increasingly applying AI to their operational models. As a result, we are seeing leaders develop a more sophisticated view of how the technology could impact value creation and provide commercial differentiation. While AI is still in the early stage of maturity, businesses need to develop an AI strategy that is supported by the C-suite with the proper team to execute and measure its success.”
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