New research by Rackspace Technology reveals that trust in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) has drastically increased in the UK last year. The growing use of AI applications is cementing enterprises’ confidence in the outputs they generate, with seven in ten (71%) respondents now stating they would always trust the insights and intelligence produced by AI and ML platforms.
Attitudes towards AI/ML have significantly shifted in the last 12 months, with the majority of senior IT leaders no longer considering stringent human oversight of AI/ML to be necessary. Less than a quarter (19%) now believe AI/ML always needs human interpretation, over three times fewer (75%) than in 2022, showing that AI is increasingly informing decision-making across the region.
However, most organisations are not blind to the potential for inherent bias. Over eight in ten (84%) acknowledge that bias is inevitable in AI/ML algorithms, but only 4% believe that this cannot be effectively mitigated. A third (34%) recognise that there is inherent bias at present due to the infancy of AI/ML, but believe that there will be less bias as the market matures.
Reaping the rewards from AI/ML investment
As ongoing economic uncertainty pushes businesses to drive efficiencies, deployments of enterprise AI are maturing rapidly, according to Rackspace Technology’s research. After years of investment, organisations are now beginning to reap the rewards, with 72% of respondents stating they realise substantial or modest benefits from deploying the technology.
Last year, 50% of organisations wanted AI/ML to help them with improved speed and efficiency, but in just 12 months, almost three quarters (70%) of organisations are already seeing the benefits. Similarly, only 37% were hoping to see a cost reduction as a result of their AI/ML investments, but almost double (70%) have already experienced this.
On a commercial level, many organisations are also beginning to see the benefits of deploying AI/ML across the enterprise. Whilst 41% of organisations were seeking increased revenue streams after implementation last year, 71% are already profiting. Equally, 72% have now either managed or reduced risk more effectively thanks to the technology, a marked increase to a year ago when only 35% of organisations even aspired to realise the same benefit from implementing AI/ML.
The consistent pursuit of personalised customer experience is also driving AI/ML adoption, with organisations investing heavily in new platforms to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. Rackspace Technology’s most recent survey showed two thirds (66%) of organisations reaped the benefits of AI/ML through personalised marketing campaigns, a marked increase on the 29% that actively sought that benefit last year, showing just how quickly the speed of adoption is accelerating.
Growing popularity of AI is exacerbating existing barriers to adoption
The widespread implementation of AI solutions has led to a bullrush for people with AI/ML competencies, with 80% of organisations making an effort to recruit employees with AI/ML skills in the past year. However, with talent already a thin commodity, 64% of organisations are now reporting a shortage in skilled AI/ML talent, with machine learning specialists, and AI/ML solution programmers and software designer proving the hardest skills to recruit across EMEA. This is a 53% increase on a year ago; only 11% of organisations reported experiencing a lack of talent and difficulty hiring for the require roles at a barrier to adoption in 2022, showing how significant a hurdle the battle for skilled workers has become.
Despite many organisations relying on AI/ML to reduce cost in operations (70%), the cost of implementation is still a major barrier to adoption for 52% of businesses. This is almost double the number from last year (25%) with inflation and economic uncertainty contributing to increased cost pressures. As a result, many are turning to third party partners to support the adoption of AI, with 43% now relying on a trusted AI partner / provider.
Simon Bennett, CTO of Rackspace Technology EMEA, said: “A year is a long time in technology, and the AI/ML market continues to mature at a rapid rate. Organisations are now seeing their investments come to fruition and experiencing the tangible benefits of targeted investments in the technology. However, long-held challenges such as the talent shortage continue to persist, and in some cases grow, which is making it difficult for business to keep up.”
“Many lack the internal resources and expertise necessary to adapt to the era of AI. To succeed in a competitive market and maintain the pace of change, they need to adopt a strategic approach that considers the costs, skills, and necessary infrastructure that come with its introduction. Third-party providers can benefit many organisations in that scenario, offering informed guidance and expertise through implementation and beyond to make sure AI addresses organisational challenges, and delivers sustained benefits in the long run.”