Business use of artificial intelligence and machine learning is burgeoning. Organizations that have already invested are seeing real benefits to both their top and bottom lines, across the value chain and across industries. Enterprise use of artificial intelligence (AI) and one of its offshoots, machine learning (ML), is about to make the jump from early-adopter to fast-follower status, according to a recent survey of 283 executives conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. The majority of respondents (61%) are actively evaluating the technology and exploring use cases, while the remainder have already begun to use AI/ML in one form or another, with nearly one-third of all respondents in the production or pilot stages. FIGURE 1 Large organizations (those with 10,000 or more employees) were much more likely than smaller businesses to be currently using AI/ML; 75% of large organizations in the survey were currently using AI/ML, versus 39% of companies with 1,000 to 4,999 employees. Early-adopter organizations that have investigated, piloted, or deployed the technologies are expecting to realize or have already realized a diverse array of AI/ML benefits, according to the survey, from a better customer experience to improved revenues.
These wide-ranging benefits are heightening interest in AI/ML within the C-suite, the survey revealed. Companies that have deployed AI/ML “are happy with the benefits they see,” especially the increased profits that come from better serving customers, says Philipp Gerbert, senior partner and managing director for Boston Consulting Group and fellow of the Henderson Institute for AI in Business. “Everyone’s appetite has been whetted.” Organizations that are less mature in their use and understanding of AI/ML have a high expectation of leveraging these technologies to create positive business value over the next five years, according to Gerbert.