Will you answer the call to AI?

By | 4 minute read | April 20, 2020

In times of crisis, technology is a lifeline. The most important technology of our generation is AI. Even now, with global business at its quietest, AI has proven the linchpin of supply chains to keep the world humming. A virtual helper to lean on during a pandemic. And a portal to reliable COVID-19 information to both inform and offer means to keep a digital arm around loved ones when we can’t be there ourselves.

During times of restoration, as has been the case for communities that have come before us, the future will be rebuilt by technology. The world of our predecessors by rail and electricity—ours by AI; breakdowns give way to breakthroughs.

The business leaders of tomorrow will be those that answer the AI imperative. Will you?

The journey to AI

According to a January 2020 Forrester Consulting study commissioned by IBM, Overcome Obstacles to get to AI at scale, organizations that have scaled AI are almost seven times more likely to be the fastest-growing businesses in their industry.

Those that fail to breakthrough above the canopy of competitors—in their shadows—wither away. In fact, organizations that do not scale AI are 1.4 times more likely to be average in revenue growth in their market as revealed in Forrester’s worldwide survey.

Organizations that scale AI are 7 times more likely to be the fastest-growing businesses in their industry

In this blog, we’ll dive into the full Forrester study to reveal that acquiring quality data and requisite skills are major challenges you’ll face on your journey to AI. Yet despite the roadblocks, the journey is necessary, and the rewards are worth it.

The value of data has never been greater

AI no longer exists only as aspiration—it’s inevitable. In fact, 80 percent of firms expect AI use cases to increase in number within the next two years (source: Forrester study). But as companies continue down their unique path on the journey to AI, adoption remains slow.

90 percent of respondents surveyed by Forrester confess that scaling AI is a struggle. One of the most significant challenges is data. Forrester found that respondents say they were most impacted by the following data problems:

  • 58 percent report an absence of data quality
  • 52 percent lack confidence in their ability to successfully leverage data for AI
  • 40 percent have data governance issues

The need for information integrity and data that can be trusted and surfaced at a moment’s notice is felt more acutely now than ever. Yet 52 percent of respondents say they don’t understand what their AI data needs are (source: Forrester study). Without sound, trusted data—a robust information architecture—AI is impossible.

52 percent don’t understand what their data needs are for AI

At this moment, the value of data has never been greater. That is why on the IBM ladder to AI, the IBM methodology to accelerate your AI journey, the first rungs of the ladder directly concern getting your data estate in order: to modernizecollect and organize your data and bring its full value to bear.

Talent is key to success

Successfully scaling AI has little to do with who has the most material resources, it has to do with human capital: access to the sharpest minds and critical brain power needed to teach these machines to think.

According to Forrester, 60 percent of organizations are currently training or expanding the training of their staff for AI / machine learning (ML) / deep learning. However, an immediate need for these skills remains unmet. Organizations are plagued by the following talent shortages:

  • 71 percent report lacking data engineering skills
  • 70 percent experience gaps in data science talent
  • 65 percent are dealing with developer skill shortages

Difficulty to attract the services of AI pros, and the subsequent talent drought, has put a damper on the ability for firms to make good on AI aspirations, and by extension, scale AI across the organization. Staffed by limited AI workers, teams are stretched to do even more with less. For teams still suffering vacancies in AI headcounts, AI ambitions stall out with no one to drive them forward.

60 percent are currently training or expanding training of staff for AI / machine learning (ML) / deep learning

To help organizations execute on their AI plans, the IBM Data Science and AI Elite can support. This team of Data and AI experts can consult with your team to put AI to work, using proven AI agile methodology.

Discover the rewards of scaling AI

As gleaned from the Forrester study, Overcome Obstacles to get to AI at scale, data and talent are two major obstacles you will face to scale AI across your organization. Now that you’ve been introduced to some common obstacles, just what is waiting for you at the end of this AI journey?

Discover rewards to scaling AI and recommendations to turn AI aspirations into outcomes: Read the full Forrester study.

Accelerate your journey to AI.

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