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How are executives transforming their businesses with AI?

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The seemingly boundless possibilities for artificial intelligence (AI) have arguably made it the most important general-purpose technology of our era. Yet the immediate question in many executives’ minds has moved beyond the envisioned potential and towards how businesses are successfully implementing and using AI today.

To gain insight into this topic, the IBM Global C-suite Study Program interviewed over 3,000 C-suite executives across 20 industries worldwide about their current and planned use of AI. Eleven percent of these organizations (the Reinventors) are using AI in their business today and plan to continue investing in AI. In this report, we examine the Reinventors’ strategic and tactical movements and the driving forces that underpin them.

40% of orgs are pushing ahead with AI

The gist of it? Data. Personalization. People. For many companies, the problem has evolved from a dearth of data to data overload. Businesses now have massive amounts of data available to leverage and create custom, one-on-one experiences; yet many struggle to harvest and manage their data, and even more face the challenge of using that data and information to make better business decisions.

More than half of the C-suite executives we interviewed (53 percent) said they think AI will give them a competitive advantage by improving customer experience and personalization. But Reinventors in particular understand that people, partnerships and technology go hand-in-hand. They’re using AI to rethink, redesign and reinvent their enterprises, positioning themselves to discover innovations that were once unimaginable.

reinventors use partners and enabling tech

The Reinventors are not only going a lot further with AI than most organizations, they are reaping the rewards as well. 7 in 10 Reinventors report higher revenue growth and profitability than their industry peers, while 9 in 10 say they are viewed as the most innovative company in their market.

They have other distinguishing characteristics related to their use of AI that provide strong indicators for other organizations wanting to make better use of their data, technology and ecosystems:

  • Personalized customer experience at scale: AI helps reveal hidden patterns and opportunities to develop market-of-one client relationships. More Reinventors say they will use AI to focus on this customer-facing aspect of their business model.
  • Transforming the operating model and supply chains: Over half of all Reinventors said they expect AI will help their operating model to become more competitive within the next two to three years. They say they’re focusing primarily on risk mitigation and management, particularly with regard to identifying, remediating and forestalling operational risk.
  • Enhancing workforce performance: More than twice as many Reinventors say they expect to augment their workforce by using AI to automate routine tasks, giving employees more time to dedicate to high-value add tasks.

Personalization and speed have become a standard expectation from customers and partners. To compete, organizations are rewiring their operating models for speed and responsiveness. The Reinventors have identified a way to make AI the “cornerstone” for technological convergence, to ultimately enrich and expand the sources and types of data available for in-depth analysis, understanding and discovery.

A clear gap is emerging between companies that have embraced AI and those that have not. Those that haven’t yet leveraged AI are missing out on insights and opportunities that could help transform their businesses.

How do you think you’ll apply AI in your business in the next two to three years?

To find out more about what organizations are doing with AI, read the full report.

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