Most organizations have big gaps between their artificial intelligence ambitions and their actual execution, according to a new study from Boston Consulting Group and MIT Sloan Management Review.

About three-quarters of the more than 3,000 global business executives, managers and analysts surveyed for the report expect AI to create competitive advantage or new lines of business for their organizations. But only about 20 percent have incorporated AI in some offerings or processes today, and only one in 20 have extensively incorporated AI into their current offerings or processes.

Less than 40 percent of all organizations have an AI strategy in place, and while the largest organizations—those with 100,000 employees or more—are the most likely to have an AI strategy, only half do have one.

The survey also found that despite widely reported speculation about job loss from AI, less than half of survey participants (47 percent) expect their companies’ workforces to be reduced within the next five years. Only 31 percent fear that AI will take away some of the current tasks in their own jobs.

Philipp Gerbert
Philipp Gerbert

“The gap between ambition and execution is large at most companies,” said Philipp Gerbert, a BCG senior partner and report coauthor. “We also found large gaps between today’s leaders—companies that already understand and have adopted AI—and laggards. Leaders not only have a much deeper appreciation of what’s required to produce AI than laggards, they are also more likely to have senior leadership support and a developed business case for AI initiatives.”

The survey surfaced significant differences in organizations’ overall understanding of AI. For example, 16 percent of the survey respondents strongly agreed that their organization understood the costs of developing AI-based products and services. But almost the same percentage (17 percent) strongly disagreed that their organization understood these costs.

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Bob Violino

Bob Violino

Bob Violino is a freelance technology and business writer who covers a variety of topics, including big data and analytics, cloud computing, information security and mobile technology.