Nine in 10 business leaders believe artificial intelligence (AI) will be critical to their organisation’s survival over the next five years, according to a survey by SAP.
The software company polled 2,500 C-level executives globally and found that six in 10 will implement some form of AI over the next year, while a third are planning to make significant investments in the technology over the same period.
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In the UK, 88% of business leaders said they could use AI to make predictions that would support future business decisions, while 94% said “active intelligence” technologies, which create a real-time view of operations so businesses can react instantly, would be a key factor in their ongoing success.
Three-quarters felt their leadership style would need to change as a result of the implementation of these technologies.
Among the key aspects of AI business leaders are keen to implement are digital assistants, according to SAP. Two-thirds of UK respondents (63%) said it would be vital to deploy tools such as chatbots and voice assistants over the coming years.
A similar number (61%) of UK C-level executives thought that AI would transform current jobs, but only 31% felt it would replace current jobs altogether. Most respondents (74%) agreed that upskilling existing staff was a priority in the next three years.
Alex Guillen, Go-to Market Manager at technology company Insight UK, said the cultural impact of AI would require leaders to look closely at how their organisations were configured.
He said: “AI paves the way towards creating a next generation workforce, where bots deal with the time-consuming repetitive tasks, offering organisations the chance to redeploy workers to more engaging and value-creating tasks.
“But as business leaders increase adoption of complex AI, they’re going to look at how to configure the organisation to manage, monitor and support the bots – just like you would people. To be successful, organisations need to have a culture of fitting automation in the same way they need a culture to fit a diverse workforce.
“What organisations need to realise is that technology has and is continuing to transform the way we work. The future will move fast, and this will put a premium on people and organisations who can adapt quickly.”