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1 in 2 businesses flag ‘substantial’ AI spending

By Christine Chen
21 June 2024 | 12 minute read
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A survey finds adoption is booming as organisations seek to drive growth, improve customer experience and cut costs.

Around one in two small and medium businesses have flagged “substantial” investment in AI to come over the next five years to enable a company-wide adoption of the technology, according to a recent survey.

The survey, commissioned by Schneider Electric, found 48 per cent of businesses would take an all-in approach to AI, while 45 per cent said they would opt for a more gradual project-by-project approach.

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“These findings paint a clear picture: AI is no longer just for big businesses, and organisations of all sizes and sectors are looking to leverage the technology to meet their growth, efficiency, and customer satisfaction targets,” Joe Craparotta, vice president of Schneider’s Secure Power division, said.

“AI is already built into many platforms businesses use, but now there is an opportunity to unlock its capabilities to improve business outcomes.”

Two-thirds of the 500 respondents surveyed said their IT budgets have increased year-on-year, with around half planning on implementing AI by purchasing off-the-shelf solutions to then tailor to their specific needs.

Only 16 per cent said they intended to build their own AI tools, with most being larger enterprises.

The survey said AI would be used by businesses to meet their IT priorities, including achieving growth, improving customer experience and managing costs.

The most common forms of AI included generative AI (63 per cent) and application embedded AI (39 per cent). Quality control, visual inspection and robotic process automation uses rounded out the top five.

Respondents said the main hurdles to adopting AI were concerns over security and data integrity (42 per cent).

The survey said that while scepticism was healthy, there were real use cases for AI today that were delivering “significant results” and late adopters would fall behind.

“[AI’s] existing capabilities are only going to improve and expand their influence across all sectors of the economy and life,” it said.

“This isn’t ‘hype’. It is just the observable and provable reality ... these are developments that business and IT leaders should not be ignoring.”

To facilitate the adoption of AI, it said businesses and IT leaders should modernise their IT infrastructure and consider whether the data storage centres they used would be able to handle the increased strain that came with AI use. They should also ensure they approach AI projects with ethical, environmental, and security concerns in mind.

“AI will impact each of these areas significantly and to ensure optimal outcomes AI projects will need strong leadership on these topics,” it said.

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