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A new survey conducted by Gartner revealed that as many as 79% of global business strategists see AI, analytics and automation as critical drivers for success over the next two years.
Conducted between October 2022 and April 2023, the survey highlights companies’ growing attention to next-generation technologies. Now, companies are looking to advanced systems to not only handle basic or repetitive tasks, but also high-value projects directly related to business growth, such as strategic planning and decision making.
Gartner polled nearly 200 business strategy leaders for the survey, covering companies serving diverse industries in North America, Western Europe, Asia-Pacific, Australia and New Zealand.
The wide possibilities
Even though currently only 15% of strategic planning and execution activities are automated, respondents expressed high levels of optimism about the possibilities ahead. In fact, most said that on average 50% of these tasks could be partially or fully automated in the near future.
According to the leaders interviewed, growth is bound to come as they are forced to tackle more initiatives, more data and more decisions with limited time and resources, which is not possible without faster/better ways to process and analyze data.
“Leveraging AI and analytics for more efficient and insightful strategic decisions is one of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing business strategists this year,” said David Akers, director of research at Gartner.
“For years, strategists have been telling their companies: If you want to stay competitive and effective, you have to go digital,” he continued. “They now seem ready to apply that guidance to their own workflows.”
Advanced technologies being explored
According to the survey results, established technologies are seeing aggressive adoption by enterprises, while emerging technologies are still largely experimental.
For example, 72% to 62% of respondents said they have implemented descriptive and diagnostic analytics into their workflows. However, approximately 26% and 41% had this response for more advanced prescriptive and predictive analytics. Instead, for these technologies, the majority (47% and 45%, respectively) said they are experimenting or gathering knowledge.
Similarly, for machine learning and natural language processing capabilities currently in vogue, only 20% to 23% of respondents said they have systems in the pipeline. And most still continue to be in testing and piloting.
The key to implementing advanced AI and analytics
To move from experimentation to implementation, strategic leaders should focus on addressing three key challenges identified in the Gartner survey: determining business use cases, getting the business/function comfortable with the technologies, and getting the budget to use those technologies.
The former is particularly important as much of the advanced technology is already being used successfully elsewhere. Gartner says the problem can be addressed by mapping existing capabilities to specific needs, then prioritizing the different use cases the new technology might offer by asking questions about its purpose, impact, and suitability.
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