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Only 12% of companies use AI’s full potential — Accenture

Organizations have been leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) but the latest research from Accenture showed that only 12% are using it at an AI maturity level. According to the research, AI maturity is the degree to which organizations outperform their peers in a combination of AI-related foundational and differentiating capabilities.

The global research “The Art of AI Maturity: Advancing from Practice to Performance” studied strategies for AI success through a holistic framework, which includes a new index to express company AI maturity on a 0-100 scale. The research puts the median AI maturity of organizations at a moderate score of 36, revealing most companies have significant opportunities to generate greater value with AI.

Regardless of industry, the impact of AI on businesses is growing and accelerating. The world’s largest companies that discussed AI on their earnings calls in 2021 were 40% more likely to see their share prices increase — up from 23% in 2018. Accenture noted that investments in AI are on the rise. In 2021, 19% of the surveyed companies used more than 30% of their tech budgets for AI projects. By 2024, the percentage of organizations investing more than 30% of their tech budgets in AI will increase to 49%.

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Dubbed AI Achievers, the 12% of organizations posted a score of 64 on the maturity scale “almost doubling that of others and correlating with 50% higher revenue growth than their peers.”

“We believe every part of every business must be transformed by technology, data and AI, in some cases resulting in total enterprise reinvention,” said Sanjeev Vohra, global lead for Applied Intelligence at Accenture, in a media release. “AI Achievers are showing their peers what’s possible when you release the full potential of talent and technology, working in tandem, supported by a clear vision and commitment to change. But even this most mature group has plenty of room for growth. And while most industries have AI Achievers, they vary greatly in how AI-mature they are overall and the leaps they will make.”

Other categories that differentiate organizations that leverage AI according to their level of utilization include:

  • AI Experimenters – 63% – barely scratching the surface of AI’s potential with an AI maturity score of 29
  • AI Innovators – 13% – scoring 50
  • AI Builders – 12 % – scoring 44 and somewhat advanced in their level of AI maturity, but are still leaving the full value of AI untapped

The research is based on financial and non-financial data of 1,176 firms that use AI and survey data from 1,615 executives, conducted from August to September 2021, in 16 industries.

AI maturity

Not surprising though is that technology firms posting AI maturity score of 54 and the research found this will rise moderately to 60 in 2024. Driven by the increase in self-drying vehicles, Accenture research sees carmakers and suppliers will leap from a moderate 39 today to 57 in two years. Retail companies will evolve in their AI maturity from 38 today to 54 in 2024.

The Accenture research observed that many retail companies show a deeper commitment to AI transformation than other industries citing as example Walgreens Boots, which has been leveraging the technology to offer customers highly personalized digital service and migrated from legacy databases to advanced cloud databases and analytics. The company also built more than 100 high-value AI products that create detailed customer profiles and help it better optimize inventory and prices.

“Adopting AI at scale and embedding it deeper in all aspects of business is no longer a choice, but a necessity and opportunity facing every industry, organization and leader,” Vohra said. “While the science of AI is ground-breaking and inspiring, harnessing it fully is an art that leaders must continually practice. Our report provides actionable recommendations for how to advance AI maturity to join the ranks of the AI Achievers.”