Despite Talent Shortages, the Percentage of Enterprises Employing AI Grew 270 Percent Over the Past Four Years

The number of enterprises implementing artificial intelligence (AI) grew 270 percent in the past four years and tripled in the past year, according to the Gartner, Inc. 2019 CIO Survey. Results showed that organizations across all industries use AI in a variety of applications, but struggle with acute talent shortages.

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“Four years ago, AI implementation was rare, only 10 percent of survey respondents reported that their enterprises had deployed AI or would do so shortly. For 2019, that number has leapt to 37 percent — a 270 percent increase in four years,” said Chris Howard, distinguished research vice president at Gartner. “If you are a CIO and your organization doesn’t use AI, chances are high that your competitors do and this should be a concern.”

The purpose of the 2019 Gartner CIO Survey is to help CIOs and other IT leaders set and validate their management agendas for the coming year. Gartner gathered data from more than 3,000 CIO respondents in 89 countries across major industries, representing $15 trillion in revenue and public-sector budgets and $284 billion in IT spending.

Game-Changer With a Talent Shortage

The deployment of AI has tripled in the past year — rising from 25 percent in 2018 to 37 percent today. The reasons for this big jump is that AI capabilities have matured significantly and thus enterprises are more willing to implement the technology. “We still remain far from general AI that can wholly take over complex tasks, but we have now entered the realm of AI-augmented work and decision science — what we call ‘augmented intelligence,’” Mr. Howard added.

CIOs have realized that sustainable digital transformation and task automation go hand in hand. AI has become an integral part of every digital strategy and is already used in a variety of applications. Survey results show that 52 percent of telco organizations deploy chatbots and 38 percent of healthcare providers rely on computer-assisted diagnostics. Other operational use cases for AI are fraud protection and consumer fragmentation.

The more enterprises work with AI, the clearer the deployment challenge becomes. Fifty-four percent of respondents to a Gartner Research Circle Survey view skill shortage as the biggest challenge facing their organization.

“In order to stay ahead, CIOs need to be creative. If there is no AI talent available, another possibility is to invest in training programs for employees with backgrounds in statistics and data management. Some organizations also create job shares with ecosystem and business partners,” Mr. Howard said.