New AI Report Finds Link Between AI and Business Success

Organizations are spending more on their AI budgets this year, to the tune of 55% more compared to last year.

Decision makers are also moving away from AI as a silver bullet to solve all business challenges but are turning to AI to support specific internal processes, to better understand their data, and for efficiency gains.

This was reported in the 2021 State of AI and Machine Learning Report released by Appen, a provider of training data for AI systems. More than 500 professionals from organizations with more than 100 employees were surveyed as part of the study in March 2021. Half were business leaders, while the other half consists of technologists – either data scientists, data engineers, or developers.

State of AI and ML Report

Below are some of the key findings from the report.

  • Acceleration of AI strategy: Enterprises of all sizes have accelerated their AI strategy in 2020 because of COVID-19 and will continue to do so in 2021.
  • A shift in decision making: A significantly higher percentage of technologists are responsible for making decisions for AI projects and putting them into practice. C-level executives are now responsible for only 39% of organizations (71% last year), with companies delegating responsibilities to vice presidents and directors.
  • AI budgets have increased: Increased budgets (55%) for organizations with AI budgets of between $500K and $5 million. Just one in four (26%) have reported budgets of under $500K, signaling market maturity.
  • External training data providers: An overwhelming majority of organizations have partnered with external training data providers to deploy and update AI projects at scale – a reflection of the fact that data acquisition, preparation, and management are the top challenges AI practitioners face.

There is at least one area that will benefit from greater alignment: Business leaders and technologists are not yet aligned when it comes to ethics and interpretability. Specifically, technologists have a greater concern for ethics (41% versus 33%), while business leaders are more concerned with interpretability (47% versus 38%).

On a positive note, both business leaders and technologists cite risk management as the top lens that they are using when it comes to responsible AI.

“This year’s State of AI report exemplifies how the maturing of AI projects, the desire for faster and greater ROI, and the increased reliance on third-party training data providers like Appen go hand in hand,” said Wilson Pang, chief technology officer at Appen.

“High-quality data is the foundation for success for every AI project, and no amount of tweaking of algorithms can negate the consequences of bad data. Companies that want to deliver better results faster understand that third-party training data is a must,” he said.

The State of AI and Machine Learning Report can be downloaded here (free registration).

Image credit: iStockphoto/Dilok Klaisataporn