Businesses are quickly putting artificial intelligence (AI) to use in the workplace. The percentage of companies trying out an AI tool has tripled in just six months. Companies that are still in the research stage may risk falling behind their competitors.
A Gartner poll finds 55% of companies are either in “piloting” (experimenting) or production mode with generative/conversational AI tools. Gartner polled 1,400-plus executives with titles like CIO and CFO to gauge AI’s progress.
Companies’ adoption of AI is downright rapid: 45% are experimenting with AI to run everyday business functions compared to just 15% polled by Gartner in the spring. Nearly half are scaling AI across more than one business function, while 22% are piloting AI on three or more functions.
Ten percent of companies have put AI solutions like ChatGPT into production or regular use. That’s a big jump from 4% back in March. The No. 1 concern for decision makers remains the same – privacy and protection of company and customer data.
AI brings its share of risks, as many are learning
Despite the cybersecurity concerns, execs seem determined to barrel ahead. Gartner found a whopping 78% of execs say the benefits of AI outweigh the risks. That includes business leaders whose organizations are still in the “dipping their toes” stage.
A Harvard and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study found using AI on various work tasks boosted productivity by 12%. Even better, work got done 25% faster with “40% higher quality results compared to those not using AI.”
The downside? Errors spiked by 19% when consultants “pushed the envelope” with AI. (BCG consultants used the Open AI’s GPT-4. GPT stands for generative pre-trained transformer.)
While “some tasks are easily done by AI … others though seemingly similar in difficulty level are outside the current capability of AI.” Bottom line: People are better off working alone on more complex tasks and decisions that may require empathy and honesty.
Marketing, software development top users of AI
Customer-facing departments make up 47% of current AI experimentation or usage by businesses, according to the Gartner poll. Broken down, those subdivisions are marketing (19%), customer service (16%) and sales (12%). IT/IS usage of AI makes up 30% of the pie – 21% by software development teams and 9% in tech infrastructure and operational work.
The top three reasons execs cited for investing in generative AI are:
- growth initiatives (30%)
- cost optimization (26%), and
- customer experience/retention (24%).