AI yields 30% of revenue at tech-savvy companies: Accenture

Dive Brief:

  • Companies savvy in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) generate on average 30% of their revenue from capabilities such as facial recognition, advanced scenario planning and translating speech-to-text, Accenture said describing survey results.
  • Still, only 12% of companies rise to the rank of AI “Achievers,” Accenture said, underscoring that “most organizations are barely scratching the surface” of what is possible with AI. “It’s an opportunity facing every industry, every organization and every leader,” Accenture said. “There is incentive to move quickly.”
  • The proportion of companies that make the most of AI will rise “rapidly and significantly” to 27% in 2024 from 12% today, Accenture predicted, adding that such companies outperform their peers in achieving sustainability goals and improving customer experience.

Dive Insight:

A growing number of CFOs are using AI to streamline operations and cut costs across a range of budget items, according to Accenture and findings in a similar survey by McKinsey.

The share of companies that attributed to AI at least 5% of earnings before interest and taxes rose to 27% last year from 22% in 2020, McKinsey said.

AI is especially useful in enhancing products, improving predictions, automating contracts, removing inefficiencies in customer services and trimming spending on marketing and other operations, McKinsey said. Nearly two-thirds of the 1,843 respondents to the worldwide survey said their companies plan to increase spending on AI through 2024.

Nearly three out of four companies have integrated AI into business strategy and revamped their use of the cloud to improve gains from AI technologies, Accenture found in its survey of 1,600 C-suite executives and data science executives at large companies worldwide.

Two out of five (42%) companies said AI projects exceeded expectations, while only 1% expressed disappointment in the technology, Accenture said.

Companies considered AI “Achievers” create customized AI applications or work with a partner “who offers solutions as a service” rather than buy purchase “off-the-shelf” software, Accenture said. They have aligned their plans for AI with broad business strategy and use tools and management practices to track their performance.

The leaders launch training programs to promote “AI fluency” among staff and regularly measure competency in an array of skills including coding, data processing, business analytics, machine learning and data visualization, Accenture said.

“Achievers” also pursue an AI talent strategy, including hiring and retention, that focuses beyond AI and machine learning to include ethicists, social scientists and behavioral scientists, Accenture said. Their approach adapts to regulatory shifts and aims to limit risks and sustain privacy and other essential building blocks of “sustainable, trustworthy AI.”

The leaders show that “AI maturity is as much about people as it is about technology; as much about strategy as it is about implementation. ”

Technology companies far outpace other industries in the move into AI, but “the gap will likely narrow considerably by 2024,” Accenture said.

Among sectors that have seized on AI, the auto industry has invested heavily in the future for AI-guided, self-driving vehicles; aerospace and defense companies anticipate stronger demand for AI-enabled remote systems; and life sciences will probably rely heavily on AI in pharmaceutical innovation, Accenture said.

AI leaders focus on innovation and have “capitalized on cloud’s scale and computing power to tap into new data sources,” Accenture said.

Healthcare and financial services companies aiming to embrace AI face legal and regulatory barriers, Accenture said. Also, many businesses confront a shortage of AI-trained workers and need to update their “technology infrastructures.”

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