Nearly every CEO is deploying AI to enhance the business –

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Most business leaders from companies around the world are looking to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) and automation tools in the medium term. That is according to a wide-ranging survey of CEOs, conducted by Arthur D. Little.

In the race to adopt new innovations that bring additional growth, top companies are increasingly looking to AI. In fact, 96% of CEOs surveyed by the management consultancy said that they have already deployed AI in one form or another, though most of these programs are still in an early stage.

Ai is clearly still in its infancy, with only 13% of CEOs noting their organization currently has a compelling, enterprise-wide AI strategy in place.

As far as regional differences, Asia has the highest level of adoption of AI technologies. Three quarters of Asian companies reported having company-wide strategy or strategic view on AI adoption. That is significantly higher than the global average.

Lagging behind is South America, where 19% of business leaders reported having no AI solutions whatsoever implemented, a far high level of inaction than any other region. With many companies scrambling to not be left behind with this emerging technology, most CEOs cannot afford inaction.

The respondents noted that the highest levels of application for AI were in industries like energy & utilities, manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, and automotive. These sectors are suggested to have the most to gain from increased efficiency for core functions.

Much of that increased efficiency can be linked to AI tools that are able to automate routine tasks, which can then free up employees to engage in more value adding activities.

Some of that AI-fueled boost in efficiency is likely in customer service, but can also be in other areas like knowledge management and decision-making, with AI capable of very quickly and easily searching vast information databases, a valuable asset in many industries.

“To predict market movements, we are using AI and machine learning, which we are using more and more for scenario analysis and predictive modeling,” said one CEO of a telecommunications firm in response to the survey.

Though the potential applications for AI are extensive, there are still considerable obstacles. Chief among them: The need to reskill employees to be able to master the use of new AI tools.

In order to full take advantage of AI, CEOs believe they need to transform their workforces, with 59% seeing a strong or very strong need to reskill their employees, up from just 13% in 2023. That indicates a big change in thinking on AI.

Some of this huge increase in the need for reskilling since last year also signals the wide-ranging impact of AI’s rapid rise. In manufacturing, 68% of CEOs saw a strong need to reskill in 2024 compared with a mere 5% in 2023, attesting to the sector’s lack of AI maturity.

“The world faces a range of pressing challenges, intensified by current turbulence. Innovation is central to overcoming these issues,” said Ignacio García Alves, chairman and CEO at Arthur D. Little.

“Our study shows that CEOs agree and are focusing on bringing together AI and human skills to innovate and move forward to ensure future success for their businesses and society as whole.”

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