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59% of Indian Enterprises Have Actively Deployed AI, Highest Among Countries Surveyed: IBM Report

Top factors driving adoption in India are accessibility of AI tools, need to reduce costs and automate, and increase in AI embedded into off the shelf business applications

59% of Indian Enterprises Have Actively Deployed AI, Highest Among Countries Surveyed: IBM Report

Outlook Start-Up Desk

POSTED ON February 17, 2024 12:04 AM

New research commissioned by IBM found that about 59% of enterprise-scale organizations (over 1,000 employees) surveyed in India have AI actively in use in their businesses. The ‘IBM Global AI Adoption Index 2023’ found early adopters are leading the way, with 74% of those Indian enterprises already working with AI, having accelerated their investments in AI in the past 24 months in areas like R&D and workforce reskilling. 

Ongoing challenges for AI adoption remain, including hiring employees with the right skills and ethical concerns, inhibiting businesses from adopting AI technologies into their operations. Therefore, in 2024 addressing these inhibitors would be a priority, like providing people with the relevant skills to work with AI and having a robust AI governance framework.

According to Sandip Patel, managing director, of IBM India and South Asia The increase in AI adoption and investments by Indian enterprises is a good indicator that they are already experiencing the benefits from AI. However, there is still a significant opportunity to accelerate as many businesses are hesitant to move beyond experimentation and deploy AI at scale

“To harness its full potential in the coming months, data and AI governance tools are going to be critical for building AI models responsibly that enterprises can trust and confidently adopt. Without the use of governance tools, AI can expose companies to data privacy issues, legal complications, and ethical dilemmas – cases of which we have already seen plaguing many across the world,” he added.

As per the ‘IBM Global AI Adoption Index 2023’ conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the tech major, over the last several years, AI adoption has remained steady at large organizations surveyed. Today, 59% of IT professionals at large organizations report that they have actively deployed AI while an additional 27% are actively exploring using the technology. 

Similarly, around 6 in 10 of IT professionals at enterprises report that their company is actively implementing generative AI and another 34% are exploring it.

74% of IT professionals at companies deploying or exploring AI indicate that their company has accelerated their investments in or rollout of AI in the past 24 months in areas like R&D (67%), reskilling/ workforce development (55%) and building proprietary AI solutions (53%).

Easier to use AI tools and the need to reduce costs and automate processes are driving AI adoption among surveyed companies. Advances in AI tools that make them more accessible (59%), the need to reduce costs and automate key processes (48%), and the increasing amount of AI embedded into standard off the shelf business applications (47%) are the top factors driving AI adoption. 

The skills gap remains the biggest barrier to AI adoption in India. The top 5 barriers hindering successful AI adoption at enterprises both exploring or deploying AI are limited AI skills and expertise (30%), lack of tools/platforms for developing AI models (28%), AI projects are too complex or difficult to integrate and scale (27%), ethical concerns (26%) and too much data complexity (25%). 

The need for trustworthy and governed AI is well understood, but barriers are making it difficult for surveyed companies in India to put into practice. IT professionals are largely in agreement that consumers are more likely to choose services from companies with transparent and ethical AI practices (98% strongly or somewhat agree) and 94% say being able to explain how their AI reached a decision is important to their business (among companies exploring or deploying AI).

However, despite understanding its importance only a minority are taking key steps towards trustworthy AI like reducing bias (36%), tracking data provenance (46%), making sure they can explain the decisions of their AI models (52%), or developing ethical AI policies (46%). 

The top barriers for developing trustworthy and ethical AI are the lack of an AI strategy (57%), lack of company guidelines (55%) and lack of AI governance and management tools that work across all data environments (55%).

Among surveyed organizations in India, AI is already having an impact on the workforce. Among companies citing AI’s use to address labor or skills shortages, they are tapping AI to do things like reduce manual or repetitive tasks with automation tools (63%), automate customer self-service answers and actions (63%) or using AI to improve recruiting and human resources (56%).

46% are currently training or reskilling employees to work together with new automation and AI tools. 51% said that employees at their organization are excited to work with new AI and automation tools.

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