80% Indian executives believe AI is essential to stay in business by 2025: Accenture

PUNE: Nearly 80% of C-level executives in India believe that if they do not move beyond experimentation to aggressively deploy artificial intelligence (AI) across their organizations they risk going out of business by 2025, according to a newly released study from Accenture.

The research 'AI: Built to Scale' was conducted by Accenture Strategy and Accenture Applied Intelligence and found that while 79% of C-level executives in India believe they will not achieve their business strategy without scaling AI, only a few have made the shift from mere experimentation to creating an organization powered by robust AI capabilities.

As a result, those who have made the shift have achieved almost three times the return from AI investments compared to their lower performing counterparts.

“Over the years, the use of AI has permeated various functions, demonstrating its true transformative potential. Those who push through the barriers to embed AI more deeply in their organization are seeing a return on their AI investment of 70% or more,” said Anindya Basu, geographic unit and country senior managing director, Accenture in India.

“Indian businesses need to step on the pedal and learn from the leaders. They need to make strategic investments to scale AI as that’s the only way to realize its true business value.”

Some of the factors the top performers had in common were a strong data foundation; multiple dedicated AI teams; and a C-suite-led commitment to strategic, organization-wide AI deployment.

“A key barrier to the successful scaling of AI is the lack of the right people strategy. Companies need to ensure their employees understand both what AI is and how it applies to their day-to-day role. While the top leadership team can serve as the champions responsible for scaling AI initiatives, embedding teams with AI across the entire organization is not only a powerful signal about the strategic intent of the effort, but will also enable faster culture and behavioural changes,” said Saurabh Kumar Sahu, managing director and lead for Applied Intelligence, Accenture in India.

A large number of firms – 92% – have strategically embedded multi-disciplinary teams throughout their organizations. This cross-functional approach also helps ensure diversity of thinking, which, in addition to having tangible benefits for considerations like Responsible AI, can also maximize the value an organization sees from their AI deployments.

As part of the research, Accenture surveyed 1,500 C-Suite executives from companies with a minimum revenue of US$1 billion in 12 countries including India around the world across 16 industries, with the aim to uncover the success factors for scaling AI. The survey covered 126 C-Suite executives in India and was conducted in July and August 2019.