Machine Learning Adoption on the Rise, but Lack of Specialised Staff Could Hinder Progress

04/01/2024

The AI and ML Conundrum

Almost half (47%) of businesses have integrated machine learning (ML) into their processes, yet paradoxically, half (50%) do not employ a single person in an AI, ML, or data science role. This intriguing insight comes from recent research conducted by STX Next, a software consulting firm, which surveyed 500 global CTOs for their 2023 Global CTO Survey.

Challenges in AI Adoption

Further growth in AI and ML could be stunted by this lack of specialised staff. Companies are integrating AI into their operations without hiring the necessary specialists. However, 41% of the technical leaders surveyed admitted they have not implemented any AI technologies, highlighting the significant progress yet to be made.

Haphazard Adoption of AI

The survey revealed that despite AI’s rapid growth, its adoption seems to be somewhat haphazard. Only a quarter of companies have a distinct AI/Data division, and a mere 38% have between one and five members dedicated to an AI/ML or data science role. This raises questions about the purpose of AI if dedicated teams are not being established with the same enthusiasm.

Current AI Solutions in Use

The most prevalent AI solution identified by STX in the survey is image detection/segmentation (23%), followed by recommendation systems (20%) and optical character or text recognition (19%). However, more advanced AI tools are being developed, with 24% of companies stating they have now implemented natural language processing, and 22% have implemented deep learning.

AI’s Future Prospects

AI’s popularity this year has been driven largely by the success of large language models like ChatGPT. However, AI has many use cases beyond models like these and can support many business functions. In 2024, we hope to see an increase in uptake of AI and ML in other business processes,” said Bartek Roszak, head of AI at STX Next.

A Call to Action for Leaders

According to Roszak, while many leaders acknowledge AI’s potential, there is still a need for more investment in specialised resources to support its development. “Implementing machine learning in one form or another will soon be crucial in keeping pace with changes in the industry and meeting customer expectations,” he added. “AI and ML’s popularity shows no sign of slowing over the coming twelve months. CTOs should acknowledge its potential, balancing the needs of the business with the unique needs of clients and customers. Those that are able to adapt by enhancing their skillsets will reap the rewards in 2024.”

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