Every time you use a wayfinding app to get from point A to point B, use dictation to convert speech-to-text, or unlock your phone using face ID…you’re relying on AI. And companies across industries are also relying on—and investing in—AI, to improve customer service, increase efficiency, empower employees and so much more.
In 2021, among executives of the world’s 2,000 largest companies (by market capitalization), those who discussed AI on their earnings calls were 40% more likely to see their firms’ share prices increase – up from 23% in 2018, according to analysis by Accenture.
However, when it comes to making the most of AI’s full potential and their own investments, most organizations are barely scratching the surface.
Our recent research revealed that only 12% of firms have advanced their AI maturity enough to achieve superior growth and business transformation. These “AI Achievers” can attribute nearly 30% of their total revenue to AI, on average. And even in the pre-pandemic era (2019), they enjoyed 50% greater revenue growth on average, compared with their peers. They also outperform in customer experience and sustainability.
Our machine learning models suggest that the share of AI Achievers will increase rapidly and significantly, more than doubling from the current 12% to 27% by 2024.
Advancing AI maturity is no longer a question of “if,” but “when.” It’s an opportunity facing every industry, every organization and every leader. And as we confirmed in our research, there is incentive to move quickly.
Our survey of over 1,600 C-suite executives and data-science leaders from the world’s largest organizations found that nearly 75% of companies have already integrated AI into their business strategies and have reworked their cloud plans to achieve AI success.
And they’re putting those plans into practice: nearly a third (30%) of all AI pilot initiatives are subsequently scaled to deliver wide-ranging outcomes, from accelerating R&D timelines for new products to enhancing customer experiences. 42% said that the return on their AI initiatives exceeded their expectations, while only 1% said the return didn’t meet expectations.
With early successes building confidence in AI as a value-driver, we estimate that AI transformation will happen much faster than digital transformation—on average, 16 months faster.
The incentive to move quickly is strong. We found, for example, that the share of companies’ revenue that is “AI-influenced” more than doubled between 2018 and 2021 and is expected to roughly triple between 2018 and 2024.
What is AI maturity?
To uncover strategies for AI success, Accenture designed a holistic AI-maturity framework. Fittingly, our analysis was conducted using AI. We applied machine learning models to unravel massive survey datasets and uncover drivers of AI maturity (and therefore, AI performance) that would have been impossible to detect with more traditional analytical methods.
Our research found that AI maturity comes down to mastering a set of key capabilities in the right combinations—not only in data and AI, but also in organizational strategy, talent and culture.
This includes “foundational” AI capabilities—like cloud platforms and tools, data platforms, architecture and governance—that are required to keep pace with competitors. It also includes “differentiation” AI capabilities, like AI strategy and C-suite sponsorship, combined with a culture of innovation that can set companies apart.
The companies that scored best in both categories are the “AI Achievers” – the group we mentioned earlier. “AI Builders” show strong foundational capabilities and average differentiation capabilities, while “AI Innovators” show strong differentiation capabilities and average foundational capabilities.
Achievers, Builders and Innovators collectively represent just 37% of surveyed organizations—Achievers accounted for 12%, Builders for 12% and Innovators for 13%.
A fourth group we’re calling “AI Experimenters”—those with average capabilities in both categories—make up the majority (63%) of those surveyed.
Read the full report at https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insights/artificial-intelligence/ai-maturity-and-transformation.