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DDMA AI Maturity Test 2022: Explainability of AI gains importance while AI drives real innovation

Artificial Intelligence has reached a point where it is no longer a novelty. AI models are now powering a myriad number of things and everyday, we are seeing more traditional industries adopt AI to drive their business value. In a relatively short span of time, we have gone from the idea of AI adoption to the idea of accelerated adoption of AI.

With many companies adopting cloud technologies and metaverse becoming the future for tech companies like Facebook, use of AI is only set to advance further. With AI adoption set to reach a new crescendo, it is important to see how AI is maturing in the marketplace. Last month, Accenture revealed its AI Maturity Index and how only 12 per cent companies can be described as AI achievers.

Now, DDMA has released its own report that aims to measure AI maturity. The index shows that AI models are becoming increasingly sophisticated within the data-driven marketing sector. The DDMA AI Maturity Test shows that no less than 92 per cent of the participants indicate “that they make more use of advanced machine learning techniques.”

What is DDMA AI Maturity Test?

DDMA is the largest industry association for data-driven marketing, sales, and service. The DDMA AI Maturity Test is an initiative of the DDMA Artificial Intelligence Committee. As a network of advertisers, non-profits, publishers, agencies, and tech suppliers who use data in an innovative and responsible way to interact with consumers, the organisation has an immense understanding of how AI is used and its maturity in the marketplace.

DDMA uses knowledge and advice to help its members to work data-driven and consumer-oriented, and to develop a vision on data use. The organisation also helps its members to deal with legal changes.

“We also give our members a voice in The Hague and Brussels and we professionalise the sector by developing self-regulation,” DDMA says on its website. This year’s DDMA AI Maturity test involved 52 organisations from the Netherlands, but the figures are not completely representative for the whole country.

DDMA AI Maturity Test: A look at key findings

The AI Maturity Test from DDMA shows that 86 per cent of the organisations that use AI have an infrastructure fully dedicated to AI models and applications. It also shows that AI is being used more across the board while 27 per cent say that they have multiple critical AI applications live compared to 10 per cent last year.

This big shift in deployment of critical AI applications shows how AI adoption is accelerating in a big way. DDMA also reveals that there is a profound change in adoption of AI among small organisations with less than 500 employees. With only 10 per cent indicating that they mainly focus on ‘traditional’ statistical techniques, the AI Maturity Test makes clear what was already known in the industry: AI adoption has reached maturity.

Last year, DDMA AI Maturity Test saw 50 per cent of the organisations using AI say that they mainly focus on ‘traditional’ statistical techniques. The AI Maturity Test also reveals that larger organisations with more than 500 employees are further ahead than their smaller counterparts.

Apart from showing that smaller companies are adopting AI faster than before while larger companies evolve their AI Maturity, the report also shows the challenges. The DDMA AI Maturity Test reveals that AI is not yet tackled in a holistic way by companies. “Only 20 per cent of the participants who use AI do so from an overarching organisational vision,” DDMA observes.

AI driving real innovations

The overarching message from the AI Maturity Test 2022 by DDMA is that AI is being used to drive real innovations and processes with nearly 60 per cent of organisations using AI agreeing to the notion. At 33 per cent, more than half of these companies say that AI is driving a number of essential business processes.

There is definitely some discord between the tech side and the business side of the market. Those with technical background see AI driving business processes more positively than those in the business side. The tech side of the market does acknowledge that getting AI models into production “still remains a challenge.”

Explainability of AI model gains importance

The most positive element of the report comes in the form of explainability and accountability gaining importance in the AI industry. Within the AI world, ethics is being increasingly discussed and the explainability of AI models are taken into account. The AI Maturity Test also shows that factors such as the risks of AI models are also being accounted for in the development of AI.

Among large organisations, 84 per cent indicate that they can explain their AI models. However, almost 54 per cent of these organisations are focussing on achieving results rather than explainability of AI.

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