What is AI maturity and why Accenture says only 12% of companies are AI Achievers

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has successfully overcome the barrier of being a hype machine. Today, AI is extensively embedded in our daily lives and is also transforming a number of industries that we connect with on a regular basis. For companies, however, AI is still something they need to check as a metric and not necessarily push the boundary.

According to Accenture, AI has become so important to mention for executives that 40 per cent of the 2,000 largest companies by market capitalisation are likely to see an increase in share price for mentioning AI during their earnings call. This is up from 23 per cent in 2018, but the most recent Accenture research shows that only 12 per cent of companies have advanced their AI maturity.

What is AI maturity?

Vala Afshar, the Chief Digital Evangelist for Salesforce, describes AI maturity as measurement of the degree to which “organisations have mastered AI-related capabilities in the right combination to achieve high performance for customers, shareholders, and employees.”

Afshar further explains that AI maturity depends on how organisations master a set of key capabilities in the right combination. This is not limited to data and AI but also how AI is used in organisational strategy, talent, and culture.

The AI maturity of an organisation also looks at foundational AI capabilities, which includes cloud platforms and tools, data platforms, architecture and governance. The research by Accenture notes that the metric also looks at differentiation with the use of AI capabilities.

The research explains this differentiation in the form of “AI strategy and C-suite sponsorship, combined with a culture of innovation that can set companies apart.”

What are the various types of AI maturity?

The Accenture research uses the metrics and organisational structure mentioned above to classify organisations on their AI maturity. The research shows that based on foundational capabilities and differentiation, the companies fall in four categories: Achievers, Builders, Innovators, and Experimenters.

  • AI Achievers: These are organisations showing advanced AI maturity enough to achieve superior growth and business transformation
  • AI Builders: The organisations showing strong foundational capabilities and average differentiation capabilities
  • AI Innovators: The Innovators show strong differentiation capabilities and average foundational capabilities
  • AI Experimenters: These are organisations showing average capability in both foundational as well as differentiation capabilities.

Surprisingly, the research by Accenture found that 63 per cent of organisations fall under the category of ‘AI Experimenters’ while Achievers, Builders, and Innovators collectively represent just 37 per cent. It also reveals that only 12 per cent fall under Achievers and Builders category while 13 per cent are categorised as Innovators.

What are the key takeaways from Accenture AI maturity report?

The art of AI maturity by Accenture shows that consumers are increasingly using AI-powered devices and services. To complement this use, companies are both relying and investing in AI, mainly to improve customer service, increase efficiency, and empower employees. However, only a smart set of companies are able to take full advantage of AI. Here are the key takeaways from AI maturity report by Accenture:

  • Around 75 per cent of companies have already integrated AI into their business strategies. These companies have also reworked their cloud plans to achieve AI success.
  • The report shows that 30 per cent of all AI pilot initiatives are subsequently scaled to deliver wide-range outcomes. It notes that 42 per cent of business leaders see AI projects exceeding their expectations.
  • Accenture report claims that AI transformation will happen faster than digital transformation. On average, the report predicts most companies will have AI transformation 16 months faster than digital transformation.
  • Between 2018 and 2024, the share of a company’s “AI influenced” revenue is expected to triple from more than doubling between 2018 and 2021.
  • Technology, automotive, aerospace, and defence industries are seen as most AI mature. Accenture expects the gap between tech companies and other industry verticals to narrow by 2024.
  • According to Accenture, AI Achievers are 3.5 times more likely to see their AI-influenced revenue surpass 30 per cent of total revenue compared to AI Experimenters.
  • AI Achievers are expected to demonstrate high performance across a combination of capabilities, consistently turn AI pilots into production, and focus beyond financial metrics.

How can a company get to the rank of AI Achiever?

The report from Accenture also offers guidelines on how a company can become an AI Achiever. The research identifies five areas where AI-fuelled companies need to focus:

  • Adopt AI as a strategic priority for the entire organisation
  • Invest in AI talent
  • Industrialise AI tools and teams to create an AI core
  • Use of AI responsibly from the start
  • Prioritise long and short term AI investments

The research also notes that 12 per cent of companies are setting themselves apart by moving from cloud migration to innovation. “AI Achievers know that AI maturity is as much about people as it is about technology,” Afshar writes for ZDNet.

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2048 1152 Editorial Staff
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