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82% of firms pressing ahead with investment in AI despite 50% being unclear on its business impact or how to implement it

London, UK: Research from Orgvue, the organisational design and planning software platform, shows that businesses continue to ramp up investment in AI despite being unclear on its business impact or how to implement it. 82% of organisations have already invested, with another 33% saying they will increase this by more than 50% in the coming year.

Based on an international survey of 1,000 C-suite and senior decision makers at medium and large organisations, the report, Human-first, machine enhanced: the role of AI in workforce transformation, highlights contradictions in the business community concerning technology investment and AI’s impact on the workforce.

On the one hand, 61% of respondents said they expect AI to replace people in their organisation, with 41% saying they think AI will completely disrupt their industry. A further 69% said that AI will be the main driver of workforce transformation over the next three years. On the other hand, 48% are unsure how they will manage developments in AI to optimise the use of the technology.

Oliver Shaw, CEO of Orgvue, commented:
“Organisations are beginning to realise that the practicalities of embedding AI into core business operations is far from simple. There’s a dichotomy between the need for business leaders to prepare for AI entering the workforce, their desire for change, and the organisation’s ability to make this transformation a reality.
“This gap in thinking stems from a lack of clarity on exactly how AI will impact the business and the workforce. Indeed, our research indicates spending so far has been more of a gold rush than a carefully plotted journey. This will make managing the transformation all the harder.”

Business leaders are excited about AI’s potential for growth and productivity (79%), but 70% said they have a responsibility to protect their workforce from redundancies before adopting AI and 78% think human intervention is critical to preventing negative outcomes from AI. For this reason, 80% plan to reskill employees to use AI in the workplace.

Similarly, 78% want governments to introduce stricter rules and regulations, while 54% believe regulation has not kept pace with investment in AI and 70% saying AI should be regulated immediately.

Shaw added:
“Whether it’s optimism or naivety, CEOs are confident AI will solve their business challenges. But the data shows that divisional leaders are less convinced by the impact of AI, with a pronounced scepticism at this level of the value AI can bring to the business and how quickly it can be embedded into everyday operations.

“This is a dangerous position for organisations to find themselves in. A disconnect in perspective – between those at the top and those responsible for delivery – will ultimately derail any long-term plans for business change.

“To achieve their AI ambitions, CEOs should arm themselves with a better understanding of how AI will truly impact the work their people do today and the skills their organisation has, as well as how this may change over time.”