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Firms cautious of AI implementation over data security fears
Tue, 5th Dec 2023

Despite Chancellor Rishi Sunak announcing a £500 million investment in artificial intelligence (AI) over the next two years, 49% of senior decision-makers remain unconfident in implementing AI technology into their organisations, reveals a new report from digital transformation consultancy, Daemon. Entitled 'Is AI a craze or crucial: What are businesses really doing about AI?', the study shows the primary reason behind this concern is data security and privacy.

Senior business decision-makers from various sectors in the United Kingdom such as financial services, retail, distribution and transport, and energy, oil/gas and utilities participated in the study. Daemon commissioned Vanson Bourne, an independent market research agency, to carry out this research. Of the participants, an astounding 99% are eyeing to exploit artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML) to seize new opportunities.

In terms of adoption, the retail, distribution, and transport sector shows significant enthusiasm. 97% of these organisations report either 'some or significant' adoption of artificial intelligence, contrasted to 91% in the financial services segment. AI and ML implementation is witnessing growth with a 48% increase since 2021, and adoption has risen to 48% amongst organisations in the United Kingdom, up 21% year on year.

However, nearly half (49%) of senior decision-makers express low confidence in the implementation of AI technology, primarily due to concerns surrounding data security and privacy. Other areas of concern include trust issues with finding reputable vendors (31%), existing legacy technology (29%) and perceived low skill level within the organisation (24%).

Despite their reservations, the report indicates how organisations are ploughing ahead with the implementation of AI/ML in the upcoming 12 months. Objectives include expanding IT resources/reducing skills gaps (33%), enhancing customer experience (29%), and transitioning away from legacy systems (28%).

It is evident how AI/ML is reshaping businesses and their future strategies. Ian Ray, Head of Data, machine learning and artificial intelligence at Daemon, says, "Organisations need to ensure AI is a strategic enabler as part of their broader digital transformation approach." He also highlights, "Smaller organisations are broadly more confident in implementing AI, particularly in areas such as personalisation and intelligent document processing."

Businesses are recognising the value of digital transformation consultancies, seeking their services more over the last two years. 43% of organisations found their strategic support invaluable in resolving issues. In addition, pressure from customers has increased hiring a digital transformation consultancy by 17% over the last two years.

Ray further adds that businesses are under the constant stress of turbulent economic pressures, reduced budgets, rapidly evolving consumer needs, and the swift application of new technologies like AI. He suggests a relentless approach towards digital transformation and a readiness to alter their digital investment priorities based on "business strategic direction, external trends and insights, and the customer's perspective."