The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) will be one of the highest priorities for many companies around the world in the coming years when it comes to their digital transformations, a new survey has stated.

Research by International Data Corporation (IDC) found half of enterprises now view AI as a business priority, with two-thirds looking to promote an ‘AI-first’ culture for their future IT solutions.

However, it also noted only a quarter of companies that have adopted this technology have put in place an enterprise-wide strategy to ensure they get the most out of it.

The organisation’s study found the main reasons for businesses to adopt AI solutions include improved productivity, greater business agility and higher customer satisfaction through automation.

Ritu Jyoti, program vice-president for artificial intelligence strategies at IDC, said: “Organisations that embrace AI will drive better customer engagements and have accelerated rates of innovation, higher competitiveness, higher margins, and productive employees.”

However, she added that in order to see success from these deployments, firms must “transform their people, processes, technology, and data readiness”. 

Some 60 per cent of respondents reported changes in their business model as part of their adoption of AI, so firms will have to be prepared to rethink how they do things if they are to unlock the full power of the technology.

The number one area for AI will be in IT operations, but customer service and risk management are not far behind.

IDC’s survey also found that most organisations saw some degree of failure in their efforts to implement AI, with a quarter of firms reporting failure rates of up to 50 per cent.

Key reasons for these failures included a lack of skilled staff and unrealistic expectations for the projects.

Ms Jyoti said: “For many organisations, the rapid rise of digital transformation has pushed AI to the top of the corporate agenda. 

“However, as AI accelerates toward the mainstream, organisations will need to have an effective AI strategy aligned with business goals and innovative business models to thrive in the digital era.”

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