Most business leaders say AI is critical for the survival of their firms

A global survey of business leaders has revealed that rather than hindering them, AI will be key to the survival of their companies over the next five years.

Nine out of ten business leaders believe AI is critical for the survival of their organisations over the next five years.

SAPPHIRE NOW (SAP) has revealed its latest global research that, of 2,500 C-level executives, six out of ten business leaders have implemented or are planning to implement AI in the next year.

What’s more, a third of business leaders are planning to make serious investments (between US $500,000 and $5 million) in AI in the next 12 months.

With pressure on business leaders to make the right decision in the face of severe uncertainty greater than ever, the technology now exists to turn what is currently passive knowledge spread across the organisation into active intelligence – keeping the business one step ahead.

What about the UK-specific findings?

The survey unveiled some interesting nuggets about UK business leaders.

First off, 88 per cent of leaders think they could use AI to make predictive judgments on business-critical decisions in the future.

Active intelligence will be key to survival, with 94 per cent believing that the deployment of active intelligence technologies will be a key contributing factor to their survival over the next five years.

The increasing need for digital assistants was also highlighted –  63 per cent think that to attract the appropriate digitally native staff, it is vital they deploy active intelligence and digital assistants.

Changing leadership style came to the fore. A significant 74 per cent of UK business leaders agree that leadership styles will have to change with the deployment of active intelligence technologies.

Ivo Totev, chief marketing officer at SAP Cloud ERP, says the findings demonstrate that business leaders understand the importance of AI within their organisation. He also notes that the C-suite today face ever changing pressures to make the right decision in these times of severe uncertainty, which is only set to heighten as digital disruption grips their organisation.

But he says that the future doesn’t need to be so uncertain,

‘The next step for leaders is implementation. AI has the capability to transform what is currently passive knowledge into active intelligence across the organisation. SAP Cloud ERP solutions have AI capabilities embedded in ready-to-use solutions making it easy for small businesses to benefit from AI without the need of a team of experts,’ he adds.

‘Leaders must be willing to make the transformation to ensure they prosper tomorrow.’

Further reading on artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence in 2018: Three things SMEs need to know

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.