How is the democratisation of AI increasing its usage?

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While implementing artificial intelligence (AI) can be challenging, its democratisation is increasing its usage in the enterprise. This is according to a Deloitte survey of AI early adopters, as part of the firm's Technology, Media, and Technology Predictions 2019.

More companies are starting to benefit

In the past, AI has typically demanded a wealth of expertise and resources. As a result, many companies have lacked the ability to harness the true power of machine learning, deep learning, NLP, or computer vision.

From the data, it is evident that respondents took varied paths to implementing AI. However, enterprise software with integrated AI and cloud-based development platforms represented "two major avenues for companies to access AI technology."

In the US, AI early adopters use of deep learning increased from 34% in 2017 to 50% in 2018. This growth is reportedly due to cloud-based services, many of which specialise in making AI more accessible.

Deloitte also discovered that companies are 2.6 times more likely to prefer acquiring AI over traditional IT capabilities. As cloud technologies become more pervasive and prevalent, early adopters of AI are producing better results in the enterprise space.

The few bring AI to the many

Today, big enterprise software firms are now integrating AI capabilities into cloud-based enterprise software. As a result, AI is becoming available to the mass market - with tech giants leading the way.

Between 2017 and 2018, for example, US respondents increased their number of full-scale AI implementations from 6 to 9. In effect, this was a 50% rise that also validated Deloitte Global's prediction in 2018.

Early adopters of AI are now benefitting from a positive ROI of 16%. While ROI is an obvious gain for companies, many believe AI will also disrupt their competitiveness over the next two years.

This supports another report from Tata Communications, which found that 43% of corporate decision makers saw a “significant” positive impact from integrating AI into their operations. However, the majority of respondents (48%) said that they were most optimistic about Internet of Things (IoT).

AI is becoming "mission-critical"

Of the executives Deloitte surveyed, 53% said that AI is currently "very important" in terms of their company's success. 43% of respondents also said that this would be the case in two years time.

Just 10% said that AI is "critically important" to the success of their business strategy, at present. However, 38% stated that AI would become critical in their enterprise over the next two years.

By betting that AI will play a critical role in their competitiveness, companies are increasing their investments in the technology. Respondents spent an average $3.9 million on AI in 2017, but expected this to rise to $4.8 million in 2019.

According to the report, AI adoption will accelerate as more services enter the market. From pre-packaged enterprise AI solutions to development tools, new offerings will enable AI to become more widely available for companies across the board.