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AI adoption and analytics are rising, survey finds

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The need for enterprise digital transformation during the pandemic has bolstered investments in AI. Last year, AI startups raised a collective $73.4 billion in Q4 2020, a $15 billion year-over-year increase. And according to a new survey from ManageEngine, the IT division of Zoho, business deployment of AI is on the rise.

In the survey of more than 1,200 tech execs at organizations looking at the use of AI and analytics, 80% of respondents in the U.S. said that they’d accelerated their AI adoption over the past two years. Moreover, 20% said they’d boosted their usage of business analytics compared with the global average, a potential sign that trust in AI is growing.

“The COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to adopt — and adapt to — new digital technologies overnight,” ManageEngine VP Rajesh Ganesan, a coauthor of the survey, said in a press release. “These findings indicate that, as a result, organizations and their leaders have recognized the value of these technologies and have embraced the promises they are offering even amidst global business challenges.”

AI use cases

ManageEngine’s survey found that the dominant motivation behind business analytics technologies, at least in the U.S., is data-driven decision-making. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said that they’re using business analytics for augmented decision making while 69% said they’d improved the use of available data with business analytics. Sixty-five percent said that business analytics helps them make decisions faster, furthermore, reflecting an increased confidence in AI.

Execs responding to the survey also emphasized the importance of customer experience in their AI adoption decisions, with 59% in the U.S. saying that they’re leveraging AI to enhance customer services. Beyond customer experience, 61% of IT teams saw an uptick in applying business analytics, while marketing leaders saw a 44% surge; R&D teams saw 39%; software development and finance saw 38%; sales saw 37%; and operations saw 35%.

HR was among the groups that showed the lowest increase in business analytics usage, according to the survey. Research shows that companies are indeed struggling to apply data strategies to their HR operations. A Deloitte report found that more than 80% of HR professionals score themselves low in their ability to analyze, a troubling fact in a highly data-driven field.

Still, Ganesan said that the report’s findings reinforce the notion that AI is a critical business enabler — particularly when combined with cloud solutions that can support remote workers. “Increased reliance on AI and business analytics is fueling data-driven decisions to operate the organization more efficiently and make customers happier,” he continued.

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