Businesses keen to adopt AI despite challenges

Artificial intelligence

The popularity of enterprise AI continues to grow but practices and maturity are stagnant as organizations run into challenges implementing AI within their organizations.

The annual AI Adoption in the Enterprise survey from learning platform O'Reilly finds a lack of skilled people and difficulty hiring topped the list of challenges to adopting AI, cited by 19 percent of respondents. This compares to last year when 22 percent named company culture as the major barrier.

Companies are feeling the skills shortage most acutely in the areas of ML modeling and data science (52 percent), understanding business use cases (49 percent), and data engineering (42 percent). The survey also finds that the percentage of companies with AI products in production over the last year (25 percent) is flat when compared with 2020 (26 percent) and 2019 (27 percent), which may also reflect the AI skills gap.

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"Enterprise AI has grown; the sheer number of survey respondents will tell you that, but deployment of AI applications into production has remained roughly constant, and with it, overall maturity in the field," says Mike Loukides, vice president of content strategy at O'Reilly and the report's author. "It's no surprise that the demand for AI expertise has exceeded the supply -- that's been predicted for years -- but it’s important to realize that it’s now become the biggest bar to wider adoption."

Among other findings 26 percent of respondents report mature practices, a figure tht has remained roughly the same over the last few years. Among respondents with mature practices, scikit-learn (65 percent) and TensorFlow (65 percent) are the most used AI tools. This varies slightly for respondents evaluating or considering AI with scikit-learn at 48 percent and TensorFlow at 62 percent.

The retail sector (40 percent) has the highest percentage of mature practices. Education (10 percent) has the lowest but the highest number of respondents who say they are considering AI.

The full report is available from the O'Reilly site.

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