Research Firm: Number of Enterprises Using AI Triples in 1 Year

Research firm Gartner published a new report indicating the number of enterprises using artificial intelligence (AI) has tripled in the past year, despite an AI talent shortage.

That exploding growth has been trending upward for a while now, as Gartner says the percentage of enterprises employing AI grew 270 over the past four years.

The new data is based on the company's 2019 CIO Survey conducted last fall, polling 3,000 CIO respondents in 89 countries and all major industries who represent some $15 trillion in revenue/public-sector budgets and $284 billion in IT spending.

"Four years ago, AI implementation was rare, only 10 percent of survey respondents reported that their enterprises had deployed AI or would do so shortly," said Chris Howard, distinguished research vice president at Gartner. "For 2019, that number has leapt to 37 percent -- a 270 percent increase in four years. If you are a CIO and your organization doesn't use AI, chances are high that your competitors do and this should be a concern."

While Gartner says it publishes the report to help CIOs and other IT leaders set and validate their new year management agendas, it can also serve as guidance for software development managers and coders plotting their 2019 development efforts and skills/training plans.

Those who have AI skills are certainly sitting pretty, as Gartner said 54 percent of respondents to a Gartner Research Circle Survey saw the skills shortage as the biggest challenge facing their organization.

"In order to stay ahead, CIOs need to be creative," Howard said. "If there is no AI talent available, another possibility is to invest in training programs for employees with backgrounds in statistics and data management. Some organizations also create job shares with ecosystem and business partners."

As organizations struggle with new ways to address the exploding demand for digital and AI development skills, Gartner says digital businesses have reached a "tipping point," in which the movement evolved from an experiment to mainstream.

"Digital initiatives topped the list of priorities for CIOs in 2019, with 33 percent of businesses now in the scaling or refining stages of digital maturity -- up from 17 percent last year," the company said last October in a news release about the survey.

The aforementioned statistic of 37 percent growth in organizations implementing AI actually puts it in second place behind cybersecurity implementations (reported by 88 percent of respondents) in the survey, and Gartner voiced some caveats about the exploding technology.

"On the surface this looks revolutionary," said Andy Rowsell-Jones, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "However, this bump in adoption rate of AI may indicate irrational exuberance instead. While CIOs can't afford to ignore this class of technologies, they should retain a sense of proportion. This latest batch of AI tools is yet to go through its trough of disillusionment."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.