The coronavirus pandemic has brought a level of uncertainty and challenges to almost every aspect of society. IT and business leaders, employees and customers have had to alter the way they conduct their day-to-day activities. However, these unprecedented times have also resulted in improved communication, better collaboration, and the creation of more efficient workflows/processes. According to CIO’s Pandemic Business Impact Survey fielded in July 2020, more than half (58%) of IT decision-makers (ITDMs) say that the effects of the pandemic are accelerating their digital transformation efforts.

Cue Artificial Intelligence (AI) – the simulation of human intelligence processes by computer systems. While continuously learning from observations and data, AI has the ability to predict and prescribe future outcomes. As the amount of data that organizations collect and ultimately must sort through increases, AI and machine learning are key factors to improving business decision-making. The recent CIO Pandemic Business Impact Survey also found that 54% of ITDMs agree that the work from home shift has forced the digitization and automation of existing workflows and processes.

As C-suite executives and business leaders have learned that their organizations need to be prepared for anything, it has become clear that AI is a business necessity for agility. Along with machine learning, AI tools have the ability to process information at a higher speed than humans, and arguably with fewer errors due to the algorithms put in place. This allows IT and business leaders to understand their problem and ultimately execute a plan faster. According to the InnovateMR COVID-19 B2B Study, organizations are also very/somewhat likely to increase their AI consideration as a way to flatten or reduce human capital costs throughout the business (48%).

So how does this need for agility translate into spending? CIO’s most recent Pandemic Business Impact research found that 1/3 of organizations anticipate investing more dollars to AI in order to become a digital business compared to three months ago. AI is the fourth technology on this list, behind big data/analytics, business process management, and mobile devices. Despite the fact that AI solutions can lessen human capital in some areas of the business, AI adoption plans also increase the need for new skills. In the next 12-18 months, 24% of ITDMs plan to hire for artificial intelligence and machine learning skills. Of these ITDMs planning to hire for AI/ML skills, 41% anticipate that filling these skills will be difficult, making it the most challenging skill to fill.

When it comes to the buyer’s journey, AI and machine learning is quickly shifting from the actively researching stage to the adoption stage of technology investments. Tech vendors working in the sector have a big opportunity now, as organizations have a pressing need for these tools and solutions. Learn more about how you can sponsor one of our monthly Tech Spotlights, highlighting top-of-mind content like AI.

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