Barriers to AI adoption: Infrastructure, talent and fear

Susan Bowen

 June 11, 2019


Occasionally in this blog series, I like to take the time to highlight some of the interesting developments in our industry and to look at where Cogeco Peer 1 fits in.

Throughout my career, the promise and challenge of understanding and adopting emerging technologies has been a common theme. Lately, that challenge has particularly focused on artificial intelligence (AI), a massive technological advancement that is being adopted at an increasing rate within the enterprise. In fact, a recent Gartner CIO Survey showed that the number of organisations using AI has rocketed 270% since 2015.

However, conversations I’ve been having with our customers show that there are still several barriers that are hindering the adoption of AI, despite the industry excitement. These include:

  • The appropriate infrastructure not being in place
  • The right people available to manage such a technology shift
  • Fear of the unknown: business continuity and disruption

Last month I had the privilege to engage with City A.M., a highly regarded business newspaper in the UK, to offer my opinion on this topic. The resulting article highlighted the way in which AI is shaping the business landscape and how it is necessary for companies to overcome initial barriers to enable the adoption of such technologies.

Some highlights from the article:

  • DATA, both business and personal, is fast becoming an essential utility like transport, energy, and water. It is critical to the efficient functioning of modern life.
  • Thanks to developments in data technology, as well as advanced algorithms and super-fast processing, we now have artificial intelligence (AI) that is capable of seeing and learning from patterns in data. The promise of AI is that it will make businesses more efficient and effective, increase profits, reduce costs, and generally make life easier and better for us all.
  • As the demand for AI solutions grows across all industries, we are faced with an AI talent shortage. Finding the right people, who have the combination of skills and knowledge necessary to unleash the full potential of AI is an increasing problem and underpins the already-growing “digital skills gap” in our society.
  • A further barrier to AI adoption is risk aversion – or fear of the unknown – at the C-suite level. Those within an organisation who are inclined to champion AI will understandably reverse course if they don’t have executive backing. This lack of support can often be attributed to a lack of understanding about how the technology works or the benefits it delivers. It can be difficult for a business leader to see the profit-generating potential of an experimental AI project. Other business opportunities can easily take priority.
  • By outsourcing IT Infrastructure requirements, a business can not only reduce costs and avoid risks but also bring in talent and expertise. The technical requirements and knowledge of how to implement AI require not only the right technology but the right people and processes too.
  • Companies should invest in building an AI mindset by preparing employees with the necessary education, ownership, tools and processes that they require in order to engage with AI. This will have tangible business benefits.
  • AI is inevitable and will bring its own winners and losers. Those that can master the power of this technology will enjoy competitive advantages that they could only dream of today. I have no doubt that – when it comes to their infrastructure requirements at least – many companies will outsource their way to achieving success.

If you want to read more, you can find the article in its entirety here.

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