AI/Machine Learning

A new analysis reveals business is clamouring for AI, but struggling to find the people to do it

- March 17, 2023 2 MIN READ
National AI Centre. Stela Solar
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has gone mainstream, but implementing it is still a major challenge according to a new report by the government-funded National AI Centre (NAIC).

The report, Australia’s AI Ecosystem Momentum report, spoke to more than 200 business decision-makers and AI service providers about how they were using the technology to grow their revenues and improve efficiency.

While companies of all sizes are keen to embrace AI tech, its implementation often requires multi-disciplinary teams to design end-to-end solutions and the problem is that the service provider ecosystem is still fragmented and niche. A majority of respondents to the report, 60%, said they are accelerating and expanding their AI offerings to meet market demand.

But privacy, security and data quality are challenges to AI adoption, exacerbated by talent shortages for implementing and operating AI systems.

As a result, NAIC director Stela Solar, said companies need to be comfortable with the idea of working alongside several providers to ensure they get complete solutions that deliver business outcomes.

“Before they start thinking about working with external partners for their projects, business leaders should take the time to understand where AI can deliver benefits across their business,” she said.

“AI project exploration should start with identifying priority business outcomes, before moving to assess whether this is a unique challenge that will require a bespoke solution or if the solution already exists in a pre-configured or packaged form.”

The companies involved in the NAIC analysis reported engaging at least four AI technology and service providers to deliver a project, while 28% said they worked with more than six providers. Only 17% use a single provider.

The good news, Solar said, is Australian businesses responding for the analysis reported an average revenue growth of $361,315 for each AI-enabled solution they implemented.

“Over 80% of businesses surveyed expected their year-on-year revenue to grow, with technology at the centre of their growth strategies,” she said

The report also highlights the importance of taking a ‘Responsible AI’ approach, as AI can have far-reaching ethical implications for customers, society and the world at large. It calls on business leaders to take accountability to build and deploy AI systems which create responsible outcomes.

The top three benefits of implementing AI, according to the report are improved security, greater revenue growth and increased cyber safety.

Increased automation of internal processes and improved operational efficiency and effectiveness were also shown to be significant advantages of AI adoption.

Minister for Science and Industry Ed Husic said AI is poised to transform industries.

“AI should be seen as more than just a business tool. We can put it to work to benefit communities and national wellbeing too,” he said.

“But seizing that business potential will take some work, building awareness and working across businesses, large and small, to make that a reality. Australia’s got some top AI talent here and we need to scale up this effort for the longer benefit of the nation.”

Download the AI ecosystem report here.