APAC companies recognize AI as a competitive advantage, but see corporate culture as a major challenge


Around 80% of business decision-makers in Asia-Pacific recognize the importance of artificial intelligence (AI) in securing the competitive advantage of their business, but only 41% have actually started to deploy such tools. Among those who did, the lack of commitment and skills of leaders are the biggest hurdles they face, revealed in a new study from IDC and Microsoft.

These AI users also highlighted the lack of tools and infrastructure to apply actionable insights as a key challenge, according to the study, which surveyed 1,605 business decision makers and 1,585 employees in 15 markets. the region, including Singapore, China, India, Japan, Indonesia, Australia and Vietnam. Respondents came from industry verticals such as government, healthcare, financial services and automotive.

Respondents who had adopted AI estimated that by 2021, AI would increase their competitiveness by 100%, according to the study. Additionally, 26% said they have turned to AI to improve customer engagement, while 19% cited the need to increase competitiveness. 18% pointed to higher margins, while 15% adopted AI to drive innovation and 9% did so to help their employees be more productive.

According to Victor Lim, IDC’s vice president of consulting operations for Asia-Pacific, companies that adopted AI last year said they saw tangible improvements in customer engagement, competitiveness, revenue, innovation and employee productivity. This year, these companies expected further improvements of at least 1.8 times over a three-year period, Lim said, adding that the largest expected increase was in areas of innovation and competitiveness of the business. Marlet.

Organizations in the region, however, needed to develop their skills and tools to better harness AI, the analyst said.

Lim noted, “Asia-Pacific is not yet ready for AI. To be successful in the AI ​​race, markets across the region need to dramatically improve their readiness. The leadership of organizations should make AI a central part of their strategy and develop a culture of learning agility. They must continually invest in this transformative technology for long-term success, sometimes without immediate return.

“There is an urgent need for talent and tools to develop, deploy and monitor AI models, as well as the availability of a robust data park with adequate governance,” he said.

More than half of survey respondents felt that the cultural components that facilitated AI adoption, including proactive innovation and cross-functional collaboration between teams, were still not ubiquitous.

Interestingly, despite suggestions that AI would replace human jobs, 62% of business leaders as well as 66% of employees believed technology would either help them perform better in their existing roles or reduce repetitive tasks. . And while 20 percent of business leaders thought it might be too difficult for employees to develop new skills, 14 percent of employees thought it would be a challenge.

Additionally, 18% of business leaders said AI would create new jobs, while 15% believed it would replace jobs, Lim said. “Workers are more optimistic, with just 5% expecting AI to replace jobs, while 13% expect AI to create new ones,” he said.

Microsoft Asia President Ralph Haupter added that 84% of business leaders prioritize worker training and retraining in the future, but 64% have yet to implement plans to help their employees learn the right skills.

Haupter said: “Business leaders must now embrace a new culture, where innovation and continuous learning are essential elements of organizational culture. This paves the way for agility, adaptability and growth.

“Today’s jobs won’t be tomorrow’s jobs, and we’ve already seen the demand for software engineer positions expand rapidly beyond just the tech sector. However, building an AI-ready workforce does not necessarily mean an acute need for technological skills, “he noted.

According to the study, the top three skills needed in the future were quantitative and analytical, numerical, as well as adaptability and a lifelong learning mindset.

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