Microsoft study highlights AI business value and opportunity

Report commissioned by Microsoft found 71% of companies are already using AI, with organisations realising a return on their investments within 14 months

Organisations waging their bets on AI are seeing tangible business impact, with a Microsoft-sponsored study finding that for every $1 a company invests in AI it is realising an average of $3.5X. 

The study, conducted by IDC, also found that organisations are realising a return on their investments within 14 months and also uncovered the biggest barrier to adoption – a lack of skilled workers able to implement and scale AI.  

Surveying more than 2,000 business leaders and decision makers, the study – which builds on the results from Microsoft’s Work Trend Index – focused on workplace productivity and examines how companies are monetising their AI investments, from generating new revenue streams to delivering differentiated customer experiences, to modernising internal processes.

“IDC is projecting that generative AI will add nearly US$10tn to global GDP over the next 10 years,” said Ritu Jyoti, Group Vice President AI and Automation for IDC. “Calculating the value of new investments in gen AI requires building the business case by simulating potential cost and responsible value realisation.”

Key findings from this study show:
  • 71% of respondents say their companies are already using AI
  • 92% of AI deployments are taking 12 months or less
  • Organisations are realising a return on their AI investments within 14 months
  • For every $1 a company invests in AI, it is realising an average return of $3.5X

“Business leaders and decision makers need to understand the industry and line-of-business use cases that are best positioned to drive value within their organisations, what the return on investment will be, what time to value to expect, and how to get started,” she wrote on a blog post. “In short, they need help demystifying the business case for AI.”

The survey data confirms that businesses are eager to adopt AI technology, with 71% of survey respondents currently using AI tools in their organisations, and 22% planning to do so within the next 12 months. However, even with this momentum and positive outlook for what AI can help them achieve, organisations are facing challenges when it comes to implementation. A shortage of skilled employees is holding companies back from accelerating their AI-based innovations, with 52% of those surveyed reporting a lack of skilled workers needed to implement and scale AI initiatives across business functions as the top blocker.  

Microsoft commissioned a study through IDC that provides unique insights into how AI is being used to drive economic impact. Pic: Microsoft

“To help address the skilling gap, Microsoft has already engaged over 6 million people globally in learning activities in the last 12 months and has ambitions to provide skills to everyone using our AI technology,” Taylor added. “We have also empowered our ecosystem of more than 400,000 partners worldwide with the skills needed to implement AI technology responsibly and to deliver greater customer value.”

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