UK businesses ‘still wary of AI implementation’

Written by Anthony Strzalek

Nearly two thirds (65 per cent) of UK businesses are convinced AI can generate value for their business, yet nearly half are being held back by concerns around AI still being in its infancy, new research suggests.

The survey, conducted by analytics firm SAS, found that nearly a third (30 per cent) of companies are not sure if they are ready for the technology, citing concerns over a lack of required skills (66 per cent), ROI (55 per cent) and fears over stories of AI malfunctioning (38 per cent).

Respondents also expressed reservations over the cost of solutions (39 per cent) and lack of trust in the technology (36 per cent), reinforcing fears that AI would not deliver sufficient ROI.

Yet, despite the misgivings that impede its implementation, businesses are broadly ramping up their investment into AI and expanding its use to enhance customer-facing services.

For example, more than three quarters (77 per cent) of businesses claimed to be actively using AI in marketing, communications or customer service. Of those that don’t currently use it, 37 per cent are planning to adopt the technology within the next two years.

The research also found that 62 per cent of Millennials admitted they would gladly use automated customer service systems if they provided a better or quicker service. And nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of consumers would be happy to let robots choose, purchase and deliver gifts to their friends and family at Christmas.

Peter Pugh-Jones, head of technology at SAS UK, said: “Whether we realise it or not, AI has already arrived. From financial services to retail, AI has become more commonplace and we are seeing its use progress from solely back-office support to increasingly front-end, customer-focused roles.

“With the ability to unlock accurate insights from vast amounts of data – in near real-time where required - AI is the key to providing the exceptionally responsive and personalised experiences that customers are demanding and businesses are seeking to deliver.”