85% of UK businesses are planning to invest more in artificial intelligence by 2020

A whopping 85% of UK businesses plan to make an investment in artificial intelligence (AI) as well as the Internet of Things (IoT) by 2020, according to a survey by Deloitte which forms part of the company’s new Digital Disruption Index.

The first edition combines the responses of 51 organisation that share a combined market value of £229bn.

Fifty-three percent of respondents are planning to invest over £10 million in digital technologies such as AI, the cloud and virtual reality by 2020. In 2017, 30% are looking to invest more than £10 million in these technologies.

However, the report also noted that most IT functions had budgets over £20 million assigned, which signals that companies are holding back.

As such, just 9% of executives currently believe that the UK is world leading when it comes to exploring new digital technologies.
Paul Thompson, UK digital transformation leader at Deloitte, explains:

“The first edition of the index shows that few UK businesses are successfully exploiting digital technologies and ways of working. Strategies are not coherent, investment levels are modest and the relevant skills are in short supply. As a result, the UK isn’t living up to its digital potential.”

According to the survey, executives believe that AI will have the largest impact on their businesses in the future. Despite this belief just 22% have already invested in it.

Among the top uses of AI in the workplace, executives cited automation of judgment-based processes (62%), predictive and prescriptive analytics (54%) and automation of manual processes (54%).

A majority of respondents expect AI to disprut their respective industries. However, just under half would predict their workforce to get smaller as a result of AI adoption. A mere 8% believe AI will replace human activity.

Thompson adds:

“AI will have a profound impact on the future of work. Our view is that human and machine intelligence complement each other, and that AI should not simply be seen as a substitute. Humans working with AI will achieve better outcomes than AI alone, and UK businesses need to get this careful balance right.”

Respondents also noted that there was a good opportunity of school leavers to enter the labour market. However, only 20% of them believe that enough graduates are possessing the right skills.

Data scientists and analysts are among the most sought after roles for digital strategy.