European organisations will lead on AI by 2024, Accenture research finds. However, more than 60% are only experimenting with AI, creating significant opportunities for value on their journey to AI maturity.
New global research from Accenture shows that European organisations are forecast to have the highest artificial intelligence (AI) maturity score by 2024, pulling ahead of organisations in other regions including the US.
“The Art of AI Maturity: Advancing from Practice to Performance” uncovers strategies for AI success through a holistic framework, which includes a new index to express company AI maturity on a 0-100 scale. According to the research, AI maturity is the degree to which organisations outperform their peers in a combination of AI-related foundational and differentiating capabilities. These capabilities include the technology – data, AI, cloud – as well as organisational strategy, Responsible AI, C-suite sponsorship, talent and culture.
Currently, European organisations have a median AI maturity score of 37, which is on par with the global average of 36 and ahead of US organisations (31). By 2024, European organisations are projected to have reached a score of 53 – versus 50 across companies globally and 49 in the US.
The majority of European organisations (64%) are still AI Experimenters. With an AI maturity score of 31, they barely scratch the surface of AI’s potential. Somewhat advanced in their level of AI maturity are the AI Innovators (16%), scoring 50, and AI Builders (9%), at 42. Just 12% are AI Achievers, organisations that are using AI to outpace their competitors – their relatively high AI maturity correlates with 50% higher revenue growth than their peers.
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Examples for the current and projected future state of AI maturity by industry include the following:
- Tech firms already have a high AI maturity score of 54, which will rise moderately to 60 in 2024, but still position them at the pinnacle of AI maturity across all industries.
- In contrast, carmakers and suppliers will leap from a moderate 39 today to 57 in two years — betting on a significant surge in sales of AI-powered self-driving vehicles.
- Similarly, retail companies will evolve in their AI Maturity from 38 today to 54 in 2024. Notably, many retail companies show a deeper commitment to AI transformation than other industries. Walgreens Boots, as part of its efforts to create a more data-driven organisation that can offer customers highly personalised digital service, migrated from legacy databases to advanced cloud databases and analytics. The company also built more than 100 high-value AI products that create detailed customer profiles and help it better optimise inventory and prices.
- Regardless of industry, the impact of AI on businesses is growing and accelerating. The world’s largest companies that discussed AI on their earnings calls in 2021 were 40% more likely to see their share prices increase — up from 23% in 2018.
- Moreover, investments in AI are on the rise. In 2021, 19% of the surveyed companies globally (Europe: 20%) used more than 30% of their tech budgets for AI projects. By 2024, the percentage of organisations investing more than 30% of their tech budgets in AI will increase to 49% (Europe: 54%).
Subsequently, the machine learning models utilised for the research suggest that the share of AI Achievers will increase rapidly from the current 12% to 27% globally and 29% in Europe by 2024.
Gavin Stephenson, UK lead for Applied Intelligence at Accenture:
“The projected future AI maturity is a promising sign that investments from both businesses and governments alike across Europe are starting to pay off. However, business leaders should not get complacent. Europe is a powerhouse for industries that are driving much of this projected growth in AI maturity over the next two years. Every organisation will need to invest ambitiously in AI to maintain this lead over the longer term, and leaders must ensure that it is fully embedded into their business strategy if they want to gain a strong competitive advantage.”
Sanjeev Vohra, global lead for Applied Intelligence at Accenture:
“We believe every part of every business must be transformed by technology, data and AI, in some cases resulting in total enterprise reinvention. AI Achievers are showing their peers what’s possible when you release the full potential of talent and technology, working in tandem, supported by a clear vision and commitment to change. But even this most mature group has plenty of room for growth. And while most industries have AI Achievers, they vary greatly in how AI-mature they are overall and the leaps they will make.”
“Adopting AI at scale and embedding it deeper in all aspects of business is no longer a choice, but a necessity and opportunity facing every industry, organisation and leader. While the science of AI is ground-breaking and inspiring, harnessing it fully is an art that leaders must continually practice. Our report provides actionable recommendations for how to advance AI maturity to join the ranks of the AI Achievers.”