One-third of technology and service provider organizations with artificial intelligence (AI) technology plans said they would invest $1 million or more into these technologies in the next two years, according to a new survey from Gartner, Inc. The vast majority of survey respondents (87%) with AI technologies as a major investment area believe industrywide funding for AI will increase at a moderate to fast pace through 2022.
“Rapidly evolving, diverse AI technologies will impact every industry,” said Errol Rasit, managing vice president at Gartner. “Technology organizations are increasing investments in AI as they recognize its potential to not only assess critical data and improve business efficiency, but also to create new products and services, expand their customer base and generate new revenue. These are serious investments that will help to dispel AI hype.”
Compared with other emerging technology areas such as cloud and IoT, AI technologies had the second-highest reported mean funding allocation. Respondents whose organizations invested in AI reported their highest planned investment in computer vision, at an average of $679,000 over two years
“Very few respondents reported funding amounts of less than $250,000 for AI technologies, indicating that AI development is cost-intensive compared to other technology innovations. This is not an easy segment to enter due to the complexity of building and training AI models,” said Rasit.
Barriers to AI Adoption and Integration Remain
The survey also highlights the relative immaturity of AI technologies compared to the other innovation areas. Just over half of respondents report significant target customer adoption of their AI-enabled products and services. Forty-one percent of respondents cited AI emerging technologies as still being in development or early adoption stages, meaning there is a wave of potential adoption as new or augmented AI products and services enter general availability.
Technology immaturity is cited as a top reason among AI-investing organizations leading to failure when integrating an emerging technology. Furthermore, product leaders investing in AI whose implementations are progressing slower than expected reported product complexity and a lack of skills as the main hindrances to their progress.
“These survey responses reflect the difficult cycle of developing AI technology, given its complexity, as well as industrywide challenges in hiring AI talent due to the finite number of skilled individuals,” said Rasit.
The 2021 Gartner Second Annual Emerging Technology Product Leaders Survey was conducted online from April through June 2021 among 268 respondents from China, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Singapore, the U.K. and the U.S. Respondents were required to be involved in their organizations’ portfolio decisions when it comes to emerging technology, working at an organization in the high-tech industry with enterprisewide revenue for fiscal year 2020 of $10 million or more.
Gartner clients can read more in the report “Emerging Technologies: AI Technology Spending in 2021 — Survey Trends.” Learn which emerging technologies can help generate ROI in the Gartner Emerging Technologies Roadmap. Learn how to track and plan for digital disruptions in the complimentary Gartner webinar “7 Digital Disruptions You Might Not See Coming in 2020-2025.”