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Algorithmia Finds Firms Eye Bigger AI/ML Spends

September 28, 2020

Algorithmia has completed a survey of enterprise IT leaders regarding their AI/ML initiatives. A key takeaway from the survey was that companies are planning to increase their spending on AI/ML as a result of the pandemic, and that those initiatives should have been a higher priority for their organizations all along. Algorithmia’s 2020 Enterprise AI/ML Trends survey was completed in August by 100+ IT directors and above who are involved with AI/ML and work in companies with at least $1 billion in annual sales and 5,000 or more employees.

The events of the past six-plus months have no doubt disrupted the plans of IT organizations. In fact, 42% of IT leaders responding to Algorithmia’s survey said that at least half of all their AI/ML projects were impacted from a priority, staffing or funding standpoint as a result of the pandemic. But that doesn’t mean AI/ML projects are going away, just that their focus may have shifted. For example, 54% of IT leaders said their AI/ML projects were focused on financial analysis and consumer insight prior to the pandemic. Coming out of the pandemic, the same IT leaders say these projects will be focused on cost optimization (59%) and customer experience (58%). This suggests that while IT might lock-in on cost-cutting when times are tough, over the long-term they will prioritize the adoption of new technologies that enhance and enable automation.

Regardless of focus, IT leaders surveyed by Algorithmia are in agreement that AI/ML projects will be a priority going forward. 65% of survey respondents said that AI/ML projects were at or near the top of their priority list before the pandemic, and 33% said these applications are now higher on their list since the onset of the pandemic. Further, 43% of IT leaders surveyed by Algorithmia said AI/ML matters much more than they thought as a result of the pandemic, and 23% said they realize now that AI/ML should have been their highest priority IT initiatives all along.

The survey data also showed that IT leaders are planning to spend more on AI/ML going forward, and the pandemic is increasing demand for people with AI/ML job skills. 91% of survey respondents said they were spending at least $1,000,000 annually on AI/ML prior to the pandemic, and 50% said they are planning to spend more than that going forward. Meanwhile, a lack of in-house staff with AI/ML skills was the primary challenge for IT leaders prior to the pandemic, according to 59% of respondents, and the most important AI/ML-related job skills coming out of the pandemic are going to be security (69%), data management (64%) and systems integration (62%).

“When we come through the pandemic, the companies that will emerge the strongest will be those that invested in tools, people and processes that enable them to scale delivery of AI and ML-based applications to production,” said Diego Oppenheimer, CEO of Algorithmia. “These past several months have been difficult for most companies, but we believe investments in AI/ML operations now will pay off for companies sooner than later. Despite the fact that we’re still dealing with the pandemic, CIOs should be encouraged by the results of our survey.”

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