Enterprise data cloud company Cloudera’s new study, “Limitless: The Positive Power of AI,” released in March, is based on two online surveys conducted by Sapio Research in August 2021. For the first, 10,880 knowledge workers working in companies with 1,000+ employees were surveyed in 16 countries including France (1,000 respondents), and for the second 2,213 business decision-makers, in the same countries and organization profile (150 French respondents). The study examines their changing attitudes towards AI, machine learning (ML) and data analytics.
The research results show that workers are not afraid of AI replacing them. An explosion in the amount of data now available to companies has made AI/ML a common thread in many jobs and a powerful ally.
For example, half of knowledge workers say their daily tasks have been augmented or automated by AI (55%), ML (51%) and data analytics (63%) in the past 12 months.
For 37%, this has saved them time and allowed them to focus on strategic work (35%). In addition, 80% of knowledge workers would be willing to take on a new position focused on AI/ML/Data Analytics.
Support sustainable business practices to accelerate company growth and attract talent
More than a quarter (26%) of business decision makers are now increasingly investing in environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) of new product/service development (24%) or accelerating financial growth (21%).
Nearly a quarter (24%) of corporate decision makers and more than one in five knowledge workers (22%) felt that their company should publicly support sustainable business practices. In addition, the vast majority of knowledge workers (81%) say there is a need to use AI to deliver more sustainable business practices that benefit both their company and the communities they work for.
However, less than a third (31%) of business decision makers are implementing these technologies while having a limited understanding of how they work. Companies that fill these gaps and invest in AI, ML and data analytics have a real competitive advantage.
Erica Orange, vice president of The Future Hunters, said:
“I truly believe that using megadata and AI to make more sustainable business decisions will be a critical aspect of future competitiveness. A key part of that will be rethinking business success metrics to go beyond optimized metrics on profit and focus on real environmental impact.”
Invest in employee retraining
Employees who are not comfortable with AI, ML and data analytics cite insufficient investment by their employer to help them learn these skills (52%). On the decision makers’ side, the majority (71%) recognize the need to invest in training, but 22% have no training plan. On the other hand, 91% said their organization would commit to ongoing investment in employee reskilling in conjunction with task automation.
While skills are a key issue, for respondents on both panels, the barriers to new projects on these technologies are budget constraints (45% of decision makers and 42% of workers) and resistance to change (40% of decision makers and 42% of workers).
Decision makers also cite the ability to scale (40%), while workers point to management’s lack of understanding of their tasks (42%).
Mick Hollison, president of Cloudera, concludes:
“The results of this study demonstrated that a new wave of economics that has enabled such important things for profit, planet and people – driven by automation and AI – is emerging. For business leaders, this means it’s time to refocus their thinking on technology investment, identifying not only the data that will support growth, but also the technology that will help employees and communities access it in meaningful ways. At Cloudera, we’re working with our customers to transform their economic output through data analytics and AI.”