The top barriers businesses face in adopting AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) is on the minds of many organizations as a way to help them better manage their business, customers, and day-to-day processes. But the road to AI is not necessarily an easy one, as organizations face a host of barriers in their quest to AI adoption, according to a Wednesday study from SnapLogic.

Among the 300 IT decision makers in the US and UK surveyed by research house Vanson Bourne for SnapLogic, 93% said that their organizations are fully committed to AI, with plans or projects already in the works. Some 74% reported that their businesses have already kicked off AI projects within the past three years or more. Despite these initial efforts, obstacles have reared up.

SEE: The 10 most in-demand AI jobs in the world (TechRepublic)

A lack of access to skilled talent was the biggest barrier to AI adoption, with 40% of the respondents putting it at the top of their list. A full 51% said they don't currently have the necessary in-house skills to execute their AI strategy. This obstacle was more acute in the UK where 73% of the respondents reported the lack of sufficient internal skills versus 41% in the US.

In both the US and UK, manufacturing and IT are the two sectors most challenged by a shortage of necessary in-house talent. For the manufacturing industry, 69% of respondents in the UK and 50% in the US rated the lack of internal skills as the top barrier. In the IT industry, 56% of those in the UK and 41% of those in the US shared the same sentiment.

Other challenges to AI adoption cited in the study include an insufficient budget, a lack of access to the necessary tools and technologies, a lack of access to useful data, insufficient collaboration amongst different teams, and a lack of executive sponsorship and oversight.

Circling back to the biggest barrier, what are companies doing to address their lack of necessary internal skills for AI adoption? Building the right AI team is the logical first step, and knowing which skillsets you need is a major part of that task.

Among the respondents, 35% cited coding, programming, and software development as the top skillsets they want in creating an AI team. Some 34% pointed to an understanding of governance, security, and ethics as a necessary skill. Data visualization and analytics skills was next on the list, followed by education with a degree in a field related to artificial intelligence and machine learning.

To build the right type of AI team, 68% of the respondents said their companies are retraining existing employees, 58% said they're seeking talent from other organizations, and 49% said they're looking to recruit people from universities.

For more, check out TechRepublic's article on the top lessons from senior leaders on AI adoption and digital transformation.

Also see