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Executive Awareness: The Key to Boost AI Adoption In Any Industry

New report recommends progressing from executive awareness to understanding is pivotal to the development of machine learning and AI.

Amidst the growing demand for the adoption of ‘AI in Everything’ and the pertinent opportunities in leveraging the technology in public and private organizations, we find a drastic transformation in AI research.

What’ the biggest challenge to making AI ubiquitous?

Apart from the obvious factors of budget and investments, relevance to the industry and the degree of automation targeted, there is another key challenge to AI adoption in any organization. It’s executive awareness about AI and related technologies, including Machine Learning, IoT, Industrial Automation, Deep Science, and Cloud Computing.

In the most recent AI survey by RELX Group, competitive AI came as the biggest outcome. 88% of the senior executives polled in the US have agreed that AI and machine learning will help their businesses become more competitive. In making digital transformation successful, AI and machine learning are essential for public and private organizations to stay competitive in this Industrial Era 4.0. However, the biggest challenge is what the executives think about AI!

According to the report, the three most popular uses of AI and machine learning are:

  • to increase efficiencies or worker productivity (51%),
  • to inform future business decisions (41%)
  • to streamline processes (39%)
Ray Perrault
Ray Perrault

As a relevant scope of further discussion on the executive awareness about AI and machine learning, Raymond Perrault, Senior Technical Advisor, AI Center, SRI International, provided his deep insights.

Raymond said, “Because of the range of its problems of interest, diversity of its technical approaches, and dependence on other scientific areas for both fundamental techniques and applications, AI is a very hard field to circumscribe. Yet doing so is essential to understanding its technical progress, the resources it consumes, and its impact on society. The methodology being developed in this study is a major step in defining its contours.”

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Decision-makers championing digital transformation are still lagging in their opinion about adopting AI as a game-changer in the new era of doing business. In the survey, the report highlighted the value of the technologies. Most executives are able to define the new technologies but only half of them have actually managed to identify these technologies as a game-changer in their organizations.

“Only 56 percent of organizations use machine learning or AI. Furthermore, only 18% of those surveyed plan to increase investment in these technologies.”- RELX Group Report

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Kumsal Bayazit, Chair of RELX Group
Kumsal Bayazit, Chair of RELX Group

At the time of this announcement of the report findings, Kumsal Bayazit, Chair of RELX Group’s Technology Forum, said, “Organizations who can successfully use emerging technologies such as AI and machine learning to provide their customers with better products and advanced analytics can emerge as the leaders of the future.”

Kumsal added, “While awareness of these technologies and their benefits is higher than ever before, (an) endorsement from key decision makers has not been enough to spark matching levels of adoption. Acknowledging that the world is changing needs to be coupled with significant investment and focus on these emerging technologies to stay competitive in today’s business landscape.”

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Additional key findings from the RELX Emerging Tech Executive Report include —

  • AI and machine learning are making their mark as 69% of those polled believe emerging technologies have had a positive impact on their industry
  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence are helping solve challenges by automating decision processes (40%), improving customer retention (36%) and detecting fraud, waste, and abuse (33%)
  • Only two-fifths (39%) of respondents believe their organizations are getting the most value out of AI and machine learning
  • Less than half (40%) of senior executives surveyed believe the US is the world leader in AI development

Progressing from executive awareness to understanding is pivotal to the development of machine learning and AI.

RELX Group’s survey shows that 94% of industry leaders are aware of artificial intelligence and 91% are aware of machine learning. However, of those respondents, 18% could not answer how or why these technologies were being implemented in their organizations. One explanation for the lack of AI and machine learning adoption is a disconnect at the decision-making level. Senior leadership must be able to understand the practical use of, and objectives for, advanced technology in order to articulate the message to their employees and drive top-down buy-in and implementation.

Emerging technologies are being used to empower employees to work better and smarter, not to replace labor.


With Ipsos, RELX Group surveyed 1,000 adults in the United States between the ages of 30 – 74. To qualify, respondents had to be employed full-time, have a household income of at least $50,000, work at a company with more than 50 employees, and currently be a senior executive or senior decision maker/leader at their company. Respondents were from one of the following industries: government, healthcare, banking, legal, insurance, science/medical. The poll was conducted in September 2018.

Currently, RELX Group is a global provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries. The Group serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in about 40 countries.

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