Saturday, April 10, 2021

CIOs Turn to Machine Learning for Business Growth

ServiceNow uncovered more evidence that machine learning and other artificial intelligence (AI) technologies can help businesses run a tighter and potentially more profitable ship.

The company’s recent survey (PDF) of 500 CIOs from 11 countries, conducted by Oxford Economics, revealed that more than half (52 percent) of enterprises are using machine learning software to automate complex decision making after having already used the technology to automate routine tasks. A large majority (87 percent) expect to derive value out of those decisions. Sixty-nine percent believe that machine learning systems can make decisions that are more accurate than humans.

“We see three kinds of processes as targets for machine learning—anything requiring rating, ranking or forecasting,” said Chris Bedi, CIO at ServiceNow, in a statement. “Everyday work such as the assignment of IT tickets and prioritizing sales leads are already delivering results. Machine learning has rapidly moved from hype to reality.”

The survey results also reinforce the notion that AI can help workers reclaim and refocus one of their most valuable and oftentimes fleeting resources: time.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents said that employees and executives spend a significant amount of time on routine decision making, the type that machine learning can help with. A majority (69 percent) of CIOs believe that decision automation can help organizations improve sales.

All told, most CIOs are sold on machine learning.

Nearly half (49 percent) of CIO said their organizations are using machine learning, from pilot programs to business-wide implementations. Forty percent are currently in the research and planning phase. Fifty-two percent of respondents said machine learning plays a critical role in digital transformation.

So-called “first movers,” or the fewer than 10 percent of CIOs who got an early start, are more bullish on the technology than their peers.

First movers are more likely to expect sales increases (90 percent) due to machine learning’s decision automation capabilities compared to the rest (67 percent). Over 70 percent of first movers have crafted a roadmap detailing the changes to their business processes versus 33 percent for those further behind the curve.

First movers also reported “higher levels of maturity in the use of leading platforms, which allows them to concentrate on innovation, such as automating complex decision-making, which immediately impacts the bottom line,” observed Bedi.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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