Large enterprises aren't the only ones investing in machine learning and other artificial intelligence (AI) tools. Many mid-market companies are also pursuing AI-enabled business processes, according to a Deloitte study.
After surveying 500 mid-market and private companies, each with annual revenues of $100 million to just over $1 billion, Deloitte discovered that more than half (62 percent) were already using AI, or machine intelligence, to analyze business outcomes. Fifty-four percent of respondents said they were using cognitive interpretation technologies to derive information from images and text.
"In addition, many of the respondents—43 percent to be exact— predict that cognitive insights will be the most beneficial application of machine intelligence. Human resources is one ripe area for such insights," stated the report. "For instance, companies are using machine platforms such as chatbots to guide prospective candidates through the application process."
Data analytics is another mid-market must-have.
Sixty-five percent of organizations are using data analytics to report business results and increase the accuracy of their forecasts, which are often crucial in seizing market opportunities. Fifty-six percent are using the technology to predict customer behavior, up from 54 percent in 2016.
Only one percent of those polled said they don't use data analytics, a figure that has held steady since last year.
Blockchain is another technology that a growing number of mid-sized businesses are embracing.
More than a third (34 percent) of respondents said they plan to use blockchain to store and secure digital records. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) plan to use blockchain to execute smart contracts and 19 percent plan to exchange digital assets with it.
Blockchain holdouts are clearly in the minority. A mere 14 percent said they had no plans to use the shared-ledger technology.
Deloitte's research also sheds some light on the technology budgeting decisions at mid-market firms.
This year, 36 percent of respondents said they spend more than five percent of their organization's revenue on technology, up from 28 percent in 2016 and 30 percent in 2015. Only nine percent of companies consider their technology spend "negligible," down from 17 percent in 2016 and 14 percent in 2015.
Overall, most respondents are growing their IT budgets. Sixty-nine percent said their technology spending is "higher" or "significantly higher" in 2017 than last year.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.