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The road to value: Challenges to AI success

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REGARDLESS of how much value executives believe AI is adding to their organizations, their widespread concern that it may be overhyped suggests most don’t believe they are getting everything they could from the technology. Many factors play into this finding, clustered in four key areas: talent, technology, strategy, and risk management.


The large majority of business leaders—about 90 percent in more industries surveyed—say their organizations make an effort to keep employees current on AI trends, and that they are dedicated to upskilling employees in AI technology. That figure falls to about 80 percent for healthcare executives and slightly more than 70 percent from government executives. Perhaps as a result of all this training, most executives, ranging from 71 percent in government to 97 percent in industrial manufacturing, say their employees are at least somewhat prepare for AI adoption in terms of skillsets.

Forty-seven percent of retail executives believe their employees are very prepared, the highest of any industry, while those in the industrial manufacturing sector are least likely to say employees are very prepared (just 23 percent).

As with assessing AI’s value, executives in the C-suite are more optimistic about the skillsets of their talent than those at the manager level.

Despite the confidence executives report, we see many organizations struggling to attract and retain people with the right skillsets to drive their AI strategies, or indeed to develop those strategies.

In part, difficulties with attracting talent can be attributed to how quickly AI adoption has ramped up. Universities have not had time to train enough graduates in the field, especially when competing with technology companies for instructors, according to KPMG Head of Enterprise Artificial Intelligence Ellen Campana.

She also adds, “It will take some time to build up a workforce with this type of knowledge and experience. In the meantime, it will be critical to bring together people with diverse perspectives and build in time for dialogue. Junior team members may be uniquely positioned to offer perspectives unhampered by constraints that could stifle innovation. On the other hand, experienced team members may be in a better position to impart the rigor necessary to deliver hardened software at scale. Respecting each person’s perspective, and taking time for that back-and-forth, will lead to better decisions.”


Challenges around technology are expected to be concentrated in two areas: choosing the right tools, platforms, and technologies in line with an organization’s needs; and building the underlying infrastructure needed to support enterprise-scale AI applications.

“Some of it is technology paralysis,” KPMG Head of Digital Solutions Architecture Swami Chandrasekaran says. “The market is moving so fast that a lot of organizations are hesitant to dive into something really deep and broad because they’re afraid a tool or platform or API will come out tomorrow that does it quicker, better, faster.”

The excerpt was taken from the KPMG Thought Leadership entitled Thriving in an AI World.

© 2021 R.G. Manabat & Co., a Philippine partnership and a member-firm of the KPMG global organization of independent member-firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee. All rights reserved.

KPMG in the Philippines is hosting an Innovation Summit on 5 to 8 July 2021 where industry tech leaders from Microsoft Asia, Archer IRM, Blue Prism Asean, NetGuardians and SAS, and KPMG experts from audit and assurance, tax, and advisory fields, will share their insights and demonstrate the latest technology trends to guide organizations and keep them ahead of the competition. Register here for free: https://bit.ly/3vgia3b.

This event is spearheaded by KPMG in the Philippines’ Lighthouse Group. With over 12,500 professionals working across different regions, KPMG Lighthouse is a recognized Center for Excellence for data, analytics, cybersecurity, regulatory-driven transformation, intelligent automation and emerging technologies. Visit home.kpmg/ph to know how KPMG can help organizations in successfully navigating through their transformation journeys.

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