Skills shortage ‘biggest hurdle’ to AI adoption

The adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation technologies in the UK is still being stunted by a lack of digital skills in financial businesses, according to Rainbird.

The automated decision-making platform commissioned Vanson Bourne to survey senior decision-makers in enterprise organisations, finding that the main reason behind financial services firms not implementing AI is a shortage of talent in their workforce for handling automation processes.

While this was the overall biggest barrier to adopting AI in the UK, when broken down into sectors the data highlighted a number of different concerns across business functions.

Within professional services, a lack of regulation was cited as a key barrier to AI adoption (87.5 per cent), however in financial services it was technology’s lack of transparency that inhibited adoption (88.8 per cent), whereas within the IT industry a shortage of talent has become a major hurdle (91.7 per cent).

Despite these barriers, 81 per cent of those surveyed revealed that their organisation planned to increase investment in AI over the next five years. Of those planning to increase spend on automation technologies, 22 per cent suggested this investment would be significant.

The financial sector is set to be the biggest adopter, with 94 per cent of those surveyed planning to increase investment in AI over the coming years.

In the next five to 10 years, respondents see the greatest demand for AI coming from the IT department (74 per cent). Those who could see the greatest potential for AI included operations (59 per cent), marketing and communications (46 per cent) and finance (43 per cent), who are already showcasing some of the wider capabilities of the technology.

James Duez, chief executive at Rainbird, suggested that in order to truly understand what processes will benefit from AI, businesses must review their strategies. “Rather than pushing AI investment into IT departments, organisations should recognise where the most important decisions are being made – within the business.”

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