Australia leads world in machine learning adoption


By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Thursday, 26 October, 2017


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Australia leads the world in terms of implementation of machine learning in the enterprise, according to a survey of CIOs in 11 major markets conducted by ServiceNow.

Nearly nine in 10 (89%) Australian CIOs responding to the survey indicated that they are using or plan to use machine learning.

This puts Australia significantly ahead of second-place Germany (51%) and well ahead of the global average of 38%.

The survey also found that Australian companies are already implementing organisational and process structures to accommodate a focus on machine learning.

One in three (32%) are developing machine learning capabilities by building capacity within specialised internal teams — the highest proportion globally — while 65% have made changes to IT structures and 57% have initiated company-wide organisational changes to accommodate machine learning.

In addition, 48% have developed programs to expand employee skill sets to accommodate machine learning, 46% have developed a roadmap for future process changes and 43% have redefined job descriptions to focus on work with machines.

Australian CIOs are also overwhelmingly optimistic about the value machine learning is expected to bring to their organisation. Nearly all (93%) believe it will increase the speed and accuracy of decision-making, 70% think it will increase competitiveness, 65% are confident it will deliver top-line growth and 52% expect it to improve employee productivity.

But Australian CIOs have also encountered several challenges that will need to be overcome to maximise the benefits of machine learning.

For example, 80% are grappling with insufficient data quality and 78% are facing outdated processes. Nearly two-thirds (63%) also indicated that regulatory complexity or uncertainty is hindering adoption of machine learning, while 59% are dealing with a lack of funding for technology and skills.

More Australian CIOs reported facing each of these barriers than CIOs in any of the remaining 10 countries, according to ServiceNow Managing Director for ANZ David Oakley.

“The report findings indicate a real enthusiasm and readiness among Australian CIOs as they look to machine learning to evolve business capabilities, and function more productively in a changing data landscape. As trailblazers in their uptake, however, this is being met equally with challenges,” he said.

“This may reflect the fact that CIOs have adopted and implemented the technology faster than elsewhere, meaning they are more aware of the practical challenges that must be overcome, compared to global peers.”

ServiceNow recommends that enterprises looking to adopt machine learning first build a foundation to ensure high-quality data is available.

While building an adoption roadmap, organisations should prioritise value realisation and provide an exceptional interior and exterior customer experience. CIOs must also work to build a culture that embraces a new working model and the development of new skills for engaging with machines, and measure and report the success of machine learning projects based on success metrics developed prior to implementation.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/chrisharvey

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