70% of AI projects in digital commerce paid off

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Friday, 12 October, 2018

70% of AI projects in digital commerce paid off

Efforts to implement AI to improve digital commerce are generally paying off, according to research from Gartner.

A survey of organisations in 10 markets — including 30 from Australia — that are using or piloting AI in digital commerce found that 70% of such projects have been very or extremely successful.

Companies are experiencing benefits in areas including customer satisfaction (an average of 19% improvement), revenue growth (15%) and cost reduction (15%).

The top three uses companies are finding for AI in digital commerce are customer segmentation, product categorisation and fraud detection.

Gartner has predicted that AI will be used by at least 60% of digital commerce organisations and be driving 30% of digital commerce revenue growth by 2020.

“Digital commerce is fertile ground for AI technologies, thanks to an abundance of multidimensional data in both customer-facing and back-office operations,” said Gartner Research Director Sandy Shen.

But there are a number of factors that make implementing AI a challenging proposition for digital commerce organisations. These include a lack of quality training data (29%) and in-house skills (29%). Gartner said its research also suggests that companies’ expectations for their initial forays into AI tend to be too high and their early projects to be too complex to deliver high performance.

Meanwhile, a separate survey from IT governance professional association ISACA has highlighted another factor that could inhibit wider adoption of AI — a lack of confidence in the security of AI deployments.

The survey found that only 40% of technology professional respondents felt able to accurately assess the security of systems based on AI and machine learning.

Survey respondents considered social engineering, manipulated media content and data poisoning to be the types of AI attacks that pose the greatest threat within the next five years.

But interestingly, as the digital literacy of leaders increases, the perceived risk of AI decreases. While 33% of companies whose leaders do not possess technological expertise perceive AI to be high risk, just 25% of companies with digitally literate leaders feel the same. Organisations led by digitally literate leaders are also nearly twice as likely to deploy AI as the competition (33% to 18%).

The security concerns also haven’t dampened respondents’ confidence in the transformative potential of AI. Business leaders placed AI and machine learning second behind only big data on the list of the technologies considered to have the highest potential to deliver transformative value to organisations, with the gap between the two technologies closing significantly to just three percentage points.

Image credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Andrew Ostrovsky

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