MIT Technology Review Insights has released a comprehensive report titled “Laying the Foundation for Data and AI-led Growth” in partnership with Databricks. This groundbreaking report is based on a global survey of 600 technology leaders, including CIOs, CTOs, CDOs, and other top executives from public and private-sector organizations.
The study also features in-depth interviews with C-level executives from prominent organizations such as ADP, Condé Nast, Databricks, Dell Technologies, General Motors, Starbucks, Razorpay, Regeneron Genetics Center, and the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.
“We are at an inflection point with AI adoption, and CIOs are doubling down on their investments to ensure they have the right technology and talent in place to reap the efficiencies of AI democratization,” says Naveen Zutshi, chief information officer for Databricks. “Today’s early movers will be tomorrow’s AI winners. But to be successful, technology leaders must foster a culture where employees feel empowered to experiment with AI in a secure environment that protects data privacy. Only then will companies realize their goals of adopting and scaling AI across the organization.”
Key findings from the data and AI report
- Expectations of transformative AI impact: A majority of respondents, 81%, anticipate that AI adoption will bring significant efficiency improvements to their industries in the short term. One-third of those surveyed believe the gains will exceed 50%.
- Increased investments in data and AI: Technology leaders are intensifying their investments in data and AI in response to heightened competition and rapid innovation. Every organization surveyed plans to increase spending on modernizing data infrastructure and adopting AI in the coming year, with nearly half, 46%, planning budget increases exceeding 25%.
- Democratization of AI raises governance concerns: The widespread adoption of generative AI by various business units has led to a growing need for robust governance frameworks. Sixty percent of respondents emphasize the importance of a unified governance model for data and AI.
- Flexible approaches to generative AI: A significant 88% of surveyed organizations already use generative AI, with 26% investing in and adopting it and 62% experimenting with its applications. A majority, 58%, are adopting a hybrid approach, utilizing vendor-provided large language models (LLMs) for specific use cases while developing proprietary models for more stringent requirements, including IP ownership, privacy, security, and accuracy.
- Talent and skills gaps overshadow organizations’ other data and AI challenges: The most pressing data and AI challenge faced by organizations, according to 39% of respondents, is investing in talent and upskilling their workforce. A staggering 72% believe that encouraging innovation is “very important” to attract and retain talent.
- Lakehouse architecture emerges as a preferred choice: Nearly 75% of surveyed organizations have adopted a lakehouse architecture, while the remainder plan to do so within the next three years. Respondents cite the need for data architectures supporting real-time analytics through streaming data workloads (72%), easy integration of emerging technologies (66%), and seamless data sharing across platforms (64%). Ninety-nine percent of lakehouse adopters report that the architecture contributes to achieving their data and AI objectives, with 74% acknowledging “significant” benefits.
“With data and AI at the forefront of innovation, our report underscores the commitment of C-suite executives to steer toward a transformative future,” says Laurel Ruma, global director of custom content for MIT Technology Review. “Strategic investments, consolidation efforts, and dedication to governance and democratization of AI are not merely choices; they are imperatives for success.”
This report underscores the pivotal role of data and AI in driving growth and innovation across various industries, highlighting the significance of investments, governance, and talent development in the evolving digital landscape.