Enterprises Plan to Spend More on AI in 2021 – CDOTrends

Organizations are moving their artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives up to the top of their strategic priorities and are accelerating their spending and hiring, according to a new report from Algorithmia, a firm specializing in machine learning model deployment and management.
Titled “2021 Enterprise Trends in Machine Learning”, the third annual survey by Algorithmia revealed a growing sense of urgency by enterprises to increase their investments in AI and machine learning (ML) initiatives despite the ongoing pandemic.
Responses came from some 403 business leaders and AI/ML practitioners across the field. The survey itself consisted of 29 questions focused on areas such as AI/ML initiatives, challenges, infrastructure, and company demographics.
Growing demand for AI/ML
The sharp increase in interest was attributed to the sheer importance of AI/ML, which respondents say mattered more than was initially believed. This was cited by a substantial (43%) of those polled, while nearly one in four admitted that they should have made their AI/ML initiatives their top priority sooner.
Indeed, more than half the polled organizations have more than 25 models in production, and a significant number (40%) have more than 50. This sharp increase is mirrored in their hiring trends: 76% of respondents say they had not reduced the size of their AI/ML teams in 2020, and almost a third (27%) reported that they have increased it.
Moreover, a staggering 83% of organizations have increased their year-on-year AI/ML budgets for FY 2019-2020 compared to FY 2018-2019. The latest survey also saw 20% of respondents who said their budgets have increased by more than half, a sharp increase over the previous year’s figure of 7%.
Speed bumps ahead
To be clear, the road to AI/ML is hardly a bed of roses. Despite increased budgets and the presence of more trained employees, organizations continue to face significant roadblocks to reaping the full benefits of AI/ML.
For one, the market is still dominated by early adopters, and businesses find themselves struggling with basic deployment and organizational challenges. According to Algorithmia, organizations have yet to figure out how to translate increasing investments into efficiency and scale.
There is room for optimization, though. As the AI/ML space continues to grow and mature, the barriers to entry can only get lower, noted the report. This offers a window of opportunity for organizations to invest in AI/ML now.
“COVID-19 has caused rapid change which has challenged our assumptions in many areas. In this rapidly changing environment, organizations are rethinking their investments and seeing the importance of AI/ML to drive revenue and efficiency during uncertain times,” explained Diego Oppenheimer, the chief executive officer and founder of Algorithmia.
“Before the pandemic, the top concern for organizations pursuing AI/ML initiatives was a lack of skilled in-house talent. Today, organizations are worrying more about how to get ML models into production faster and how to ensure their performance over time,” said Oppenheimer.
You can access the full report here (free registration required).
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