AI maturity: Only 12% of companies are 'AI Achievers'

Accenture research​ suggests that only 12% of companies have advanced their AI maturity enough to achieve superior growth and business transformation. These companies are 'AI Achievers' and, on average, attribute 30% of their total revenue to AI.
Written by Vala Afshar, Contributing Writer

Only 12% of companies are AI Achievers.


According to Accenture, in 2021, among executives of the world's 2,000 largest companies (by market capitalization), those who discussed AI on their earnings calls were 40% more likely to see their firms' share prices increase -- up from 23% in 2018. Yet the most recent Accenture research suggests that only 12% of companies have advanced their AI maturity enough to achieve 'superior growth' and business transformation. On average, 12% of "AI achievers" attribute 30% of their total revenue to AI. 

What is AI Maturity? AI maturity measures the degree to which organizations have mastered AI-related capabilities in the right combination to achieve high performance for customers, shareholders and employees. "AI maturity comes down to mastering a set of key capabilities in the right combinations -- not only in data and AI but also in organizational strategy, talent and culture. This includes "foundational" AI capabilities -- like cloud platforms and tools, data platforms, architecture and governance -- that are required to keep pace with competitors. It also includes "differentiation" AI capabilities, like AI strategy and C-suite sponsorship, combined with a culture of innovation that can set companies apart," Accenture. 

There are four types of companies with respect to AI maturity: 

  • AI Achievers: show advanced AI maturity enough to achieve 'superior growth' and business transformation
  • AI Builders: show strong foundational capabilities and average differentiation capabilities
  • AI Innovators: show strong differentiation capabilities and average foundational capabilities
  • AI Experimenters: those with average capabilities in both categories -- make up the majority (63%) of those surveyed. (See chart below.)

Achievers, Builders and Innovators collectively represent just 37% of surveyed organizations -- Achievers accounted for 12%, Builders for 12% and Innovators for 13%.


Only 12% of companies are AI Achievers.


Here are the key AI takeaways from Accenture research: 

  1. 75% of companies have already integrated AI into their business strategies and have reworked their cloud plans to achieve AI success.
  2. Nearly a third (30%) of all AI pilot initiatives are subsequently scaled to deliver wide-range outcomes, with 42% of business leaders noting that AI projects exceeded their expectations. 
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      AI transformation will take less time than digital transformation

  4. AI transformation will take less time than digital transformation -- on average, 16 months faster.
  5. The share of a company's revenue that is "AI influenced" more than doubled between 2018-2021 and is expected to triple between 2018 and 2024 roughly. 
  6. The most AI maturity industries are technology, automotive and aerospace and defense. According to Accenture, while industries like tech are currently far ahead in their respective AI maturity, the gap will likely narrow considerably by 2024. The research notes, "there is enormous room for growth in AI adoption across all industries and an enormous opportunity for those companies that choose to seize it."
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    Levels of AI maturity by industry, 2021 and 2024

  8. AI Achievers are 3.5 times more likely than Experimenters to see their "AI-influenced" revenue surpass 30% of their total revenues. AI Achievers distinguish themselves by: 1 Demonstrate high performance across a combination of capabilities, 2. Consistently turn pilots into production, and 3. Focus beyond financial metrics.
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    AI Achievers are deploying AI solutions to solve problems, spot opportunities and outperform their peers.

  10. Advancing to the rank of "AI Achiever" requires focus and commitment. The research identified five focus areas: 1. Champion AI as a strategic priority for the entire organization, with full sponsorship from leadership, 2. Invest heavily in talent to get more from AI investments, 3. Industrialize AI tools and teams to create an AI core, 4. Use AI responsibly, from the start and 5. Prioritize long- and short-term AI investments.

Accenture research concludes that AI Achievers have moved past cloud migration to innovation and have capitalized on cloud's scale and computing power to tap into new data sources and AI technologies. But it is not the technology but rather their approach with applications of AI that sets this 12% of companies apart. AI Achievers know that AI maturity is as much about people as it is about technology. 

To learn more about Accenture's research, you can visit here

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