Follow the Leaders: What Competencies are Required to Get AI Right?

Paul Shanahan 

Paul Shanahan 

Intelligent Cloud Business Group Lead

Read Time, 3 min.

Every technology goes through an age of discovery and an age of implementation. Today, AI is hurtling full speed through its age of implementation. Companies are applying this technology to empower employees, engage with customers and transform their businesses.

“All the big tech companies are spending money on AI capabilities. They have explicit visions to master human thinking and behaviour. When you combine it with computing power, it will be inevitable.” – Skandia

Microsoft and EY surveyed 277 companies, across 7 sectors and 15 countries to understand how AI is being used by businesses across Europe. We identified the eight most recognised capabilities needed to successfully create value from AI. Company executives who are leading the way in AI were asked to rank the importance of these capabilities.

 The Eight Most Important Capabilities

Realising the Potential of AI

Advanced Analytics came out as the most important AI capability among the companies surveyed.

This is perhaps not surprising. The backbone of AI is made up of skilled, intelligent minds capable of understanding business problems at the granular level and deploying AI to effectively solve these problems.

This survey reveals a major lack of technical data skills to meet the drastically rising demand for AI. Finding and hiring AI experts has become extremely competitive. Functional AI experts are now often paid higher salaries than their superiors. In some cases, new HR policies are even being drafted to reflect evolving requirements.

Data Management is second. This survey found a significant proportion of the time companies dedicate to AI is spent on data management related tasks. Companies reported that they are spending 2-3 years building the necessary data infrastructure for AI. Companies with the most ambitious AI visions are still spending the majority of their time fine-tuning their infrastructure.

The third most important capability was AI Leadership. This underscores the need for leaders to understand and articulate a clear AI vision.

Fostering an Open Culture came next. To do this successfully leaders must be transparent with ongoing AI projects and their desired outcomes.

Understanding how to deploy the right Emerging Technologies came fifth, followed by Agile Development. Fast experimentation and iterative processes using evolving technology should promote quick internal learning.

External Alliances ranks second to last in terms of importance. Perhaps this is because it’s an area where leaders already perceive themselves be the most in control. Bringing behavioural science into play via Emotional Intelligence is seen as the least important AI enabling capability. This may be due to companies still getting to grips with the complex technical skills before moving onto more advanced human cognitive skills.

The Leading Sectors

Sectors that are more mature in using AI report higher competency in Advanced Analytics – particularly TMT (Telecom, Media/Entertainment and Technology). Life Sciences companies (including Healthcare & Pharma) report lower competency in AI Leadership. A possibility is that in the pharmaceutical industry, AI chiefly resides in R&D, and has yet to affect the broader organization on the wider strategic level.

Free AI Report: Artificial Intelligence in Ireland. How 277 major European companies benefit from AI

Discover how your Western European and Irish peers use AI to digitally transform their organisation

Discover more related articles per industry:

Education

Finance & Insurance

Government

  • Two people inside using Surface Go in office

    How technology is transforming the work of governments

    Governments have the ultimate responsibility to their citizens. People depend on the services they provide like no other institution. Whether in healthcare, education, business, roads, railways, water – it’s essential that government institutions are always at the forefront of social and digital trends. Cloud-powered technologies are playing a critical role in helping government agencies to […]

  • a plane sitting on top of a grass covered field

    Fáilte Ireland Rapidly Adapted and Innovated with Microsoft Power Apps

    Fáilte Ireland Rapidly Adapted and Innovated with Microsoft Power Apps  When the Covid-19 pandemic closed offices globally and truly changed how every organisation functions, it created additional unanticipated challenges for many. Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority, was one such organisation which had migrated much of its work to the cloud. The tourism body, which employs 450 people, identified that […]

Healthcare

Manufacturing

  • Eneco Customer Case

    Powering a new digital future: Eneco moves to the cloud to deliver sustainable energy across Europe

    Harnessing the power of the wind and sun to create green energy solutions is all in a day’s work at Eneco, a sustainable energy company based in the Netherlands. But as the company grew, it faced a big challenge—it wanted to develop sustainable energy solutions in the most efficient way possible, yet its own legacy […]

  • a man holding a paint spray

    What we can learn from AkzoNobel’s digital transformation

    Savvy businesses are always on the lookout for ways to improve what they do and differentiate themselves from the competition. From organisational restructure to the development of entirely new business models, the quest for continuous improvement takes many forms. But one common factor in almost all modern business leaders’ plans is an emphasis on technological […]

Retail

  • Store staff llooking and pointing at screen

    Helping store staff rise to the challenge of creating world-class experiences

    Consumers have more information and choice than ever. That’s why shopping experiences provide an opportunity to differentiate and delight customers – rather than competing on cost alone. The digital shopping revolution has given us access to companies and information that was unimaginable two decades ago – and it has raised our expectations of bricks-and-mortar retailers […]

  • Big data boosts business for beverage company

    Big data boosts business for beverage company

    Contemplate, if you will, the multiple choices available every time you want something to drink. Water? Juice? Soft drink? Do you want a single-serve can or a six-pack? Or maybe you just grab a liter bottle. The fact is, we as consumers expect a lot of options and the global non-alcoholic beverage industry delivers. Arca […]

Discover more related articles per dossier:

Customer Stories

Digital Transformation

  • a man holding a gun

    Making the Schiphol Airport more sustainable into the future

    With over 71 million passengers a year, Schiphol is one of the biggest airports in Europe. Giving all of the passengers the most frictionless airport experience as possible, 17,000 assets need to be serviced and maintained 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In order to deliver service excellence and optimize the maintenance, BAM […]

Press

  • Image of a man and woman smiling

    Microsoft and Connect at Catalyst Inc

    Microsoft and Connect at Catalyst Inc It’s an exciting time to be working in the technology sector in Northern Ireland. More than ever before we’re seeing increased numbers of entrepreneurs, start-up businesses, and indeed multinationals setting up in the North. Working together and learning from each other encourages a strong technology ecosystem and ultimately yields […]

Security & Privacy

Tips

  • Group of two female and one male office workers brainstorming in informal office setting. Both women are using laptops while the man is writing. Large screen shown in background.

    2019 Modern Selling Trends in 5 webinars

    The relationship between buyers and sellers grows more complicated each day. Every potential partnership requires finding the right buyer, fully understanding their business, tracking progress through the buying cycle, and engaging them with the right content—when and how they want it. These shifting dynamics underscore the artistry of modern selling. When the time is right, […]