AI budgets increased by more than three quarters

IT leaders report a significant impact to customer value, employees’ well-being, and enterprises’ return on AI investments.

  • 2 months ago Posted in

The economy may have had a downward impact on enterprise investments, but these increased exponentially when implementing AI, according to 76% of UK IT executives taking part in the latest State of Intelligent Automation Report: Impact of the Economy on AI Priorities, commissioned by ABBYY.  


Respondents from the UK ranked consistently higher than their French and German counterparts when it came to attributing an increase in higher value work (68%), happiness (65%), and employee innovation (61%) – noting that intelligent automation freed them from many routine and mundane tasks to focus more on customer and revenue-driven initiatives. 


Nearly half (47%) of UK respondents reported an increase in staff retention levels since introducing intelligent automation, which is significant in the era of “silent quitting.” They also stated that improvements in employee efficiency (53%) and productivity (50%) were among the top benefits to the organisation, as well as the benefit to employees, with nearly four in ten (38%) stating there was better work-life balance. Globally, the US led in the reduction of work stress (41%), followed by the UK (38%).  


“IT executives in the UK – and globally - are gaining powerful value from their AI investments,” stated Neil Murphy, Chief Sales Officer, at ABBYY. “Notably, half of UK leaders surveyed stated higher quality products and projects, and even more cited faster delivery of their products to customers (55%). More than a third (37%) reported improved customer service outcomes. It’s no surprise they achieved twice the ROI by leveraging AI in their intelligent automation initiatives to accelerate the improvement of complex processes and putting data to work.” 


Greater ROI, greater investment  


Almost half (44%) of enterprise executives saw a 2x return on their AI investments in 2023. Additionally, 76% said their AI budgets increased this year and 43% plan to invest more, despite reductions in costs in other parts of the organisation. 


The survey also revealed that, across the globe, mid to large enterprises are placing the greatest investments in AI to enable intelligent automation. Increased investments of up to 35% by emerging enterprises indicates growing recognition that AI is leveling the playing field and required for a competitive advantage.  


As AI adoption becomes more widespread with the use of large language models such as generative AI, 90% of UK IT executives responded that they have AI strategies in place. More than a third (36%) have compressed their roadmaps into three-to-five-year plans, noting revenue-impacting processes as top priorities including operations, marketing, product development, sales (as it relates to customer experience), and logistics services.   

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