Businesses spend on artificial intelligence tools rockets in first quarter of 2024

Soldo’s Spring Spend Index reveals spend on AI is up 449% compared to a year ago – with 63% of all AI spend now on Chat GPT.

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Soldo’s Spring Spend Index, launched recentlyy, reveals the extent to which UK businesses are rushing to invest in AI in a bid to usher in a new era of technology driven productivity. Based on Soldo’s data, since Q1 2023, AI investment has surged an astonishing 2.75x with companies spending 449% more on AI compared to the same period last year.

In its most revealing study yet, the Spring Index – a quarterly study of company expenditure habits in more than 18,000 organisations using Soldo - reveals business spend at the start of the year is up a healthy 8% YoY, largely driven by investments in technology as businesses look at ways for reducing the burden on overstretched employees.

Which AI tools are businesses investing in

OpenAI’s ChatGPT dominates the market, accounting for 63% of overall AI spend while Midjourney leads image generation with 12%. Otter.ai’s transcription services take 5% of the spend, followed closely by Fireflies.ai which transcribes and summarises meetings and provides vocal analysis to quantify meeting outcomes and sentiment. The remaining 17% is split between around 80 different AI services.

Additionally, the study highlights that marketing departments are taking the lead in AI spending with content creation and production-related activity accounting for almost half of AI suppliers alone.

While on the surface this suggests an increasing awareness of the many uses of AI, this growth is indicative of a broader trend – one that reflects the strategic imperative for businesses to remain competitive in an evolving economic and business landscape.

"Adopting AI can give employees a much-needed productivity boost, which unlocks crucial competitive edge for businesses. However, as businesses continue invest in AI tools, the productivity gains from the technology will soon be the norm, not a differentiator.” comments Brandon Till, Head of Business Solutions, at Soldo.

“As businesses open up to using AI tools, the key to it being used effectively will be finding the sweet spot between control and flexibility. Innovation is happening fast, from all over the business, and employees want to be empowered to explore and create more efficient ways to work. They cannot afford to waste time getting stuck in long procurement processes. That's where finance comes in. They can ensure employees have access to the AI resources they need, while at the same time keeping a close eye on spending and make sure the business is getting its money's worth. Finance teams are often the watchdog for data compliance, so they have to lead the charge to empower employees responsibly."

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