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April 29, 2024

Lenovo Survey: Most Global Tech Companies Unprepared for AI Use

Artificial intelligence (AI)  is the top priority of IT leaders around the globe, however, businesses are unprepared to make proper use of it, according to Lenovo’s third annual global CIO report.

The Beijing-based firm is a global technology powerhouse and the largest manufacturer of computers in the world. This year’s Lenovo CIO report is based on a survey of 750 technology chiefs across 10 global markets. The report reveals that while AI offers a lot of opportunities, there are significant obstacles that organizations need to overcome if they want to derive value from their AI investments.

According to the survey, the two most urgent priorities for CIOs are AI/ML (51%) and cybersecurity (51%). This is in contrast to last year’s report, in which privacy and security were the top concerns by far. Last year, the CIOs were aware of the importance of keeping up with technological change; but their priorities were not as clearly established as they are now.

“Today’s CIOs are working in a tornado of innovation. After years of IT expanding into non-traditional responsibilities, we’re now seeing how AI is forcing CIOs back to their core mandate,” said Ken Wong, President of Lenovo’s Solutions and Services Group. “This is driven by the clear promise of AI adoption combined with the pressure that IT leaders face to prove the value of these investments and deliver measurable business outcomes.”

CIOs are optimistic about the value of AI. The study shows that CIOs expect productivity gains (83%), increased competitiveness (77%), and enhanced business practices (57%) as the top benefits of AI. This indicates that the value of AI is primarily connected to productivity and competitiveness, and not cost reduction.

Sustainability remains important with 83% of CIOs sharing that sustainability metrics are part of their performance evaluation. However, 38% admit sustainability is being de-prioritized with the increased focus on AI adoption and scaling. Nearly 8 of 10 CIOs say that once AI has been implemented, it should make it easier for their organization to meet their sustainability goals.

The survey respondents believe that speed to AI adoption, security, and the potential “unseen” and implicit biases of AI are the most significant barriers to scaling AI. The CIOs shared that major segments of their organization are not AI-ready and this is having a major impact on IT’s ability to scale AI quickly. The lagging segments include new product lines, corporate policy, and supply chain.

Another key challenge is the difficulty of measuring the impact of AI investments. This was also a major concern in last year’s report as CIOs struggled to demonstrate the ROI of tech investments. While almost all (96%) CIOs expect their organization to increase tech investment in the next year, 42% admit that they do not expect to see positive ROI for the next two to three years.

The Lenovo report reveals budget issues are also a major concern. Only one in five CEOs expects their IT budget to not grow more than 10% this year. This means that AI initiatives are pulling valuable resources from other IT goals such as digital transformation.

While CIOs are confident that they have the talent to scale AI, they are concerned that with the increased scaling of AI technologies, more human capital will be required. However, with the already constrained budgets, it’s going to be a challenge to meet the human capital needs.

CIOs believe that as technology becomes more powerful, organizations have a greater responsibility to inform how they are using it, and CIOs would play a key in this.

The Lenovo report highlights that the success of AI depends on more than just technology. The talent base, security infrastructure, and internal and external processes will be major factors in the ability of enterprises to navigate the AI landscape.