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4 Feb 2022

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The AI/ML skills deficit is crippling digital economies

Artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies could have a significant impact on the development of digital economies worldwide. A new report by Rackspace shows, however, that many organizations lack the ability to align their AI/ML strategies with their business goals. The cloud provider found that only half of the organizations surveyed had AI and machine learning skills within their organization. Finding new talent is a major challenge in many countries.

Rackspace is not the first company to point out the shortage of AI and machine learning skills. A KPMG report reached the same conclusion previously. According to Forbes Technology Council, AI jobs are in high demand, while Bruegel, a European think tank that specializes in economics, concluded that Europe is experiencing a shortage of AI/ML skills. The situation is the same in Latin America.

Many are struggling

“As AI/ML budgets continue to increase, we are seeing projects proliferate across more areas of the organization, and it’s clear that the AI/ML is advancing in its importance and visibility,” said Jeff DeVerter, Chief Technology Evangelist, Rackspace Technology. “At the same time, the research makes clear that many organizations still struggle with getting stakeholder buy-in, addressing issues of data quality, and finding the skills, resources and talent to take advantage of the AI/ML’s full potential.”

Rackspace surveyed 1,870 IT decision-makers globally. AI and ML are being used in an increasing number of contexts today, including improving speed and efficiency of processes (52%), personalizing content and understanding customers (44%), increasing revenue, gaining competitive advantage, and predicting performance (42%), and understanding marketing effectiveness (36%).

Implementation costs

AI/ML adoption has been cited as a challenge by 33% of respondents - a 10% increase year-over-year. Additionally, the implementation cost increased from 26% to 33%, while 31% of respondents cited nascent AI/ML technologies as a barrier, representing an increase of 13%.

The survey found that 69% of respondents said the IT team comprehends AI/ML benefits, while 43% said that operations, R&D, customer service, the board, and senior management understand the technology. Most respondents consider sales, HR, and marketing departments to be the least knowledgeable about AI/ML.

Photo credit: Hitesh Choudhary

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