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AI regulation is top of mind for UK businesses

by Tech Reporter
6th Dec 23 12:54 pm

Alteryx, Inc. the Analytics Cloud Platform company, released findings from new independent research revealing the key AI plays that will shape enterprises of the future.

The research, titled Defining the Enterprise of the Future, uses data from 2800 IT and business decision-makers globally to draw the three-year roadmap for how enterprises will operate in an era of AI-delivered intelligence.

Innovation is naturally playing a key role in shaping the future enterprise. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of UK business leaders say their investment in advanced technology will increase. Eight in ten (80%) say that AI is already impacting what their organisation can achieve, while 47% state they will invest in advanced technologies such as AI to respond to the changing market environment.

AI is clearly making its way across the enterprise, with 65% of respondents expecting that the use of AI will be pervasive across all sectors and business functions.

Yet, this has raised some important ethical considerations around data privacy (45%), transparency (38%) and data governance (40%), which has shifted the narrative around regulation – moving from being a dirty word to becoming a hot topic for businesses.

Most UK business leaders (88%) believe that regulations and standards around AI usage – including generative AI – should be developed within their sector as it transforms the business landscape. Nearly nine in ten (87%) believe that such policies would help businesses implement AI responsibly, and almost half (44%) worry about the possibility of legal and ethical consequences from not having an ethical AI framework in place.

Despite concerns around regulation, AI is significantly impacting the key skill sets of the future enterprise. While most businesses envision an AI-driven future for the enterprise, almost a third (32%) see the increasing volume and variety of data as the biggest threat to achieving this.

To be prepared for this increasingly complex, data-driven future, companies see a need to build a multi-skilled workforce (23%), get their digital transformation right, especially around AI and machine learning (22%), and provide ethical AI frameworks the business can follow (19%).

The employee of the future is a generalist, working with different tools and languages and perhaps developing a range of leadership and soft skills along the way.

According to the research, more organisations are moving away from hiring highly skilled people in a single area of expertise towards hiring people who can contribute across a range of functional areas. Almost three-quarters of UK business leaders (74%) state it is more important for their employees to be multi-skilled than specialised in one area.

While hard skills, such as AI and ML (27%), financial analysis and planning (23%) and data analysis and mining (23%) continue to be important, there is now a higher demand for soft skills like digital literacy (22%), team leadership (22%), and communication (21%). Having the right AI tools will help these employees manage the increasing volume and variety of data and find the competitive edge their organisations need.

“There is no single solution to success, but the research highlights some key plays UK business leaders need to home in on to build a truly AI-driven enterprise. Regulation will play a key role in the successful implementation of AI and will be just as much of a priority as innovation is for leaders,” said Jason Janicke, SVP EMEA at Alteryx.

“Laying the foundations for generative AI requires a business-wide approach to data-driven decision-making that empowers the entire workforce to take full advantage of the technology while offering confidence and assurance to the business that it is safe and secure to embark on this journey. Accessible, self-service analytics and automation technologies are the force multiplier that will empower the workforce to jump on the AI train confidently and companies to move forward on their generative AI journey safely.”

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