How Will AI Impact the Future of Work

September 18, 2023

According to the last Workday global study, 98% of CEOs say their organizations would benefit from implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI), but trust remains a concern.

Workday, Inc., a leader in enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, today published its latest global study examining how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will impact how the future works. The report, which is based on insights from 2,355 business leaders from the offices of the CEO, CIO, CHRO, and CFO, reveals that leaders are optimistic about the potential impact of AI and ML despite concerns about trust and data accessibility.

Key findings include:

  • 98% of CEOs said there would be some immediate business benefit from implementing these capabilities.
  • 47% of all business leaders believe AI and ML will significantly amplify human potential.
  • 43% of all business leaders are concerned about the trustworthiness of AI and ML.
  • 59% of respondents said their organizations’ data is somewhat or completely siloed.
  • Only 4% of all respondents said their data is fully accessible.

“Despite some uncertainty, leaders are optimistic that AI and ML will augment their workforce and drive productivity,” said Jim Stratton, chief technology officer, Workday. “Trust is paramount to embracing these benefits, and building trust requires the right data foundation and commitment to governance. By implementing trustworthy solutions that prioritize data quality and transparency, companies can reap the rewards of AI and ML across their organization.”

AI and ML: Not Just Hype 

CEOs and other business leaders know that AI and ML will impact their organizations, but some have been hesitant to fully embrace the technology. 71% said the global business landscape will be affected in the next three years, and 64% believe their organization as a whole will be affected by AI and ML in the next three years.

Nearly all (98%) CEOs surveyed said there would be some immediate business benefit from implementing AI and ML, with the top benefits being increased productivity, data-driven decision-making, and improved collaboration. Despite this, 49% of CEOs said their organization is unprepared to adopt AI and ML as they lack some or all the tools, skills, and knowledge necessary to embrace these technologies, and 28% of CEOs want to wait to see how AI and ML affect their organization before they decide on their approach.

AI and ML adoption readiness: perspectives from around the globe

When it comes to how businesses in each region are approaching AI and ML, our research paints a revealing picture of varying adoption curves. Businesses in North America (NORAM) are either leading or lagging behind: 42% of businesses within the region have yet to commence their AI and ML adoption or are in the process of researching—showing they are lagging behind. And, 1 in 5 businesses are scaling up or at maturity—also the highest figure among all regions.

By contrast, organizations in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) have more momentum in their uptake of AI and ML, characterized by a high number of businesses in both the rolling out and scaling up/at maturity phases. In addition, our qualitative research shows that EMEA is widely revered as a global leader in AI and ML policy and regulation, which could explain the faster adoption curve within this region.

In Asia-Pacific and Japan (APJ), organizations are taking a far more measured approach to AI and ML adoption, with the smallest number of businesses scaling up or at maturity among the three regions. Despite this, half of APJ businesses anticipate they will be investing more in AI and ML within 5 years than they are now

Despite Uncertainty, Leaders are Optimistic 

Among CEOs, 30% are concerned that employees will struggle to keep up with rapid changes as AI and ML become more integrated into their organization. In addition, 32% of HR leaders and 30% of finance leaders worry their teams will not have the technical skills they need to work effectively with AI and ML.

While leaders have concerns about the immediate effect AI and ML adoption will have on employees, they are ultimately optimistic about the overall impact. 47% of business leaders believe AI and ML will significantly amplify human potential, and 45% of CEOs believe AI and ML will create a more equitable and diverse workforce. 39% of CEOs believe increased productivity is the biggest potential benefit they see coming from AI, reinforcing the critical connection between technology and human potential.

So, What’s Holding Them Back?

Uncertainty about data and privacy, and a lack of trust are holding CEOs and other business leaders back from fully embracing and adopting AI and ML. 43% of all leaders surveyed said they were concerned about the trustworthiness of AI and ML, with 67% of CEOs citing potential errors as a top risk of AI and ML integration, reinforcing that lack of trust.

Increased transparency is needed to build trust, but siloed data is obscuring leaders’ ability to lean in. 59% of organizations surveyed reported that their data is somewhat or completely siloed. Only 4% of all respondents said their data is fully accessible.

Ed. Photo by Unsplash in collaboration with Getty Images.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *