Almost half of businesses have now implemented machine learning, says STX Next research

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Research from STX Next, the software development company specialising in Python, has found that 47% of businesses have now implemented machine learning (ML) into business processes. Despite this growth in popularity of artificial intelligence (AI) and ML, further growth could be limited without investment in specialised technical teams to drive integration.

Despite AI and ML’s undoubted popularity, the survey also revealed that 50% of CTOs do not have a single member of staff employed in an AI, ML or data science role at present, with 41% of technical leaders saying that their business hadn’t implemented any AI technologies at all. This underlines the scale of the progress that still needs to be made.

The findings were taken from STX Next’s 2023 Global CTO Survey, which surveyed 500 global CTOs about the biggest challenges facing their organisation. Other key findings from the research included:

  • The most common AI solution within businesses at present is image detection/segmentation with 23%, followed by recommendation systems at 20% and optical character or text recognition at 19%.
  • 24% of companies have now implemented natural language processing at their business and 22% say that they’ve implemented deep learning.
  • Despite AI’s rapid growth, just a quarter of companies have a separate AI/Data division and 38% have between just one and five team members in a dedicated AI/ML or data science role.

Bartek Roszak, Head of AI at STX Next said: “AI’s popularity this year has been driven largely by the success of large language models like ChatGPT. However, AI has many use cases beyond models like these and can support many business functions. In 2024, we hope to see an increase in uptake of AI and ML in other business processes.

“That said, the existing applications of AI that the survey uncovered are largely unsurprising, as AI’s ability to tackle repetitive processes and recognise patterns within images and text is clear and evident to those working in technical roles. What is surprising is that these are still only adopted by a quarter of businesses. AI can and will revolutionise many industries, but there is still work to be done in educating the market on its capabilities.

“Our survey results have also revealed that while many leaders acknowledge AI’s potential, there is still a need for more investment in specialised resources to support its development. Implementing machine learning in one form or another will soon be crucial in keeping pace with changes in the industry and meeting customer expectations. 

“This will no doubt become more prominent over the next year and beyond as organisations look for more ways to economically and efficiently scale their business and tackle new challenges. In many cases, leaders will need to assess the extent to which off-the-shelf ML solutions can support their businesses, and work out how much they need to invest in R&D to deliver the required level of expertise.

“AI and ML’s popularity shows no  sign of slowing over the coming twelve months. CTOs should embrace it’s potential, balancing the needs of the business with the unique needs of clients and customers. Those that are able to leverage its potential by enhancing their skillsets will reap the rewards in 2024.”

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