Amid Economic Uncertainty, New Rackspace Technology Survey

SAN ANTONIO, Feb. 28, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A new survey of 1,420 global IT executives from Rackspace Technology® (NASDAQ: RXT), a leader in end-to-end, multicloud technology solutions, finds that a growing number of organizations – 69% – rank artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) as a high priority for their organizations, an increase of 15 percentage points compared to 2021. The study surveyed IT professionals across all industries, including Financial Services, Manufacturing & Retail , Hospitality, Government & Healthcare to understand the dynamics of AI/ML adoption amid rising economic uncertainty.

Almost a third of respondents say they only started launching AI/ML projects in the past year, underscoring the pervasiveness of AI/ML in organizations across all industries. In comparison, 17% say they started implementing AI/ML two years ago, 11% three years ago, and just 11% five years ago. Although most respondents said AI/ML is a high priority, only 41% say they have seen significant benefits. In comparison, 33% have seen modest benefits, and 26% say it’s too early to tell. Additionally, 62% of respondents say the level of AI/ML adoption in their organizations has been pushed back internally.

“As AI and machine learning matures and projects mature, we see it spreading and becoming more ubiquitous across the enterprise, with increasing importance, visibility and use,” said Jeff DeVerter, chief technology evangelist, Rackspace Technology. “The fact that nearly a third of respondents started their AI/ML journey within the past year is remarkable and indicates that these technologies are viewed as key to increasing efficiencies in uncertain economic times. At the same time, the study highlights that many companies are still struggling to fully understand or realize the benefits of AI/ML technologies, and many face internal resistance to adoption. All of this traction fails to take into account the rapid pace of AI attention in in recent weeks with the explosion of ChatGPT which has given AI a front row seat at every business planning meeting.”

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Benefits of AI/ML

More organizations are using AI/ML to improve the speed and efficiency of existing processes, with 67% of companies citing this as a focus area, up from just 52% in 2022. Other popular focus areas include predicting business performance/industry trends ( 60%) and risk reduction (53%). Additionally, AI/ML is being used by organizations in a growing number of contexts, including hiring/recruiting new talent, improving business and customer understanding, and increasing innovation and productivity. In addition to improving company productivity internally, AI/ML was used by 60% of respondents to achieve sustainability goals by improving workplace safety, 54% of respondents to monitor energy consumption management, and 47% of respondents for predictive analytics.

“According to 67% of global respondents, IT and business leaders are using AI/ML to improve low-innovation business operations due to the transition to an uncertain economic climate,” said Nirmal Ranganathan, Chief Architect, Data & AI, Rackspace Technology. “We see customers using AI/ML to build intelligent search capabilities to improve agent efficiency, reduce manual processes by adopting intelligent document processing, and improve customer experience with customer engagement solutions. Innovation through AI/ML is driving the consumer space with mainstream adoption of generative AI technologies.”

advances and challenges

Key barriers to organizations’ ability to effectively derive actionable insights from AI/ML include the inability to meaningfully collect, structure, and integrate data, and the need for more skills or talent to effectively manage data. 82% of respondents say they have attempted to hire people with AI/ML skills in the past 12 months, while 86% have grown their AI/ML workforce in the past 12 months. In many cases, AI/ML is replacing work previously performed by humans, with 62% of respondents saying that AI/ML implementation has resulted in a reduction in headcount in their organization.

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“Organizations struggling with AI/ML tend to also be organizations with immature data cultures, low data literacy and poor data governance structures, as any AI/ML project is only as good as the data used,” added Added Ben Blanquera, VP, Evangelist and Lead Architect, Rackspace Technology. “For more projects to succeed and for organizations to achieve long-term value, data quality must be at the core. For some organizations, this may mean rethinking their entire approach to data governance.”

Trust AI/ML

Despite data concerns and internal resistance, confidence in the outcomes of AI/ML projects remains high among surveyed IT decision makers, with 73% saying they trust AI/ML answers. 72% say sufficient controls are in place to avoid negative consequences of using AI/ML, while 80% of respondents believe AI/ML responses do not require additional human interpretation.

survey methodology

Coleman Parkes Research survey was conducted in February 2023. The results are based on responses from 1,420 IT decision makers across the manufacturing/logistics, retail, hospitality/travel, energy, healthcare/pharmaceutical/biomedical, government, media/entertainment and financial services sectors in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East . Most of the companies/organizations surveyed have between 1,000 and 9,999 employees and annual revenues between $50 million and $1 billion.

Click here for more survey results, a white paper, and an infographic.

About Rackspace Technology

Rackspace Technology is a leader in end-to-end multicloud technology services. We can design, build and operate our customers’ cloud environments across all major technology platforms, regardless of technology stack or deployment model. We work with our customers at every stage of their cloud journey, enabling them to modernize applications, create new products and introduce innovative technologies.

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