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UK business leaders to increase investments in AI

A three-quarter majority of UK businesses will be investing larger amounts in AI over the next year. The uptake is notably higher than the global average, as UK entities look to establish leading positions in the market.

With hype around generative AI continuing to mount, recent polling suggests that 75% of business leaders are afraid that their firm might be missing out on the technology. And while ‘first movers’ for the technology so far might have been overstating their hand, businesses are increasingly wary of losing ground to competitors when applying a technology that promises huge productivity boosts.

In line with this, 73% of global business leaders have told Deloitte that they are adopting the technology at a “fast” or “very fast” pace – versus only 40% of organizations with “some” level of expertise. Nearly 2,000 global business leaders including board, president, vice president and director levels spoke to Deloitte, with researchers finding that 61% of those with high expertise were investing more in hardware for AI, while 80% were investing more in cloud consumption to boost their generative AI strategy.

Source: Deloitte’s State of Generative AI in the Enterprise, Quarter two report

The UK is leading the charge on this front, with three-quarters of UK business leaders expecting their organisation’s investment in AI to increase over the next fiscal year. While 47% of UK organisations surveyed said that GenAI is less than 20% of their overall AI budget, the capital allocated to GenAI therefore looks set to explode in the coming 12 months.

Of Deloitte’s respondents, 200 of them were based in the UK, with most organisations’ revenues exceeding £1 billion annually. Of those, 71% also said that they believed GenAI would substantially transform their organisation in the coming years, emphasising why they are pouring resources into it now.

Lorraine Barnes, GenAI lead at Deloitte UK, commented, “Business leaders in the UK are becoming bullish about the potential of GenAI and we can see this being matched by increasing investment in the technology. Our research shows that most executives expect AI investment in their organisations to increase over the next fiscal year.”

UK business leaders to increase investments in AI

Source: Deloitte’s State of Generative AI in the Enterprise, Quarter two report

However, as with any digital transformation, getting the most from AI still hinges on necessary upgrades to the human workforce. To accrue the skills which can properly utilise AI tools, 76% of UK leaders expect to adjust their talent strategy due to GenAI within the next two years – ahead of the global average, of 48%. Meanwhile, a 31% minority of organisations report that they are already concentrating a high or very high level of effort into reskilling workers.

At the same time, companies are having to address how regulations may impact what they do with the technology. When asked what their biggest fears were for their implementation of AI, 38% noted being able to comply with regulations, while 33% said misusing client data was the second most prominent concern – underlining how important their coming hiring cycle will be.

Barnes added, “As more companies experiment and implement GenAI, upskilling the workforce becomes essential. The challenge for organisations, however, will be keeping pace with rapid advances in the technology. Many business leaders are also mindful of the risks which GenAI may present, the biggest being around regulation. Regulations are developing quickly and organisations expect to face a level of uncertainty over their ability to meet them.”