AI Expected to More Than Double the Rate of Innovation in India by 2021


According to the study results, currently only 5 percent of organizations in India have AI as a part of their core strategy.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will accelerate the rate of innovation and employee productivity improvements to nearly double in Asia Pacific by 2021, revealed a recent Microsoft-IDC survey.

The study ‘Future Ready Business: Assessing Asia Pacific’s Growth Potential Through AI’ surveyed over 1,600 business leaders and over 1,580 workers across 15 markets in the Asia Pacific region. It surveyed 200 business leaders and 202 workers in India.

While 80 percent of the business leaders agreed that AI is instrumental for their organization’s competitiveness, only 41 percent of the organizations in the region have embarked on their AI journeys. Those organizations that have adopted AI expect it to increase their competitiveness 100 percent by 2021.

According to the study results, currently only 5 percent of organizations in India have AI as a part of their core strategy while 28 percent have started to experiment with it as a part of their strategy.  This means only one-third of organizations in India have embarked on their AI journeys at present.

By 2021, AI is expected to more than double the rate of innovation at organizations and boost employee productivity by 2.3 times in India.

“Today, every company is a software company, and increasingly, every interaction is digital. To be successful in this new world, organizations need to be a fast adopter of best-in-class technology; and secondly, they need to build their own unique digital capabilities,” said Ralph Haupter, President, Microsoft Asia.

Benefits of adopting AI

As ranked by the respondents, the top five business drivers to adopt the technology were (in priority order): Better customer engagement, higher competitiveness, higher margins, accelerated innovation and more productive employees.

Victor Lim, Vice President, Consulting Operations, IDC Asia/Pacific said, “Last year, organizations that have adopted AI saw tangible improvements in those areas in the range of 18 percent to 26 percent. They forecast further improvements of at least 1.8 times in the three-year horizon, with the biggest jump expected in accelerated innovation and competitiveness.”

Challenges in adopting AI

But the journey is not as smooth as it seems. The study highlighted that business leaders who are adopting AI face three top challenges – a lack of thought leadership and leadership commitment to invest in AI; a lack of tools and infrastructure to develop actionable insights; and a lack of skills, resources and continuous learning programs.

The study also evaluated six dimensions critical to ensuring the success of a nation’s AI journey. It uncovered that Asia Pacific needs to build upon its strategy, capabilities and infrastructure in order to accelerate its AI journey.

The study showed that to move ahead on their AI journeys, businesses have to create the right organizational culture.

“Business leaders must now embrace a new culture, where innovation and continuous learning are core components of the organizational culture. It sets the stage for agility, adaptability and growth,” said Haupter.

AI isn’t here to take over your job, instead it will create new ones

The study also found that Asia Pacific’s business leaders and workers hold positive viewpoints about the AI’s impact on the future of jobs.

Majority (62 percent of business leaders and 66 percent of workers) believe that AI will either help to do their existing jobs better or reduce repetitive tasks.

“When it comes to creating or replacing jobs, 18 percent of business leaders believe that AI will produce new jobs, whereas 15 percent feel that the technology will replace jobs. Interestingly, workers are more optimistic, with only 5 percent expecting AI to replace jobs, while 13 percent anticipate AI to create new ones,” said Lim.

Rohini Srivathsa, National Technology Officer, Microsoft India added, “AI isn’t here to take over one’s jobs – instead, it is there to make jobs far more meaningful. Economies and businesses that have yet to embark on their AI journey run a real risk of missing out on the competitive benefits that are enjoyed by leaders.”

How can India succeed in the AI race?  

To succeed in the AI race, India needs to substantially improve its readiness, said Ranganath Sadasiva, Director, Enterprise, IDC.

He also noted that the country needs to build upon its investment, data, and strategy in order to push its AI journey forward.

“Leaders should make AI a core part of their strategy and develop a learning agility culture. Investment in this transformative technology has to be continuous for the long-term success. There is an urgent need for talents and tools to develop, deploy, and monitor AI models, along with the availability of a robust data estate with the adequate governance,” added Ranganath.

Organizations which have already incorporated AI into their core business strategy have nearly doubled their business benefits, the study pointed out.