93% of organizations in KSA have an AI strategy in place or under development

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93% of organizations in KSA have an AI strategy in place or under development
93% of organizations in KSA have an AI strategy in place or under development

Cisco Reveals Local Insights from its AI Readiness Index

  • The urgency to deploy AI-powered technologies is increasing; 71% of respondents said their organization embraces AI with a moderate to high level of urgency.

  • 82% of organizations in KSA plan to invest in upskilling employees in AI.

  • Only 12% of local organizations are currently fully equipped with the infrastructure to meet AI workloads.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, March 11, 2024: Cisco announced the findings of its AI Readiness Index in Saudi Arabia. The Index, which surveyed over 8,000 companies across 30 countries, was developed in response to the accelerated adoption of AI. The survey shows that 93% of organizations in KSA have an AI strategy in place or under development, while only 8% consider themselves fully prepared to deploy and leverage AI.

Improving the efficiency of and increasing productivity were ranked among the top outcomes that companies are looking to drive through the adoption of AI, with 47% of respondents in KSA placing it on top of the gains they expect from AI. Opening new revenue streams was the lowest on the list of expectations, as ranked by 30% of respondents.

On talent development, 31% of KSA respondents ranked comprehension and proficiency of AI tools and technologies as the primary skill gaps. The good news is that organizations are taking steps to address this gap. Among the organizations surveyed in the Kingdom, 82% say they are investing in training employees in this area.

On infrastructure readiness, the survey shows that a mere 12% of local organizations in KSA have networks that are fully flexible to handle the complexity of AI workloads. Cybersecurity also needs increased focus, as 70% of respondents fall short of being “fully equipped” to detect and prevent adversarial attacks on AI models. ​

Commenting on the results of the study, Salman Faqeeh, Managing Director, Cisco Saudi Arabia, said: “Saudi Arabia has made significant strides in recent years to establish itself as a leading player in the field of AI. The Kingdom recognizes the transformative potential of AI and has placed it at the center of its Vision  2030.” He concluded: “At Cisco, we believe in the critical role of AI to revolutionize industries and drive innovation, and it has been an important element across our portfolio for over a decade. As the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) is working to implement the National Strategy for Data and AI, the insights from the index can help inform the prioritization across important pillars, including strategy, infrastructure, data, governance, talent, and culture.”

Cisco AI Readiness Index 

The new Cisco AI Readiness Index is based on a double-blind survey of 8,161 private sector business and IT leaders across 30 markets, conducted by an independent third-party surveying respondents from companies with 500 or more employees. The Index assessed respondents’ AI readiness across six key pillars: strategy, infrastructure, data, talent, governance, and culture.

Companies were examined on 49 different metrics across these six pillars to determine a readiness score for each as well as an overall readiness score for the respondents’ organization. Each indicator was assigned an individual weight based on its relative importance to achieving readiness for the applicable pillar. Based on their overall score, Cisco has identified four groups at different levels of organizational readiness: pacesetters (fully prepared), chasers (moderately prepared), followers (limited preparedness), and laggards (unprepared).

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