Tech leaders are leveraging AI in various ways to accelerate their business objectives, says Ranjit Rajan, VP Research (META), IDC

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Tech leaders are leveraging AI in various ways to accelerate their business objectives, says Ranjit Rajan, VP Research (META), IDC
Tech leaders are leveraging AI in various ways to accelerate their business objectives, says Ranjit Rajan, VP Research (META), IDC

According to the findings of IDC’s recent CIO Survey, AI will be the emerging technology area that will see the highest spending increase over the coming years.

This is an exclusive interview conducted by the Editor Team of CIO News with Ranjit Rajan, VP Research (META), IDC.

The 17th edition of the IDC Middle East CIO Summit will be held under the theme ‘The Future of IT: Rethinking Digitalization for an AI Everywhere World’. What is the current state of AI in today’s tech landscape?

AI is continually evolving and has become the norm across most industries and organizations. The transformative power of AI significantly enhances digital innovation, customer experiences, operational efficiencies, and sustainability. Particularly in the IT world, tech organizations are prioritizing AI on their agendas, with many becoming early adopters. Shifting toward an “AI Everywhere” mindset has become essential to enhancing overall business performance.

In a recent study, IDC found that for every $1 an organization invests in AI, it realizes an average return of $3.5. The 17th edition of the IDC Middle East CIO Summit aims to empower IT leaders and help them better understand their new roles in today’s AI-infused landscape.

Without exception, AI—including generative AI (GenAI)—is emerging as an integral part of digital business initiatives for organizations across the Middle East. Many of them are still in the exploration phase, trying to understand how they can benefit from this technology and make the most of it. According to the findings of IDC’s recent CIO Survey, AI will be the emerging technology area that will see the highest spending increase over the coming years.

How is AI reshaping CIO decision-making processes?

It’s crucial for CIOs to adapt to AI. Tech leaders are leveraging AI in various ways to accelerate their business objectives. Embracing AI and fostering a progressive mindset toward it is essential for thriving in the digital world because, not long from now, AI will indeed be everywhere. However, in order to capitalize on the value of AI, organizations should transform their data architectures so that the performance and accuracy of the AI models developed on the foundation of organizational data live up to the expectations of business users. C-level executives and business users can use AI to support decision-making by extracting hidden insights from complex datasets and gaining foresight with respect to alternative business scenarios. Additionally, AI is instrumental in driving incremental efficiency gains across a wide range of business operations.

IDC asserts that organizations must prepare for a future where AI pervades every aspect of their operations. Our forecast indicates that annual global spending on AI-centric systems will exceed $300 billion by 2026.

What are the key AI trends tech leaders should be aware of?

GenAI is one of the major trends that organizations around the world are exploring. It has quickly become a key discussion topic in boardrooms across the Middle East, and there is a high level of enthusiasm to explore how organizations can benefit from this technology, particularly among large enterprises in the financial services, government, retail, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, healthcare, and resource industries. Some organizations have already started leveraging GenAI technologies in actual business use cases relating to areas such as knowledge management, RFP process management, and customer interaction. According to the findings of IDC’s recent global Generative AI Survey, just over 30% of large enterprises with more than 500 employees in Saudi Arabia and the UAE have started investing in or exploring GenAI use cases.

IDC expects that widespread adoption of these solutions will take a shorter time than many other emerging technologies. To give some perspective, it took only two months for ChatGPT to reach 100 million users, which is much shorter than it took popular social media platforms such as TikTok (9 months) and Instagram (30 months).

Another important trend is around AI regulations. IDC predicts that AI regulatory divergence across geographies will create major challenges for multinational organizations, increasing implementation times and associated effort for sensitive use cases by up to 10%. The European Union (EU) embarked on the journey to regulate the deployment and development of AI systems through the introduction of the EU AI Act in 2019, and it is now progressing toward ratification. If current negotiations between EU authorities and individual EU states are successful, the Act will come into effect in June 2024, with a two-year transition period for AI developers and providers to adjust. The regulation identifies four risk categories for AI applications: unacceptable, high, limited, and minimal/no risk. When it comes to the U.S., a recent executive order addressed the safe, secure, and trustworthy development and use of AI. Canada is pressing ahead with its Artificial Intelligence and Data Act (AIDA), which follows a use case risk categorization approach like the EU’s AI Act, while India has also hinted at a use case-based approach for its Digital Act, which is currently under development. These are just some of the latest developments on the international regulatory front, and we can expect similar initiatives to take root in the Middle East.

How will the IDC Middle East CIO Summit help tech leaders?

The summit will serve as an essential platform for empowering IT leaders, offering essential guidance on their new roles in today’s AI-infused landscape. It will provide expert guidance on achieving success while crafting innovative solutions for current and emerging challenges. Additionally, the summit will delve into trending topics and challenges, offering critical insights on adapting to AI and the shifting business landscape.

Also readHuman intelligence and AI are inextricably linked, and the latter exists to complement and enhance the former, says Tanvir Khan, Chief Digital and Strategy Officer at NTT DATA Services

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