Press release

Dortmund |

Plenty of room for improvement: one in two say their company needs to catch up when it comes to AI

Which AI projects have companies already implemented? What are their plans? Where do they see the greatest obstacles in their businesses? And what potential do they think the technology might have? This year, the IT service provider adesso asked nearly 1,000 decision makers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland for their thoughts on artificial intelligence. The most important finding? Half are not convinced of their companies’ AI capabilities.

The use of new technologies, especially artificial intelligence, is one of the major challenges that companies plan to tackle over the next three years. However, more than one in two respondents in the new adesso study “Zum Status von KI in D-A-CH – Pläne, Prognosen, Projekte” (“On the status of AI in Germany, Austria and Switzerland – plans, forecasts, projects”, currently available in German only) says their business is in a mediocre or even poor position compared to the competition. The reasons are varied, with 38% mentioning resistance to AI within the company and 52% believing that legal conditions prevent the profitable use of AI.

While the majority of companies have yet to exhaust the potential of AI, many now plan to invest in new employees, training or external consultants to gain expertise. However, attracting qualified specialists is becoming a particularly challenging task in light of the shortage of skilled professionals. As a result, senior management has needed to take action and has been fulfilling its leadership role by backing and promoting AI (66%). The reasons for companies’ efforts are clear: 81% believe firmly that an investment will generate competitive advantages in the medium term and have a tremendous influence on their own business models, and 72% think that AI is vital to product innovation.

Potential as far as the eye can see

The percentage of companies that have already launched or completed AI projects is modest across all scenarios covered in the survey. Applications based on recognising and understanding natural language are the most common, with 22% already using AI for this purpose and 28% planning to do so. Other applications include AI for predictive maintenance (20%), fraud detection (18%) and churn prediction (16%).

Meanwhile, a glance at the individual industries reveals tremendous differences: 60% of those surveyed in the financial sector and 54% in the automotive industry believe that their companies are in a good or even better position than their competitors when it comes to AI. By contrast, that figure stands at just 33% in the energy sector and 39% in healthcare. At the same time, 84% of corporate decision makers across all sectors know that AI will play a decisive role in the competition between companies in an increasing number of fields.

“It’s an exciting time for companies: they are investing significantly in AI technologies, processes and expertise across all industries and areas of responsibility,” says Prof. Dr. Volker Gruhn, Supervisory Board Chairman of adesso SE. “Our study shows that by doing so, they are now laying the foundation to secure their future success. And AI will play an important role in that success – even though its use is still in its infancy today.”

Prof. Dr. Volker Gruhn, Founder and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of adesso SE

adesso partnered with the Cologne-based market research institute HEUTE UND MORGEN to carry out a survey on AI between January and February 2021. A total of 956 decision-makers in the business world and 1,000 consumers from a wide range of industries and age groups in Germany, Austria and Switzerland were surveyed.

The study can be downloaded for free at

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