‘Transformative’ AI Will lead to Rapid 25% Efficiency Gain, Say 81% of Tech Execs


SINGAPORE (October 10, 2023) – A new report presented by MIT Technology Review Insights, titled “Laying the foundation for data- and AI-led growth” was released recently, featuring opportunities for businesses to leverage data and generative AI to promote growth.

The report was produced together with Databricks and is based on a global survey of around 600 c-suite executives and tech leaders who provided their knowledge and insight. They hail from large public and private sector organisations, a third of which are based in the APAC region and Japan. The report includes in-depth, insightful interviews from the leaders of companies including ADP, Conde Nast, Dell Technologies, General Motors, Razorpay, Reneneron Genetics Centre, Starbucks and the US Transportation Security Administration, among others.

According to Ed Lenta, Databricks’senior vice president and general manager of the Asia Pacific and Japan : “We are currently at an inflection point in the adoption of AI in Asia Pacific and Japan, and Singapore is emerging as one of the fastest adopters of generative AI. 53% of surveyed executives from Singapore are currently experimenting, and 37% are at the adoption stage. CIOs and CDOs are doubling down on their investments to ensure they have the right data strategy and talent in place to benefit from AI.”

“Japan and India are also notable for their strides in AI adoption. We know that today’s early movers will be tomorrow’s AI winners. Success, however, requires a world where everyone in an organisation can use AI irrespective of whether their language of choice is Python, SQL, or English,” he added.

The report claims that as many as 81% of surveyed respondents expect AI to boost the efficiency of their industry by a minimum of 25% within the next two years. A third say that the gain will be at least 50%. CIOs, meanwhile, are doubling their investments in data and AI as they expect their data and AI assets to deliver a significant amount of growth within the organisation. In fact, every organisation surveyed plans to boost their spending on modernising their data infrastructure and AI capabilities during the next year, with many increasing their budgets for this by 25% or more.

Meanwhile, while businesses rush to utilise generative AI, executives seek government frameworks that can provide for data accuracy and integrity while ensuring data privacy and security. 60% of respondents state a single governance model for data and AI is crucial.

The use of generative AI in organisations is ever increasing, with 26% of respondents investing in it, though a majority (58%) claim that taking a hybrid approach to developing these tools would be more effective boosting their capabilities. Vendors using large language models (LLMs) for some use cases are building their own IP ownership, security and accuracy requirement models. In Singapore, 60% of firms are opting for a buy-and-build approach, while 20% chose build-only LLMs.

When asked, organisations admitted the need to improve upon the gaps that they are currently facing in talent and skills within the company, and how this has overshadowed the organisations other data and AI challenges. A significant proportion of those queried claim that they will be investing heavily in talent and upskilling their workforce, while pointing out the importance of encouraging innovation in attracting and retaining said talent.

As many as three-quarters of surveyed companies have adopted a lake house architecture, and the balance expect to do the same within the next three years. They said that their data architecture needs to be streamlined in order to support large workloads and real-time analytics whilst allowing for live-streaming data across platforms. Almost all lakehouse adopters state that the architecture is helping them reach their data and AI goals, while nearly three-quarters say that the benefits have proven to be significant.

“With data and AI at the forefront of innovation, our report underscores the commitment of C-suite executives to steer toward a transformative future,” says Laurel Ruma, global director of custom content for MIT Technology Review. “Strategic investments, consolidation efforts, and dedication to governance and democratisation of AI are not merely choices; they are imperatives for success.”