The gulf between the potential and reality of AI in the enterprise

The path of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already underway, but it requires a decisive boost to have a positive impact on the actions of companies and institutions and, therefore, on society. This is reflected in the Accenture report 'The art of AI maturity: from practice to results', which highlights (through the consultation of 1,200 companies around the world) how “AI is already changing the way we live and work, but very few organizations take advantage of its potential.”

One of its main conclusions highlights how only 12% of organizations worldwide are using it to drive growth. An option that, as highlighted by Rodrigo Álvarez, managing director of Applied Intelligence at Accenture in Spain, Portugal and Israel, makes it possible for companies that are "leaders in AI to see their revenues increase by up to 50% more than other organizations and obtain better results in customer experience." customer and sustainability”. The consultant's forecasts point to 27% in 2024.

Álvarez highlights the essence of this technological application: "It is no longer a capability, it is part of the business, which generates impact and value and, therefore, needs investment reinforcement." 'Leadership' in this field means being at the front of the queue, thanks to the ability to go from pilot tests, of concept, to its direct implementation in the day-to-day business and to the most critical operations. "The data (he adds) must be well governed, with good traceability, transparency, etc."

In any case and moment, the study also defines five success factors for AI leaders: defend its application, invest in it, industrialize it, design it responsibly, and prioritize short- and long-term investments.

Govern the data

In this context, the Secretary of State for Digitization and Artificial Intelligence, Carme Artigas, has recently presented in Brussels the new regulatory 'sandbox' of the Artificial Intelligence Regulation (or the 'AI Act'). An activity aligned with the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy, one of the axes of the Spain Digital Agenda and one of the components of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan for the Spanish economy, "to improve the preparation of the Spanish productive fabric for boost their competitiveness at European and international level'.

This strategy, which ranges from the most technological aspects to the 'Human-Centered AI', the humanistic approach (even to reduce the gender gap, the digital gap, support the ecological transition and territorial structuring), includes investments such as more than 330 million euros to launch projects such as the creation of a Network of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence and Accessible Language Programs.

In the case of the Community of Madrid, it has announced this year the creation of four technological 'clusters', and one of them, in Leganés, will be dedicated to the development and application of AI. As commented during the presentation of the project Carlos Izquierdo, Minister of Local Administration and Digitization: «AI plays a fundamental role in the beginning of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, in which our way of living, working and the way in which we relate has changed.

to form

Public and private institutions rush their programs to keep up with the demands of this technological application. This is the case with the Polytechnic University of Madrid, as summarized by Javier Bajo, director of the Artificial Intelligence R&D&I Center (Higher Technical School of Computer Engineers): «If we focus on the business field, in the short term, the The solution adopted is to incorporate AI techniques into the current model, sometimes taking strategic decisions aimed at transforming the business model and obtaining a competitive advantage. Today, most companies choose to incorporate certain areas or AI technologies to solve specific problems, but they are particular solutions and there is usually no connection between them.

As Bajo points out, in many cases something is defined as AI that, in reality, it is not. Hence the importance of training in public institutions such as the one referred to (including master's degrees) or in private institutions such as that undertaken by the ISDI business school, which has signed an agreement with IBM to create the Chair of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence.

view to the future

In the case of large companies, IndesIA, the Spanish association of artificial intelligence for the industry, which Inditex has joined, this month joined Gaia-X, the international 'hub' of the 'data economy' and AI, with more than 400 organizations. An ecosystem, as its managers point out, "that helps to identify the relevant requirements of users, to conceptualize use cases and to group national initiatives".

IndesIA organized its first Forum in March, dedicated to the impact of data and AI in Spanish industry, where an impact on GDP of 16,500 million euros was estimated in 2025. A challenge evaluated at this meeting by large companies representing energy, telecommunications and technology, infrastructures... all, part of our lives, all in need of an efficient application of Artificial Intelligence.

Collective algorithms with a creative soul

Rodrigo Álvarez highlights how the application of Artificial Intelligence already improves, through the analysis of information, the sustainability indexes of many companies: «A beneficial sustainable impact can be generated, for example, to reduce the carbon footprint». Something more than technology and mere data and algorithms, since, as the Accenture specialist underlines: «Scientific talent must be combined with internal capacities to be able to work with the rest of the work teams, and the latter must have knowledge in this regard, in business knowledge, something that should be considered in training, both academic and in-company training». And always, creativity will be an important part of the process, when evaluating the huge amount of data, in a work environment that involves the company as a whole.

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