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Business leaders rank AI as ‘crucial’ to success by 2030: Survey

Patrick Buncsi27 February 2024
AI business leaders

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be the most important technology for unlocking future revenue and achieving business success through to the 2030s, according to a significant majority of business leaders surveyed as part of a new study by advisory and accounting firm HLB Mann Judd.

Two out of three respondents to the HLB Survey of Business Leaders survey ranked AI as the most important technology for their business over the next five years and a decisive factor in unlocking future growth.

Commenting on the survey results, Fiona Dixon, business transformation partner at HLB Mann Judd Sydney, said businesses are already making ready use of AI “to improve operational efficiencies in areas such as process automation, document processing and customer analytics”.

Further, she said, success in these areas will likely see the further integration of AI “deeper into business processes”.

Nearly half of survey respondents (44%) said they had already adopted or were eager to adopt AI technologies into business processes, with just 18% declaring they were averse to its adoption or still cautious about the risks.

For those at the conservative end, many expressed concerns over data security and privacy issues, with 47% considering this the primary barrier to adoption.

Overall, the survey found SMEs and those in the technology and manufacturing sectors were more likely to be AI innovators. They are also more likely to be confident about their ability to grow revenue over the next 12 months, with 88% saying they are either confident or very confident compared to explorers (83%) and conservatives (80%).

“There is no doubt that business leaders are on a journey with AI, adapting their businesses to take advantage of the opportunities as they evolve. However, it is important that they treat AI integration as a journey – a marathon rather than a sprint – in order to make the most of its potential in a sustainable and long-term way,” Dixon said.

Overall, surveyed business leaders expressed most concern over inflation (74%) and geopolitical risk (69%), with economic uncertainty (68%) and adoption of emerging technology (68%) ranked by business leaders as their primary concerns.

However, more than four out of five (84%) business leaders said they were upbeat and remain confident in their own ability to grow revenue in 2024.

Emerging technologies key to unlocking growth

Emerging technology will be a key force for driving business growth, with over two-thirds (68%) of surveyees agreeing that it will be critical to supporting innovation, creativity and productivity in their businesses.

Alongside AI and machine learning, cloud computing and ‘internet of things’ (IoT) were ranked by business leaders as the most vital tech resources for business success, with virtual reality (VR) also seeing a significant jump in ranking (Dixon remarked that the forthcoming release of Apple’s Vision Pro is likely to see marked increase business use cases for VR).

With fewer than expected use cases materialising over the last decade, the once prominent ‘blockchain’, however, has fallen down the scale of importance.

According to Dixon, twice as many business leaders (60%) plan to adopt new technologies in 2024 compared to 2020, to assist with improving operations efficiency, reducing costs, and launching new products or services.

As part of its survey, HLB sourced 979 responses from business leaders across 52 countries covering a “broad range of industry backgrounds”.


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