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AI Investments are Up

The economy may have had a downward impact on enterprise spending, but investments increased exponentially when implementing AI, according to 82% of IT executives taking part in ABBYY’s State of Intelligent Automation Report: Impact of the Economy on AI Priorities.

Respondents from the U.S., U.K., Germany, and France attributed AI projects to an increase in higher value work (60%), happiness (62%), and employee innovation (59%), noting that intelligent automation freed them from many routine and mundane tasks to focus more on customer and revenue-driven initiatives.

Nearly half of respondents (49%) reported an increase in staff retention levels since introducing intelligent automation, which is significant in the era of quiet quitting. They also stated that improvements in employee efficiency (52%) and productivity (48%) were among the top benefits to the organization, as well as the benefit to employees, with a third globally stating there was better work-life balance. The U.S. led in the reduction of work stress (47%) followed by the U.K. (42%).

Almost half (47%) of enterprise executives saw a two-times return on their AI investments in 2023, up from 43% in 2022. Additionally, 82% said their AI budgets increased this year and 48% plan to invest more, despite reductions in costs in other parts of the organization.

The survey also revealed that mid and large enterprises are placing the greatest investments in AI to enable intelligent automation. Increased investments of up to 35% by emerging enterprises indicates growing recognition that AI is leveling the playing field and required for a competitive advantage.

As AI adoption becomes more widespread with the use of large language models such as generative AI, 89% of IT executives responded that they have AI strategies in place. Thirty-seven percent have compressed their road maps into three- to five-year plans, noting revenue-impacting processes as top priorities including operations, marketing, product development, sales (as it relates to customer experience), and logistics services.

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