Unlocking Growth: The Impact of Data and AI in Business

Explore the transformative power of data and AI in business growth with MIT Technology Review Insights’ latest report. Discover key insights and trends shaping the future of technology adoption.

A recent study conducted by MIT Technology Review Insights delves into the potential for businesses to utilize data and generative AI to drive their growth. This comprehensive report, titled “Establishing the Groundwork for Growth Driven by Data and AI,” has been developed in collaboration with Databricks and is founded on a global survey encompassing 600 high-ranking technology executives, including CIOs, CTOs, CDOs, and other leaders hailing from prominent public and private sector organizations. Notably, over 200 of these participants are based in the Asia Pacific & Japan region. The report also includes in-depth interviews with C-level executives from renowned organizations such as ADP, Condé Nast, Databricks, Dell Technologies, General Motors, Razorpay, Regeneron Genetics Center, Starbucks, and the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.

Ed Lenta, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Asia Pacific and Japan at Databricks, highlights the current pivotal moment in AI adoption in the Asia Pacific and Japan, with Singapore emerging as a frontrunner in embracing generative AI. In fact, the survey reveals that 53% of executives from Singapore are actively experimenting with AI, while 37% are already in the adoption phase. Lenta emphasizes the increased investments made by CIOs and CDOs to ensure they have the necessary data strategy and talent to harness AI’s benefits. Japan and India also stand out for their notable strides in AI adoption, recognizing the advantages of being early adopters in the AI landscape. Lenta underscores the importance of creating an environment where every member of an organization can leverage AI, regardless of their preferred programming language.

Key findings from the report include:

  1. High expectations for AI’s transformative impact in the short term, with 81% of respondents anticipating at least a 25% boost in industry efficiency within the next two years, and one-third foreseeing gains of at least 50%.
  2. Increased investments by CIOs in data and AI to stay competitive, with almost half of organizations planning to boost their budgets for modernizing data infrastructure and adopting AI by over 25% in the next year.
  3. Growing importance of governance as AI becomes more democratized, with 60% of respondents highlighting the need for a unified governance model for data and AI.
  4. Widespread adoption of generative AI, with 88% of organizations using it in some capacity, often opting for a hybrid approach combining vendor-supplied large language models (LLMs) with in-house model development, especially in cases where IP ownership, privacy, security, and accuracy are crucial. Singapore, in particular, shows a preference for a buy-and-build approach.
  5. Talent and skills gaps as a primary challenge for data and AI strategies, with 39% of respondents emphasizing the need to invest in talent development and workforce upskilling, while 72% stress the importance of fostering innovation to attract and retain talent.
  6. The rise of the “lakehouse” data architecture, with nearly 75% of organizations already adopting it and the rest planning to do so in the next three years. Respondents highlight the importance of supporting real-time analytics, integrating emerging technologies, and sharing live data across platforms with this architecture.

Laurel Ruma, the global director of custom content for MIT Technology Review, underscores the commitment of C-suite executives to steer their organizations toward a transformative future. She emphasizes that strategic investments, consolidation efforts, and a focus on governance and the democratization of AI are not mere options but imperative steps for success in the evolving business landscape. For those interested in the full report, it is available for download via the provided link.

The findings from the MIT Technology Review Insights report paint a compelling picture of the pivotal role data and AI are poised to play in shaping the future of businesses worldwide. With an overwhelming majority of executives anticipating transformative impacts in the short term and a growing emphasis on investment, governance, and talent development, it is evident that organizations are gearing up for a data-driven and AI-led era. The adoption of generative AI and the widespread embrace of the lakehouse data architecture underscore the proactive steps being taken to harness the potential of these technologies. As we move forward, the commitment of C-suite leaders to navigate this transformative landscape is not just commendable but imperative for achieving sustained success in an increasingly competitive and dynamic business environment.