Singapore Leads the World in AI and ML Investments

Explore how Singapore businesses are setting the global standard in AI and ML investments. Discover the insights from the latest Workday study and their journey towards shaping the future of work and industry

Workday, a prominent provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, has unveiled a recent study indicating that businesses in Singapore are leading the global race in terms of investments in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies. The report, titled “C-Suite Global AI Indicator Report,” draws insights from 2,355 business leaders worldwide, including those in Singapore, and explores the anticipated impact of AI and ML on the future workforce.

The study’s findings reveal that, on average, Singaporean businesses allocate 24% of their annual budget to AI and ML investments, surpassing the United States (22%) and Canada (21%), and exceeding the global average of 18%. Evidently, Singaporean businesses are displaying ambitious, long-term expectations regarding the returns on AI and ML investments, with half of the respondents acknowledging that AI and ML will significantly enhance human potential.

Singapore is evidently ahead in the adoption of AI and ML technologies across various business functions, with 51% of businesses in Singapore already making progress in deploying AI and ML to streamline operations and enhance their workforce. This figure surpasses the global average of 34%.

Pannie Sia, ASEAN General Manager at Workday, noted, “Given Singapore’s status as a leading technology hub in the region, it comes as no surprise that local businesses are well-positioned to harness and invest in AI and ML across their organizations, thereby unlocking new growth opportunities and increasing their competitiveness and relevance.”

The advantages of incorporating AI and ML technologies are numerous, with improved collaboration being the most notable benefit according to businesses in Singapore. Among Singapore’s HR leaders, 63% believe that AI and ML will empower HR functions to deliver greater strategic value, while 57% of finance leaders in Singapore view AI and ML as a game-changing force for finance and procurement.

However, despite the optimism surrounding the immediate business benefits of AI and ML investments, half of Singapore’s business leaders express concerns about the current trustworthiness of these technologies. Issues such as data security, privacy, and a shortage of skilled talent are impeding the full-scale adoption of AI and ML, according to CEOs and other business leaders. Notably, 57% of Singapore’s IT leaders believe their teams will face pressure to establish a trustworthy approach to AI and ML within their organizations. Moreover, 63% of IT leaders in Singapore see the shortage of skilled IT professionals in the market as the primary obstacle to achieving their current IT objectives.

Sia remarked, “As Singapore advances toward becoming a global leader in AI and ML adoption, it is imperative to overcome trustworthiness and talent shortage challenges. Fortunately, Singaporean CEOs and business leaders recognize that AI and ML technologies are not mere trends. Two out of three respondents in our survey believe that AI and ML will have a substantial impact on their organizations and industries. Given the complexities of the current business landscape, Singaporean leaders will need to strengthen their talent strategies and prioritize responsible practices to fully harness the immense potential of AI and ML.”

The survey indicates that 37% of businesses in Singapore are either scaling up their use of AI and ML or have reached maturity in their adoption, the highest percentage among all the countries surveyed. Looking ahead, 69% of business leaders in Singapore anticipate that their organizations will increase investments in AI and ML over the next five years.

The Workday study underscores Singapore’s remarkable commitment to pioneering advancements in AI and ML technologies. With substantial investments, a proactive approach, and a keen awareness of both the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead, Singaporean businesses are positioning themselves as global leaders in this transformative field. While there are concerns about trustworthiness and talent shortages, the resounding consensus among business leaders is that AI and ML are not mere fads; they are integral to shaping the future of work and industry. As Singapore’s forward-thinking organizations continue to lead the way in AI and ML adoption, they stand ready to harness the full potential of these technologies, driving innovation, competitiveness, and sustainable growth for years to come.