Emerging tech rising to board-level concern

Dive Brief:

  • More than half of companies say their board of directors is now among key decision-makers guiding investments in emerging technology, a report from Gartner shows. The firm polled 500 respondents from mid-size and larger organizations. 
  • 5G topped the list of emerging technologies, with an average investment of $465,000, followed by IoT with an average investment of $417,000.
  • Nine in 10 companies say emerging technologies meet or exceed user expectations. Among those with unmet expectations from technology, one in five companies say staffing issues hinder adoption. 

Dive Insight:

As these technologies mature and can impact the bottom line, board directors have sat up to take notice. With edge computing and AI, for example, organizations are able to process data in real time, producing actionable insights for decision-makers and proving out the value of the technology, said Danielle Casey, senior principal research analyst at Gartner.

Edge technologies, including AI and computing, received the third-largest investment, receiving $262,000 last year, on average. But Gartner forecasts investment in this category will increase 76% this year to $462,000.

There are three primary drivers for executives evaluating potential investments in AI: business transformation, systems modernization or enhanced decision-making, according to Anand Rao, global AI lead at PwC, in an email.

“Companies that simultaneously focus on all three of them tend to be the leaders with significantly higher enterprise-wide adoption with a larger number of use cases,” said Rao.

Despite enterprise aspirations, a common roadblock to emerging technology is staffing, alongside data and disruption from ongoing transformation. 

“Lack of data that is suitable for AI, shortage of skilled staff, and ongoing cloud transformation initiatives are some of the reasons that companies fail to embark on more extensive use of AI,” said Rao.

Nearly one-third of all IT job postings in February required some level of emerging tech skills, according to a CompTIA review of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

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