Report: Are Australian Leaders Ready for the Impact of Artificial Intelligence?

We want to understand the impact from the leaders’ point of view on this revolutionary topic.

In 2021 the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources shared Australia’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) Action Plan. The document contains the strategies to turn the country into “a global leader in developing and adopting trusted, secure and responsible AI.”

Since the Action Plan will inevitably affect organisational decisions, we wanted to understand the impact from the leaders’ point of view on this revolutionary topic.

This is a publication that showcases the insights and data from this survey. Let’s dive into the interesting revelations.

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Interesting Stats and Insights – Summary

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Only 18% of professional service industry leaders expect AI to improve org efficiency but 96% believe it will help their company grow (Stat 1)

 

Data analytics, driving quality insights, is the most desirable AI project to invest in 2022​ (Stat 2)

 

Work Efficiency, Better Service Delivery, and Competitive Advantage are the top 3 objectives leadership across all sectors want to achieve in 2022 with AI (Stat 5)

 

7% of government sector leaders will invest in AI skills development, compared to 54% by professional, scientific and technical services leadership (Stat 7)

 

The most important driver for AI adoption in health sector is “better customer service”, in comparison to all other industries choosing “better service delivery” (Stat 13)

 

36% of C-suite and board members expect AI to increase efficiency, compared to 75% of managers and senior roles (Stat 14)

Interesting Stats and Insights – All

Stat 1

Only 18% of professional service industry leaders expect AI to improve org efficiency but 96% believe it will help their company grow

This is a very interesting result indicating a unique perception within the professional service industry. Leaders in this industry expect business growth from AI, but do not expect the impact to be felt internally with process improvements. This implies professional service industry leaders believe AI will not affect them directly. However, they do believe AI will provide benefits to their organisation externally through growth.

69% of Australian Leaders Have Incorporated AI into Their Business Strategy for 2022

AI in Australia

Stat 2

Data analytics, driving quality insights, is the most desirable AI project to invest in 2022

59% of leaders are focusing their investments on this type of project rather than cost and speed opportunities such as task automation and process efficiency.

69% of Australian Leaders Have Incorporated AI into Their Business Strategy for 2022

Stat 3

All Australian leaders believe AI will increase innovation, and 86% believe AI will increase innovation by 15% or more in 2022 alone

This is a cross-sector agreement on the connection between innovation and AI. However, as this report will indicate, cross-sector agreement is not a common occurrence.

69% of Australian Leaders Have Incorporated AI into Their Business Strategy for 2022

Stat 4

69% of Australian Leaders Have Incorporated AI into Their Business Strategy for 2022

A strong indication of the uptake of AI by Australian leaders. The 22% of leadership that have adopted AI as a core part of their business strategy will likely have a strong competitive advantage in their market in the very near future. This is especially interesting when compared to stat 6.

69% of Australian Leaders Have Incorporated AI into Their Business Strategy for 2022

Stat 5

Work Efficiency, Better Service Delivery, and Competitive Advantage are the top 3 objectives leadership across all sectors want to achieve in 2022 with AI

Notably organisational growth is one of the least desirable objectives across all sectors.

69% of Australian Leaders Have Incorporated AI into Their Business Strategy for 2022

AI in Government

Stat 6

40% of leaders in the government sector have not incorporated AI into their organisational strategy for 2022, compared to 88% of leaders across all other sectors and industries that have incorporated AI

The public sector shouldn’t fall behind the private sector with AI adoption. AI has benefits across all sectors, and we encourage all leadership to incorporate AI into their organisational strategy. See general trend stat 4 for a comparison.

69% of Australian Leaders Have Incorporated AI into Their Business Strategy for 2022

Stat 7

7% of government sector leaders will invest in AI skills development, compared to 54% of professional, scientific and technical services leaders

Without the investment in AI skills development, the public sector will lag behind the private sector. Government sector leaders should act now to develop and acquire the necessary skills.

69% of Australian Leaders Have Incorporated AI into Their Business Strategy for 2022

Stat 8

The Government sector noted the ‘lack of internal expertise’ and ‘lack of funding’ as their biggest challenges to implement AI into their organisation

There’s a known lack of investment in AI skills development, and the ‘lack of internal expertise’ is the biggest challenge for implementing AI in the government sector. ‘Lack of funding’ as the 2nd largest challenge indicates there isn’t enough policy involving AI adoption.  

69% of Australian Leaders Have Incorporated AI into Their Business Strategy for 2022

Stat 9

0% of government leaders are implementing AI for ‘Better Talent Acquisition’, whereas this is the major objective for the professional, scientific and technical services leadership

Since the federal government has started the conversation about opening the borders, how much will this figure change with the new influx of overseas talent? We’ll be watching this space closely.

69% of Australian Leaders Have Incorporated AI into Their Business Strategy for 2022

Stat 10

Data is seen as 3 times the challenge in the private sector as it is in the public sector to implement AI successfully

From our experience the reason why these 2 sectors differ is the urgency in which the data challenge is approached, not the reliability of the data. The private sector is showing a lot more concern over the access and the reliability of data.

69% of Australian Leaders Have Incorporated AI into Their Business Strategy for 2022

AI in Health Sector

Stat 11

67% of health sector leadership believe AI will increase their organisational competitiveness in 2022, yet only 50% believe AI projects will create new jobs in 2022

The perception from within the health sector is that their edge won’t come from AI skills, it will derive from AI technology. Other data also indicates there isn’t a strong preference to develop AI skills internally. This highlights a desire to hire external AI tech consultants.

69% of Australian Leaders Have Incorporated AI into Their Business Strategy for 2022

Stat 12

‘Workflow efficiency’ is the most popular objective for health sector leadership by a margin of over 50%

61% of health sector leadership want to achieve ‘workflow efficiency’ in 2022 with AI, which is over 50% more popular than the next objective. Although it is often part of the strategy we note critical insights and better talent acquisition processes are not desirable objectives.

69% of Australian Leaders Have Incorporated AI into Their Business Strategy for 2022

Stat 13

The most important driver for AI adoption in health sector is “better customer service”, in comparison to all other industries choosing “better service delivery”

The health sector is very patient, or “customer”, centric. This stat follows the natural path of health sector leadership, in comparison to the other sectors that focus more on the method, i.e. the service, over the end recipient.

69% of Australian Leaders Have Incorporated AI into Their Business Strategy for 2022

AI Expectations by Role Seniority

There is a significant degree of commonality in opinion on AI and AI strategy between executive leadership and middle management. However, some insightful differences exist between them.

These common themes are brought out in the graphs and stats below, including:

  • There can be a lack of dissemination of information across organisations
  • There is continued silo thinking in organisations
  • It’s good that the exec leadership teams know what they want but it’s not being communicated down the chain.
  • AI is a strategic choice. It could be a problem if the managers and senior roles are not aware of strategy choices.

Stat 14

36% of C-suite and board members expect AI to increase efficiency, compared to 75% of managers and senior roles

69% of Australian Leaders Have Incorporated AI into Their Business Strategy for 2022

Stat 15

C-suite and board members see “lack of accessibility of data” as a bigger challenge than “lack of internal expertise”, which is the opposite for Managers and senior staff

69% of Australian Leaders Have Incorporated AI into Their Business Strategy for 2022

Stat 16

92% of C-suite and board members are aware of AI projects in their organisation, whereas 66% of managers and senior roles are aware

69% of Australian Leaders Have Incorporated AI into Their Business Strategy for 2022
69% of Australian Leaders Have Incorporated AI into Their Business Strategy for 2022

Stat 17

90% of C-suite and board members expect AI to create new roles in their organisation, whereas only 66% of managers and senior roles expect so

69% of Australian Leaders Have Incorporated AI into Their Business Strategy for 2022
69% of Australian Leaders Have Incorporated AI into Their Business Strategy for 2022

Data Collection Method

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