Artificial Intelligence Is Everywhere … Or Is It?

The Three Barriers To AI Adoption

It seems like everyone is talking about how AI is going to change things across almost every industry and hardly a day goes by without some new application being highlighted in the media.

However, when you actually dig under the covers and talk to executives, it is surprising how many companies are not actually using AI. It feels like the old joke about Teenage Sex : everyone’s talking about it, but not many are doing it ( and those that are doing it are not doing it very well!)

So if the potential benefits are so large, why has adoption not happened faster and more widely? I believe there are three primary barriers preventing more widespread adoption.

1. What Can AI Do For Me?

A lack of understanding of what AI can do for your business is the first barrier to AI adoption.

Most companies don’t have a clear and realistic understanding of how AI can help their business. This is partly because they don’t understand, within the fabric of their business, what is really possible. Some executives have wildly optimistic and unrealistic expectations of what can be achieved. Many others believe that AI is great in principle, but it doesn’t apply to their business.

Being educated on the practical capabilities of AI, in the context of your business, is the best way to overcome this barrier. One way to do this is to create an “Opportunity Map”, which lists and ranks the potential ways in which AI can be used to your benefit.

It’s important that this “Opportunity Map” is more than just a laundry list of potential projects. Hence, you need to take account of both your customer environment and your current internal infrastructure in order to be able to assess the potential benefits, as well as the relative ease of implementation of these opportunities.

Once you have created the “Opportunity Map” for your business, this can then be used to formulate a coherent and practical AI Strategy.

2. Why Do I Need An AI Strategy?

Does your company have an IT Strategy? Almost invariably the answer is “yes”, even if you are not a technology company and outsource just about all your IT work.

You need to think the same way about developing an AI strategy. Every company should have an AI strategy, even if that strategy is just to keep a watching brief on developments. However, the fact is that most companies right now don’t have a coherent AI Strategy.

The second barrier to AI adoption is the lack of a coherent AI Strategy. One way to overcome this barrier is to use the “Opportunity Map” that you have developed to identify the initiatives that are strategically important to you. You can then develop your AI strategy to take advantage of these opportunities and deliver the optimum benefits to your business.

3. What Skills / Resources Do I Need?

The third barrier to AI adoption is a lack of the right skills and resources.

Most companies don’t know what skills and resources they need to take advantage of AI opportunities. Why should they? Without a clear understanding of how they intend to leverage the capabilities of AI, it’s pretty hard to guess at the skills and resources needed.

However, once you have created your “Opportunity Map” and developed your AI Strategy, you are now in a much better position to assess what skills and resources you need.

Your AI Strategy provides you with a roadmap of AI initiatives that can be assessed to understand the resources and skills needed to implement and support them. While you may need to add some internal resources, it’s quite likely that you are not going to try to do everything yourself and hence selecting the right partners or solution providers is key.

4. The Longest Journey Begins With A Single Step

If you are interested in exploring how you might be able to take advantage of the opportunities to apply AI to your business, please feel free to contact me at

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