CEO Insights 2024: AI Use on the Rise, But Challenges Remain

Posted June 19, 2024 | Technology |
CEO Insights 2024: AI Use on the Rise

As part of its ongoing series of flagship CEO Insights research studies, Arthur D. Little (ADL) recently published its 2024 edition: “Positive in an Uncertain World: Confident CEOs Reskill Companies for AI-Driven Growth.” In this Advisor, we explore a key trend revealed through research analysis: AI use is on the rise, particularly for increasing efficiency and effectiveness, but challenges remain.

Embrace AI to Achieve Growth Ambitions

Since 2023, AI usage has accelerated dramatically. To measure CEO attitudes, this year’s study introduced new questions around AI and its adoption. In many ways, progress has been swift — 96% of executives claim to have implemented an AI strategy within at least one department of their organization, with 47% having a strategic view toward AI.

However, just 13% have adopted a comprehensive company-wide AI strategy, demonstrating that they are still on a transformation path to fully understand the impact of AI and integrate it across the organization. In our experience, fully benefiting from AI requires enormous structural and workforce change, which is achievable only with time. There are major challenges to moving from a strategic view to a strategy and then implementing it.

Figure 1 illustrates the strongest performers by region, with 75% of companies within Asia reporting a company-wide strategy or strategic view. The strongest performers by industry and size are those in the financial services (79%) and $10 billion+ organizations (67%). A clear divide also exists between organizations that feel that they are leading their markets, where 24% have a company-wide strategy in place, and laggards, none of which have implemented such a compelling strategy.

Figure 1. Company AI strategies
Figure 1. Company AI strategies

AI Usage: Efficiency & Innovation

How are CEOs turning their AI strategies into practice? Analysis shows that they are predominantly focused on making core functions better by increasing efficiency and effectiveness, such as through automation (see Figure 2). Efficiency is the leading use case in four out of seven sectors, showing that companies are at a relatively early stage of their AI journey.

Figure 2. Average degree of AI use for different performance vectors per industry (0-100)
Figure 2. Average degree of AI use for different performance vectors per industry (0-100)

The exceptions are telcos, travel and transportation, and manufacturing, which are focusing on using AI to create new business models. However, manufacturing is clearly lagging other sectors on each performance vector, scoring an overall average of less than 50 for AI use. This can be linked to the sector’s pressing need to reskill employees, as we highlight in the next section.

“Our target is to use technology to improve operational effectiveness while cutting expenses.” — CEO, healthcare

“To predict market movements, we are using AI and machine learning, which we are using more and more for scenario analysis and predictive modeling.” — CEO, telco

About The Author
Francesco Marsella
Francesco Marsella is a Partner at Arthur D. Little (ADL), based in the Rome office, where he leads the marketing and sales center of competence for both the Automotive & Manufacturing Goods and the Strategy & Organization practices. Mr. Marsella has served clients throughout Europe, supporting leading automotive OEMs on strategic and growth-related projects and large-business transformation programs. His expertise ranges from customer… Read More
Petter Kilefors
Petter Kilefors is a Managing Partner at Arthur D. Little (ADL), based in the Nordic region, and a member of ADL’s Strategy & Organization practice. He also covers private equity within ADL’s Telecommunications, Information Technology, Media & Electronics (TIME); Health Care & Life Sciences; and Public Services practices. Mr. Kilefors focuses on strategy and organization, advice to private equity and industrial investors pre- and… Read More
Maximilian Scherr
Maximilian Scherr is a Partner at Arthur D. Little (ADL), where he leads ADL’s Strategy & Organization and Technology & Innovation Management practices in Vienna. Additionally, he is responsible for ADL’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG)/energy transition work in Austria, particularly for industrial companies, and is a regular speaker on innovation and ESG topics. Mr. Scherr helps clients with growth and group strategies,… Read More
Ralf Baron
Ralf Baron is a Partner at Arthur D. Little (ADL), based in Frankfurt, and the Global Practice Manager of ADL’s Travel & Transportation practice. He has more than 25 years’ experience in management consulting and has worked in the mobility sector for more than 20 years. Mr. Baron advises leading players in the mobility industry and ecosystem on strategic orientation and performance improvement, as well as organizational change and… Read More
Satya Easwaran
Satya Easwaran is a Partner at Arthur D. Little (ADL) and a member of ADL’s Strategy & Organization practice, based in Mumbai. Mr. Easwaran has over 25 years’ experience using emerging digital technologies to enact business and operations transformations. Previously, he held various senior-level roles, including Country Head and Managing Director at Wipro, Partner and Head of Business Consulting at KPMG, and Managing Director at Accenture.… Read More