Die Zukunft von KI und Menschen im Unternehmen: Neue Forschung

Strategie   |   Heather Ferguson   |   5. Dez. 2023

What does the future hold for enterprises?

Rewinding to three years ago, it would have been difficult to predict the economic situation we’ve found ourselves in 2023. Combine the huge technological shift of generative AI with increased inflation and interest rates, supply chain challenges, and widespread changing customer behaviors, and you’ve collectively created a scenario marked by unpredictability and change.

Understanding that predicting the future is no easy feat, we still decided to try. We surveyed 2,800 data and technology leaders in nine countries to see what they are currently experiencing and their visions for the enterprise’s next three years.

This is a vertical bar graph titled "Impact of business landscape on organization". It lists various factors with corresponding percentages that represent their impact on organizations. The factors are listed in descending order of impact:Cybersecurity and data privacy - 51% Globalization challenges - 43% High inflation and interest rates - 41% Changing customer behaviors - 35% Pervasive artificial intelligence - 32% Economic uncertainty - 32% Energy and resource scarcity - 31% Capital constraints - 28% Skills gap - 26% Volatile market conditions - 25% At the bottom, there's a logo for "Alteryx" with the subtitle "THE FUTURE OF AI AND HUMANS IN THE ENTERPRISE: NEW RESEARCH".

Figure 1 – Thinking about the overall business landscape/market environment over the next three years, which of the following do you feel will have the most impact (either positive or negative) on your organization?

To set the stage, we first asked survey respondents what they expect to be most impactful on their organizations over the next three years. The top five identified include cybersecurity and data privacy (51%), globalization challenges (43%), high inflation and interest rates (41%), changing customer behaviors (35%), and pervasive artificial intelligence (32%). With this landscape in mind, let’s dive into the four central themes that emerged from our survey findings.

Generative AI is changing everything

It would be pretty unthinkable to make any predictions about the next three years without considering generative AI. From a technology not on the radar of many to one filling our news and social media feeds, generative AI has made a huge leap in both functionality and perception.

Looking at the numbers, the predictions are what you would expect — generative AI is everywhere, and usage will continue to expand over the next three years.

When asked how organizations will respond to the changing market conditions, 52% stated that they will invest in advanced technology like AI. They also predicted their organization’s use of generative AI would increase from 32% to 53% over the next 3 years, a rise of 21%. Usage of generative AI is expected to be widespread across the business, even within departments that are reluctant to use generative AI right now, like legal and research and development.

This is a horizontal bar graph titled "Percent of decision makers with access to data". It displays the number of respondents on the vertical axis and the percentage with access to data on the horizontal axis, segmented into five categories. The bars represent the following data: Less than 10% - the bar shows a value slightly above 150 respondents. 11-25% - the bar is the highest, indicating just over 250 respondents. 26-50% - the tallest bar, indicating just under 300 respondents. 51-75% - this bar shows around 150 respondents. 76-100% - the shortest bar, indicating around 100 respondents. At the bottom, there's a logo for "Alteryx" and the text "2023 STATE OF ANALYTICS MATURITY". The bars are colored in blue, and the background is white.

Figure 2 – Overall, how would you assess the level of impact that AI is currently having on achieving your organization’s goals?

Even in its current usage, generative AI is having a large influence on outcomes; 80% of businesses say that generative AI is already impacting the achievement of their organizational goals.

Regulation is no longer a “dirty” word

As the usage and adoption of generative AI continue to rise, survey respondents have apprehension regarding how best to use it. Seventy-three percent (73%) of those surveyed expressed concerns regarding the use of AI-powered answers. When questioned about the potential risks of not implementing an ethical AI framework:

  • 49% believed that companies could face legal and ethical repercussions
  • 42% anticipated harm to brand reputation
  • 39% predicted damage to workplace desirability
This image features a set of three donut charts illustrating concerns and beliefs about AI regulation and standards, with the title "There are concerns regarding the use of AI-produced answers and a belief that regulations and standards should be developed".The first chart on the left shows that 73% of respondents have concerns regarding the use of AI-powered answers, with a small sliver representing 2% for "Don't know" and a quarter of the chart, representing 25%, for "No". The middle chart indicates that 89% of respondents believe regulations should be developed for the use of AI within their sector. Here, 9% of the chart is marked "No" and 2% for "Don't know". The third chart on the right shows that 91% believe AI policies will help implement responsible AI, with 7% answering "No" and 2% for "Don't know". At the bottom of the image, there's the Alteryx logo and a subtitle "THE FUTURE OF AI AND HUMANS IN THE ENTERPRISE: NEW RESEARCH". Each chart uses different shades of blue to distinguish the segments, with a darker blue representing the majority opinion and lighter blues for the minority and undecided responses.

Figure 3 – There are concerns regarding the use of AI-produced answers and a belief that regulations and standards should be developed.

What’s the solution? Most respondents expressed strong support for the implementation and integration of policies and regulations to tackle these concerns. A staggering 89% of respondents are in favor of developing regulations for the use of AI in their sectors, while 91% believe that AI policies will help businesses implement responsible AI. Additionally, 80% believe AI security, ethics, and governance will be key to the success of their organization.

The importance of humanity in an AI world

While AI’s quick rise and pervasive impact is clearly the story of 2023, 2024 may be the “Year of the Human.”

Let me explain.

In 2024, companies will be shifting their focus from if and how to adopt generative AI to optimizing the relationship between humans and machines. To do that, organizations will need to hone in on what unique human characteristics will help them meet their goals.

This image displays a bar graph titled "Skills and traits humans and machines will provide". The graph compares the percentage of respondents who believe certain skills and traits will be provided by humans versus machines. Each skill or trait has two horizontal bars aligned next to each other: the top bar in dark blue represents "Humans will provide", and the bottom bar in green represents "Machines will provide". The listed skills and traits with corresponding percentages are as follows:Creativity - Humans: 61%, Machines: 21% Emotion/Relatability - Humans: 43%, Machines: 14% Critical Thinking - Humans: 38%, Machines: 23% Morality - Humans: 38%, Machines: 19% Intuition - Humans: 30%, Machines: 25% Adaptability - Humans: 27%, Machines: 27% Accuracy - Humans: 40%, Machines: 27% Precision - Humans: 34%, Machines: 24% Complex Problem Solving - Humans: 42%, Machines: 22% Speed - Humans: 36%, Machines: 14% The bottom of the image features the Alteryx logo and the subtitle "THE FUTURE OF AI AND HUMANS IN THE ENTERPRISE: NEW RESEARCH". The background is light with a grid, and the bars are clearly labeled with percentages.

Figure 4 – What skills and traits do you believe humans and machines will each provide in this transaction?

When it came to identifying which human skills will be the skills of the future, survey respondents painted a picture where humans’ strengths would support machines’ strengths. Machines were expected to provide skills in complex problem-solving (42%), accuracy (40%), and speed (36%). Meanwhile, humans would be leaned on to provide creativity (61%), emotion/relatability (43%), critical thinking (38%), and morality (38%). While AI is here to stay, embracing humanity and unique ways of thinking will be a strength in an AI-augmented world.

A new look for data teams?

Survey responses predicted some crucial future changes for data teams in skills, roles, and structure. Sixty-nine percent (69%) of respondents expect to see a talent surplus in tech in the next three years. While we can speculate why — my likely culprits include mass layoffs in the sector and generative AI, again — we were able to capture some reasons from respondents directly. Reasons provided included companies moving to hire based on skills instead of degrees, governments investing in STEM educational programs, increased digital literacy, and companies providing re-skilling and training on the job.

The image shows two vertical bar graphs. Both graphs are titled to reflect perceptions of the future tech talent landscape, with the top graph focused on the general tech talent landscape and the bottom graph on the advanced tech talent landscape. Each graph has five bars that represent a spectrum from "Talent surplus" to "Talent shortage". The first graph, "The general tech talent landscape will be characterized by...": On the left side of the graph it says "Talent surplus" 5, closest to this texxt says 38%. 4 says 31%, 3 says 15% 2 10%. "Talent shortage" has the lowest bar at 6%. A note indicates "Top 2: 69%" across the two highest bars, and "Bottom 2: 16%" across the two lowest bars. The second graph, "The advanced tech talent landscape will be characterized by...": On the left side of the graph, it says "Talent surplus" 5, the number closest, has the highest bar at 33%. 4 has 29% 3 has 17% and 2 has 13%. "Talent shortage" has the lowest bar at 8%. A note indicates "Top 2: 62%" across the two highest bars, and "Bottom 2: 21%" across the two lowest bars. Both graphs are in shades of blue, and the Alteryx logo with the subtitle "THE FUTURE OF AI AND HUMANS IN THE ENTERPRISE: NEW RESEARCH" is at the bottom. The background is white, and dashed lines connect the "Top 2" and "Bottom 2" categories, highlighted in light and dark green, and pink dotted lines, respectively.

Figure 5 – Thinking about the next three years, what impact do you expect the following forces to have on the global business landscape?

Roles

AI’s influence is again heavy when looking at how roles will shift in the next three years. The top roles identified with an emerging need were the chief AI officer (62%), AI whisperer/prompt engineer (58%), and trainer/educator specializing in AI (45%). One interesting connection is one we found between these survey results and those from one we completed earlier this year with board members; this survey found that companies not currently using generative AI were more likely to consult a Chief AI Officer. Perhaps these companies, recognizing a lack of their own expertise in managing AI, are proactively creating and filling a new role to navigate this advanced tech landscape.

The image features two vertical bar graphs indicating the importance of various emerging roles and priorities within organizations as they prepare for the future, specifically related to AI.The first graph is titled "Emerging roles as organization prepares for the future" and lists the following roles with corresponding percentages, shown as horizontal bars: Chief AI Officer (CAO) - 62% Prompt engineer / AI whisperer - 58% Trainers/Educators specializing in AI - 45% Data ethics & Privacy roles - 41% Automation specialists - 37% Head of work / organizational culture - 34% The second graph is titled "AI roles most urgent priorities to prepare for the future" and includes: AI Application Engineer - 40% Software Engineer - 34% AI/ML Engineer - 32% AI Research Scientist - 30% Chief AI Officer - 26% Data Scientist - 26% Data Engineer - 25% Chief Analytics Officer - 23% AI Ethicist - 21% Robotics Engineer - 20% Data Governance Lead - 19% AI Whisperer - 19% Prompt Engineer - 16% The bars in both graphs are colored in shades of blue and green, with blue representing the emerging roles and green representing the AI roles as priorities. The background is white, and the Alteryx logo, along with the subtitle "THE FUTURE OF AI AND HUMANS IN THE ENTERPRISE: NEW RESEARCH", is presented at the bottom.

Figure 6 – Roles to prepare for the future

When asked about roles that are urgent priorities for hiring now, a trend emerged – the top roles included AI application engineer (40%), software engineer (34%), and AI/ML engineer (32%). Interestingly, the two roles listed as emerging didn’t seem to be the highest priority for hiring right now, with Chief AI Officer coming in at 26%, AI whisperer at 19%, and prompt engineer at 16%.

The prompt engineer, in particular, is an interesting role — an emerging need that may already be a dying breed. Riely Goodside, a Prompt Engineer at Scale AI said about the role:

“To borrow a comparison, to call yourself a prompt engineer is like calling yourself a typist. It’s something that everyone will be doing in the future, but nobody considers it their job.”

Will the death of the first job at the hands of AI be the prompt engineer? Only time will tell.

Skills

Outside of the roles needed for the enterprise of the future, there are expectations for some skills to become obsolete and others to become absorbed or consolidated into other roles. The top roles expected to become obsolete included:

  • Network engineering (29%)
  • Repetitive coding (24%)
  • Database administration (23%)

For skills expected to be consolidated or absorbed:

  • Remote IT maintenance (42%)
  • AI and ML development (34%)
  • Quality assurance (32%)
  • Single-software expertise (32%)

Another interesting prediction from survey respondents was that employees who are multi-skilled (72%) will be more desirable in the future than those focused on a single skill (28%). The employee of the future will likely focus on multiple subject areas vs specializing in one.

The image displays a donut chart titled "Multi-skilled employees vs. specialized skills in specific areas". The chart is divided into two segments:The larger segment, in dark blue, represents "More important to be multi-skilled" and occupies 72% of the chart. The smaller segment, in light grey, represents "More important to focus on one specialization" and accounts for 28% of the chart. This visual suggests a majority opinion that being multi-skilled is more valued than having a single area of specialization. The Alteryx logo is located at the bottom of the image, along with the text "THE FUTURE OF AI AND HUMANS IN THE ENTERPRISE: NEW RESEARCH". The chart uses contrasting colors to differentiate between the two opinions and has a clean, minimalist design with a white background.

Figure 7 – Do you anticipate in the future your organization will consider it more important for employees to be multi-skilled or will it be more important for them to have a specialization in a specific area?

Structure

When asked about the structure of data departments in the future, we didn’t get a clear answer; 51% of respondents said that data departments would be decentralized, while 30% thought they would be centralized. (The remaining 19% aren’t sure). While it looks like decentralized data departments have a slight edge, there is not enough consensus here for us to make a declaration either way.

The image displays a horizontal bar graph titled "Organizational structures in data teams will be...". It compares the percentage of respondents' views on whether data teams will be decentralized or centralized in the future. The graph is marked with percentages on five bars indicating a scale from decentralized to centralized: The first bar labeled "Decentralized" has a percentage of 27%. The second bar is unlabeled and shows 24%. The third bar is unlabeled and shows 19%. The fourth bar is unlabeled and shows 16%. The fifth bar labeled "Centralized" has a percentage of 14%. Above the graph are two annotations indicating the combined percentage of the top two responses ("Top 2: 51%") and the bottom two responses ("Bottom 2: 30%"), with dotted lines connecting them to the respective bars on the graph. The Alteryx logo is at the bottom of the image, with the subtitle "THE FUTURE OF AI AND HUMANS IN THE ENTERPRISE: NEW RESEARCH".

Figure 8 – Organizational structure in data teams

Conclusion

The future of the enterprise is poised to be shaped significantly by the integration and evolution of generative AI, but don’t count humans out just yet.

The landscape is rapidly transforming, with businesses expecting positive impacts from AI and showing a high demand for AI-related skills. There’s also a strong push for ethical AI practices and regulations. The reality of the future may be that the balance between technological innovation and human-centric approaches will be key to navigating the enterprise’s unpredictable — yet exciting — future.

What’s Next

Download the full research report to dig into the results.