Are UAE Organizations Ready For AI Adoption?

A Cisco report finds 73% of organizations have a robust AI strategy in place

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  • [Image source: Pankaj Kirdatt/MITSMR Middle East]

    Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming every industry, from manufacturing and hospitality to healthcare and retail, creating new opportunities for innovation, optimizing business processes, and improving customer experiences. In the past year, we have seen advanced AI deployments, particularly in Generative AI, driven by the endless possibilities it offers businesses and consumers.

    But without an AI strategy, organizations risk missing out on AI’s benefits. Organizations need to address the complex challenges associated with AI implementation and have a well-defined purpose and plan to ensure that the adoption of AI aligns with the broader business goals. 

    According to Cisco’s recently released AI Readiness Index, only 14% of global organizations are fully prepared to deploy and leverage AI-powered technologies. However, in the UAE, the AI Readiness Index report showed that strategy readiness is the most mature pillar, with 73% of organizations classified as fully prepared.

    In the UAE, which is developing innovative technologies to foster economic growth, exemplified by its National Strategy for AI, half of respondents placed improving the efficiency of systems, processes, and operations as their top three outcomes through AI adoption. This was followed by growing revenue and market share at 48% and improving ability to innovate at 47%.

    Here are the key takeaways from the Cisco’s AI Readiness Index report:

    Strategy Readiness 

    Effective deployment of AI requires a well-defined strategy. Globally, strategy emerged as the most mature pillar of the AI Readiness Index, with the same holding true in the UAE, with nearly three-quarters (73%) of organizations classified as either Pacesetters (fully prepared) or Chasers (moderately prepared), with only 2% falling into the category of Laggards.

    Infrastructure for AI

    The study finds that in the UAE, Infrastructure readiness is relatively low, with just 7% of local organizations categorized as Pacesetters. Scalability and flexibility of an organization’s existing IT infrastructure are crucial to handle increasing demands without major disruptions.

    Importance of Data 

    Data is the backbone for AI operations, and organizations must have a strong framework of policies for responsible management of data and AI systems, but in the UAE, organizations are unprepared when it comes to data. 

    Talent for the Tech

    When asked about the skills lacking among the employees in their organization, 25% of the UAE respondents ranked comprehension and proficiency of AI tools and technologies as the primary skill gap. But of the organizations surveyed in the UAE, 80% say they are investing in employee training – upskilling their existing workforce to leverage the full potential of AI technologies they deploy – and hiring new talent. 

    Culture is Crucial

    Adoption of AI is poised to bring about large and fundamental culture changes, and nearly eight out of 10 say their organization in the UAE is embracing AI with a moderate to high level of urgency, and 98% of respondents say that the urgency to deploy AI-powered technologies has increased in their company in the past six months. However, within the Culture pillar, just 6% of respondents qualify as fully prepared against the determined criteria, with limited preparedness comprising the largest grouping at 49%. 


    Keen to know how emerging technologies will impact your industry? MIT SMR Middle East will be hosting the second edition of NextTech Summit.


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