There’s a Growing AI Adoption in Business Operations in UAE

According to an IBM study, 65% of IT professionals have accelerated AI rollout in the last 24 months.

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  • [Image source: Krishna Prasad/MITSMR Middle East]

    AI has risen from a topic relegated to tech employees to meaningful increases in organizations’ adoption of AI technology. Amid the rapid adoption and integration of AI in various business sectors in the UAE, consumer expectations are also changing.

    The IBM Global AI Adoption Index 2023 found that 65% of IT professionals in the UAE have reported a significant acceleration in AI rollout over the past 24 months, reshaping how businesses operate and driving efficiency, innovation, and competitiveness in the UAE market.

    The main drivers propelling AI adoption in the UAE include advances in AI technology, the increasing integration of AI in standard business applications, and the pressing need to reduce costs and automate key processes, collectively contributing to the growing reliance on AI as a critical tool for business efficiency and innovation.

    The study found about 42% of companies have already actively deployed it in their business operations. Investments in AI also see a strategic focus, with research and development and workforce upskilling identified as the top investment priorities.

    This emphasis on R&D and skill enhancement is crucial for sustaining AI growth and innovation, ensuring that the workforce is equipped to handle the evolving demands of AI technologies.

    The study further highlights that 34% of UAE companies have a comprehensive AI strategy in place, while an additional 30% are in the process of developing one.

    “For UAE businesses, findings show that the integration of AI is not just a competitive edge but a necessity in today’s digital landscape,” said Bill Farrell, Managing Partner – IBM Consulting, MEA. “Similarly, consumer expectations are evolving, underscoring the urgent need for retailers in MEA to embrace AI technologies.”

    Meanwhile, IBM’s study Revolutionize Retail with AI Everywhere: Customers Won’t Wait highlighted a widening gap between shopper demands and the current retail offering.

    Only 3% of MEA consumers are satisfied with the in-store experience, despite most consumers globally (73%) having a preference for physical stores.

    At ten points higher than the global figure, 75% of MEA consumers supplement their in-store experience by using mobile applications while shopping, demonstrating a trend towards a digitally integrated in-store experience.

    In terms of AI, nine out of ten MEA consumers who haven’t used AI for shopping are interested in its potential to enhance their shopping journey. Meanwhile, 75% of MEA respondents are eager for AI applications, and 67% for AI enhancements like virtual assistants.

    Consumer expectations are rapidly changing, underscoring the urgent need for retailers to innovate and integrate advanced technologies, such as AI, to elevate the shopping experience. The study also serves as a resource for retailers, outlining actionable strategies to help these businesses meet changing consumer demands.



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