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Gartner Survey Finds 70 Percent of AI Projects in Digital Commerce Are Successful



Analysts to Present Latest Research at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2018, October 29-November 1 on the Gold Coast, Australia

SYDNEY, Australia, October 11, 2018 — Use of artificial intelligence (AI) in digital commerce is generally considered a success, according to a survey by Gartner, Inc. About 70 percent of digital commerce organisations surveyed report that their AI projects are very or extremely successful.
 
Gartner conducted a survey* of 307 digital commerce organisations that are currently using or piloting AI to understand the adoption, value, success and challenges of AI in digital commerce. Respondents included organisations in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, India and China.
 
Three-quarters of respondents said they are seeing double-digit improvements in the outcomes they measure. The most common metrics used to measure the business impact of AI are customer satisfaction, revenue and cost reduction. For customer satisfaction, revenue and cost reduction specifically, respondents cited improvements of 19, 15 and 15 percent, respectively.
 
Gartner predicts that by 2020, AI will be used by at least 60 percent of digital commerce organisations and that 30 percent of digital commerce revenue growth will be attributable to AI technologies.
 
“Digital commerce is fertile ground for AI technologies, thanks to an abundance of multidimensional data in both customer-facing and back-office operations,” said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner.
 
The survey found a wide range of applications for AI in digital commerce. The top three uses are:
  1. Customer segmentation;
  2. Product categorisation; and
  3. Fraud detection.
 Top challenges
Despite early success, digital commerce organisations face significant challenges implementing AI. The survey shows that a lack of quality training data (29 percent) and in-house skills (27 percent) are the top challenges in deploying AI in digital commerce. AI skills are scarce and many organisations don’t have such skills in-house and will have to hire from outside or seek help from external partners.
 
On average, 43 percent of respondents chose to custom-build the solutions developed in-house or by a service provider. In comparison, 63 percent of the more successful organisations are leveraging a commercial AI solution.
 
“Solutions of proven performance can give you higher assurance as those have been tested in multiple deployments, and there is a dedicated team maintaining and improving the model,” said Ms. Shen.
 
“Organisations looking to implement AI in digital commerce need to start simple,” said Ms. Shen. “Many have high expectations for AI and set multiple business objectives for a single project, making it too complex to deliver high performance. Many also run AI projects for more than 12 months, meaning they are unable to quickly apply lessons learned from one project to another.”

On average, respondents spent US$1.3 million in development for an AI project in digital commerce. However, of the more successful organisations, 52 percent spent less than $1 million on development, 20 percent spent between $1 to 2 million, and 9 percent spent more than $5 million.

To increase the likelihood of success, Gartner advises digital commerce leaders to:
  • Assess talent. If there is insufficient AI talent in-house to develop and maintain a high-performance solution, go with a commercial solution of proven performance.
  • Aim for under 12 months for a single AI project. Divide larger projects into phases and aim for under 12 months for the first phase, from planning, development and integration to complete launch.
  • Ensure enough funding. Allocate the majority of the budget to talent acquisition, data management and processing, as well as integration with existing infrastructure and processes. Enough funding also helps secure high-performance solutions.
  • Use the minimum viable product (MVP) approach. Break down complex business problems and develop targeted solutions to drive home business outcomes. Use AI to optimize existing technologies and processes rather than to try to develop breakthrough solutions.
 Gartner clients can read more in the report “How to Increase Chance of Success for Digital Commerce AI Projects.”
 
*Note to editors:
Gartner conducted a survey of 307 digital commerce organisations from June to July 2018 to understand adoption and investment plans of AI in digital commerce, as well as the value, success and challenges of AI in digital commerce. Qualifying organisations are currently using or piloting AI in digital commerce. The sample includes organisations in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, India and China. Respondents were screened for involvement in strategic decisions for digital commerce within their organisation. Quotas were applied for countries, industries and revenue from digital channels for 2017.
 
About Gartner Symposium/ITxpo
Additional analysis on AI trends will be presented during Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2018, the world’s most important gathering of CIOs and other senior IT executives. IT executives rely on these events to gain insight into how their organisations can use IT to overcome business challenges and improve operational efficiency. Follow news and updates from the events using #GartnerSYM.
 
Upcoming dates and locations for Gartner Symposium/ITxpo include:
October 14-18, 2018; Orlando, Florida
October 22-25, 2018; Sao Paulo, Brazil
October 29-November 1, 2018; Gold Coast, Australia
November 12-14, 2018; Tokyo Japan
November 4-8, 2018; Barcelona, Spain
November 13-16, 2018; Goa, India
March 4-6, 2019, Dubai
June 3-6, 2019; Toronto, Canada
 
About Gartner
Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT), is the world’s leading research and advisory company and a member of the S&P 500. We equip business leaders with indispensable insights, advice and tools to achieve their mission-critical priorities today and build the successful organisations of tomorrow.
 
Our unmatched combination of expert-led, practitioner-sourced and data-driven research steers clients toward the right decisions on the issues that matter most. We are a trusted advisor and objective resource for more than 15,000 organisations in more than 100 countries — across all major functions, in every industry and enterprise size.
 
To learn more about how we help decision makers fuel the future of business, visit gartner.com.