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Malaysia’s AI preparedness level only at 13% — Cisco

Malaysia’s AI preparedness level only at 13% — Cisco

16 Nov 2023

Only 13% of organisations in Malaysia are fully prepared to deploy and leverage artificial intelligence (AI)-powered technologies, according to Cisco’s inaugural AI Readiness Index released on Thursday. However, 33% of companies were categorised as chasers (those who are partially prepared), 53% of companies as followers, and only 1% of companies as laggards (not prepared).

The new research finds that while AI adoption has been slowly progressing for decades, the advancements in generative AI, coupled with public availability of this technology in the past year, are driving greater attention to the challenges, changes and new possibilities posed by the technology.

While 87% of respondents believe AI will have a significant impact on their business operations, it also raises new issues around data privacy and security. The Index findings show that companies experience the most challenges when it comes to leveraging AI alongside their data. In fact, 81% of respondents admit that this is due to data existing in silos across their organisations.

Nevertheless, companies in Malaysia are taking many proactive measures to prepare for an AI-centric future. When it comes to building AI strategies, 94% of organisations already have a robust AI strategy in place or are in the process of developing one.

This could be driven by the fact that almost all (99%) respondents said the urgency to deploy AI technologies in their organisation has increased in the past six months, with IT infrastructure and cybersecurity reported as the top priority areas for AI deployments.

“As companies rush to deploy AI solutions, they must assess where investments are needed to ensure their infrastructure can best support the demands of AI workloads,” said Liz Centoni, executive vice president and general manager of applications and chief strategy officer at Cisco.

“Organisations also need to be able to observe with context on how AI is being used to ensure return of investment, security, and especially responsibility.”

The index, which surveyed over 8,000 global companies, was developed in response to the accelerating adoption of AI, a generational shift that is impacting almost every area of business and daily life. The report highlights companies’ preparedness to utilise and deploy AI, showcasing critical gaps across key business pillars and infrastructures that pose serious risks for the near future.

Other key findings:

  • 59% of respondents in Malaysia believe they have a maximum of one year to implement an AI.
  • strategy before their organisation begins to incur significant negative business impact.
  • 95% of businesses globally are aware that AI will increase infrastructure workloads, but in Malaysia, only 27% of organisations consider their infrastructure highly scalable.
  • Majority of respondents (61%) indicate that they have limited or no scalability at all when it comes to meeting new AI challenges within their current IT infrastructures.
  • To accommodate AI’s increased power and computing demands, almost four-fifths (79%) of companies will require further data centre graphics processing units (GPUs) to support future AI workloads.
  • While data serves as the backbone needed for AI operations, it is also the area where readiness is the weakest, with the greatest number of laggards (10%) compared to other pillars. 81% of all respondents claim some degree of siloed or fragmented data in their organisation. This poses a critical challenge, as the complexity of integrating data that resides in various sources and making it available for AI applications, can impact the ability to leverage the full potential of these applications.
  • Boards and leadership teams are the most likely to embrace the changes brought about by AI, with 84% and 85% respectively showing high or moderate receptiveness. However, there is more work to be done to engage middle management, where 20% have either limited or no receptiveness to AI, and among employees where close to a fifth (27%) of organisations report employees are limited in their willingness to adopt AI or are outright resistant.
  • The need for AI skills reveals a new-age digital divide. While 95% of respondents said they have invested in upskilling existing employees, 31% alluded to an emerging AI divide, expressing doubt about the availability of enough talent to upskill.
  • 67% of organisations report not having comprehensive AI policies in place, an area that must be addressed as companies consider and govern all the factors that present a risk in eroding confidence and trust. These factors include data privacy and data sovereignty, and the understanding of and compliance with global regulations. Additionally, close attention must be paid to the concepts of bias, fairness, and transparency in both data and algorithms.
  • 21% of companies have not established change management plans yet, and of those that have, 76% are still in-progress.

Source: The Edge Malaysia