Industry Experts Join Forces to Analyze Corporate Use Cases and Returns on Artificial Intelligence

Evidence-based research from ESI ThoughtLab will offer executives the strategic insights and performance metrics needed to create data-enabled enterprises for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

March 10, 2020 (Philadelphia, PA) – ESI ThoughtLab, a leading economic research firm, today announced Driving ROI Through AI, an in-depth research program that will provide executives with an evidence-based roadmap for transforming their companies into high-performance enterprises powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

While some ROI analysis on AI exists, it is generally anecdotal and fails to present the variations by industry, company size, and location needed for proper benchmarking and decision making. To fill this information gap, ESI is working with global AI leaders, including Appen, Deloitte, DataRobot, Cognizant, Publicis Sapient, Cortex, Dataiku, as well as AI experts from academia and business, to conduct a rigorous research program into the AI investment plans, practices, and performance returns of  1,200 companies across 12 industries and 16 countries.

A rigorous mixed methods approach

The study will cover five main areas of AI: robotic process automation, machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, and natural language processing.  In addition to comprehensive quantitative research, including an AI benchmarking survey and performance impact modeling, ESI ThoughtLab will conduct peer group meetings and one-on-one personal interviews.

The main research objectives are to:

  • Examine the corporate areas of greatest AI investments and progress to date.
  • Measure the level of investment by type of AI and business function.
  • Identify use cases across the enterprise functions that generate the highest ROI.
  • Analyze the full ROI across a range of value drivers, from productivity and cost savings to revenue growth and customer engagement.
  • Validate leading practices by correlating them with actual business results.
  • Examine organizational, governance, and ethical issues around AI.

“Industry 4.0 companies will be fully data-driven and AI-enabled. Our aim is to provide executives with the definitive playbook and benchmarking platform to assess where they stand on AI and what they need to do to seize their cognitive future,” said Lou Celi, CEO of ESI ThoughtLab and the program’s director.

For further information, please contact:

Lou Celi, Program Director
ESI ThoughtLab
[email protected]  
    Mike Daly, Marketing Director
    ESI ThoughtLab
    [email protected]  


About the research coalition 

ESI ThoughtLab is the thought leadership arm of Econsult Solutions Inc., a leading economic consultancy. The innovative think tank offers fresh ideas and evidence-based analysis to help business and government leaders understand and respond to economic, industry, and technological shifts around the world. Its team of top economists and thought leaders excels at creating valuable decision support that combines visionary thinking, analytical excellence, and multi-format content.

Appen collects and labels images, text, speech, audio, and video used to build and continuously improve the world’s most innovative artificial intelligence systems. With expertise in more than 180 languages, a global crowd of over 1 million skilled contractors, and the industry’s most advanced AI-assisted data annotation platform, Appen solutions provide the quality, security, and speed required by leaders in technology, automotive, financial services, retail, manufacturing, and governments worldwide. Founded in 1996, Appen has customers and offices around the world.

Cognizant is one of the world’s leading professional services companies, transforming client’s business, operating, and technology models for the digital era. Our unique industry-based, consultative approach helps clients envision, build, and run more innovative and efficient businesses. Headquartered in the U.S., Cognizant is ranked 193 on the Fortune 500 and is consistently listed among the most admired companies in the world.

Cortex is the enterprise SaaS solution for Marketing Executives at leading brands to predict the performance of their visuals using AI and Machine Learning. By leveraging Cortex’s powerful consumer insights, brands such as Marriot, Kao, Mondelez, and more are creating award-winning visual creative, at scale, that drives reliable results.

Dataiku is the platform democratizing access to data and enabling enterprises to build their own path to AI. More than 300 customers and 30,000 users (from data scientists to architects to analysts) across retail, e-commerce, health care, finance, transportation, the public sector, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and more use Dataiku to massively scale AI efforts.

DataRobot is the leader in enterprise AI, delivering trusted AI technology and ROI enablement services to global enterprises competing in today’s Intelligence Revolution. The company’s proven combination of cutting-edge software and world-class AI implementation, training, and support services empowers any organization—regardless of size, industry, or resources—to drive better business outcomes with AI. With a singular focus on AI since its inception, DataRobot has a proven track record of delivering AI with ROI. DataRobot has offices across the globe and $431 million in funding from top-tier firms, including New Enterprise Associates, Sapphire Ventures, Meritech, and DFJ Growth.

Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax, and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including nearly 90% of the Fortune 500® and more than 5,000 private and middle market companies. Our people work across the industry sectors that drive and shape today’s marketplace—delivering measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to see challenges as opportunities to transform and thrive, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthy society. Deloitte is proud to be part of the largest global professional services network serving our clients in the markets that are most important to them. Now celebrating 175 years of service, our network of member firms spans more than 150 countries and territories. Learn how Deloitte’s more than 312,000 people worldwide make an impact that matters at

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see for a detailed description of our legal structure. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

Publicis Sapient is a digital transformation partner helping established organizations get digitally enabled, both in the way they work and the way they serve their customers. We help unlock value through a start-up mindset and modern methods, fusing strategy, consulting, and customer experience with agile engineering and problem-solving creativity. As digital pioneers with 20,000 people and 53 offices around the globe, our experience spanning technology, data sciences, consulting, and customer obsession – combined with our culture of curiosity and relentlessness – enables us to accelerate our clients’ businesses through designing the products and services their customers truly value. Publicis Sapient is the digital business transformation hub of Publicis Groupe.


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