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Investing in AI: Moving Along the Digital Maturity Curve

Today’s organizations seek to identify data that’s most relevant to meeting business goals and make these data types actionable. To do so, they are turning to advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning, and are using new data architectures to allow all that data to come together for the first time.

To discover what companies are doing to succeed in the digital economy, Cognizant and ESI ThoughtLab conducted a worldwide survey from April to May 2019 of 2,491 C-level executives and their direct reports across regions and industries and from a mix of enterprise functions. In addition to the survey, ESI ThoughtLab conducted interviews with senior executives in more than 20 companies across industries and world locations. The main research objective was to help organizations develop an evidenced-based roadmap to digital leadership, validated by performance metrics already achieved by companies and enriched through valuable executive insights.

A framework was devised to calculate digital maturity scores, based on three criteria:

  • Ranking on a digital transformation framework: Created by ESI ThoughtLab, this framework scored companies across 13 key areas of digital transformation (digital strategy, automation, data management, IoT, workforce transformation, innovation culture, software deployment, modernized core IT, artificial intelligence, aligning operations with customer demands, improved consumer/employee experience, human centricity, enhanced/augmented workers);
  • Ability to influence revenue through digital methods: Drawing on self-reported data, Cognizant and ESI ThoughtLab analyzed the level of revenue influenced directly or indirectly by digital channels;
  • Range of benefits generated through digital transformation: This included operational benefits, such as speed to market and improving cost efficiencies, and more strategic ones, such as greater shareholder value and market share.

Cognizant and ESI ThoughtLab calculated an index score of “digital maturity” for each respondent and assigned each to one of four maturity stages: beginner, implementer, advanced and leader. They found that even as AI is arguably the most difficult of digital technologies to master, it is also the most rewarding and most indicative of digital maturity.

In this report, Cognizant focuses on the use of AI, its critical role in enabling businesses to churn through data at the scale and precision required today and how organizations can prepare themselves for AI adoption to achieve digital maturity.

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