How AI and ML are used at companies

Follow-up study 2019: the new IDG study “Machine Learning / Deep Learning 2019”

Whether logistics, transport, the industrial and automotive sector, tourism or publishing, almost every industry can boost its efficiency through machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) and use these technologies across a range of applications. In this follow-up to the "IDG-Studie - Machine Learning / Deep Learning 2018" companies from a range of industries in Germany were asked to give their assessment of ML and AI.

ML and AI arrived in Germany in 2019

For years, German companies took their time before investing in pioneering technologies. However, the current study suggests that ML and AI is already being used in a wide range of industries, and that 57 percent of companies in Germany are already using such technologies. Only 12 percent do not want to utilize them.

ML in particular is no longer viewed only as a solution for IT departments, but also for customer service, for instance. There are still challenges, though. Data quality is still a problem for many companies. There is also a shortage of qualified professionals such as data scientists.

ML and AI are often used in assistance systems and speech recognition, with other areas of application usually falling by the wayside. In this regard, international competitors have gone much further.

Download: IDG study 2019 “Machine Learning / Deep Learning”
Download the “Machine Learning / Deep Learning 2019” study as a free PDF (only available in German)

The study contains

  • the most important key findings and comprehensive data and assessments on AI and ML by IT professionals and decision makers from more than 300 companies,
  • information on the most commonly used fields of application for AI methods,
  • an overview of the AI methods used most often at companies,
  • an overview of the challenges faced by the companies surveyed and detailed analyses on specific fields of application,
  • risks posed by the use of AI and ML, and
  • explanations related to the most vital topics of the next few years that are relevant to companies in IT.
Download: IDG study 2019 “Machine Learning / Deep Learning”

Discover how high-ranking decision makers view the current status of ML and AI in their companies (only available in German).

The study was carried out by IDG Research Services in February 2019, following on from the data collected for "IDG-Studie - Machine Learning / Deep Learning 2018" in 2018. The survey encompassed 343 companies from a range of sectors, of different sizes and with varying levels of annual turnover. Lufthansa Industry Solutions collaborated as a partner to the study and took part in expert panels.

All key findings and additional study results can be found in their entirety in the study itself, which you can download for free. Below are some of the study’s most important insights.

What are the primary issues that your company will have to engage with over the coming year where IT is concerned? (Answers as percentages. Multiple answers permitted. Top 10 answers listed. Survey basis: n = 343)

AI and ML’s importance in business is on the rise

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are now more important for companies than they were in the previous year. Around 30 percent of the companies surveyed would like to look into ML and AI this year. In the previous year, this figure was around 25 percent, meaning the issue has risen from fourth place to third in the priority ranking. This trend shows how important ML and AI are in helping companies remain competitive going forward.

IT is not the only area benefiting from ML

According to the study, IT departments are still the area benefiting most from ML, at around 36 percent of respondents. But customer service (29.4 percent), production / manufacturing (26.8 percent) and management (26.8 percent) have also discovered machine learning.

Biggest obstacle: poor quality of input data

Around 34 percent of those surveyed admit that the poor quality of input data is the biggest obstacle when working with ML. The second-biggest obstacle is the unintelligibility of the machine learning algorithms.

What AI / ML methods are you using or planning to use in the near future? (Answers as percentages. Multiple answers permitted. Top 15 answers listed. Survey basis: n = 239)

Top 3 areas of application for AI

AI is being used more and more often. However, the fields of application have hardly changed over the course of the year. Speech recognition (48.5 percent) and assistance systems (44.4 percent) are the most frequently used applications. However, machine translation has gained in significance at 43.1 percent.

Threat scenarios preventing the expansion of AI in companies

Companies are aware of the enormous significance of AI. However, there are threat scenarios that are preventing many companies from expanding these technologies. Respondents said that hacker attacks and industrial espionage (25.1 percent) represented the biggest threat. Another important consideration is the impenetrability of decisions made by AI (23 percent). Compliance risks related to data protection and GDPR are also proving to be obstacles for around 22 percent of respondents.

To view all results in detail and find out more about the possible applications of AI and ML, download the free PDF of the “Machine Learning / Deep Learning 2019” study here (only available in German).