Significant increase in optimism around AI in Indian organisations, sees highest increase in the use of AI during the pandemic- PwC India Survey

09 December, 2020

Over 90 percent of enterprises surveyed are implementing or planning to invest in AI solutions to address current business concerns

  • The survey suggests that around 70% of enterprises have implemented AI in some form in one or more functional areas compared to around 62% last year
  • Travel and hospitality (89%) has taken the lead in AI adoption, followed by TMT (86%), financial services (82%), and healthcare and pharma (73%)

Mumbai, xx December, 2020: The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of advanced analytics and AI around the world. According to a report launched by PwC India titled, ‘AI: An opportunity amidst a crisis’, India noted the highest increase in the use of AI as compared to major economies (the US, UK and Japan), with over 70% Indian enterprises having implemented AI in some form in one or more functional areas compared to around 62% last year. The report also highlights that there is increased importance of AI in driving revenues, optimising costs or managing risks.

PwC India’s survey findings also show that optimism with regard to AI has gone up significantly from 72% to 92%, and 45% of Indian organisations have increased the use of AI post Covid-19. Further, 94% of the respondents claim they have either implemented or are planning to implement AI in their organisations.

Commenting on the study, Sudipta Ghosh, Partner and Leader- Data and Analytics, PwC India said, “The far-reaching consequences of the global pandemic have driven organisations to balance the competing priorities of safeguarding health and ensuring business continuity. AI is now regarded as a key enabler for organisations to repair (emerge from the present crisis), rethink (plan for transformation) and reconfigure (make fundamental changes to the operating model for lasting competitive advantage).

To get the best out of AI, businesses need to start viewing it as a necessity rather than luxury and weave it into the fabric of the enterprise. In developing countries like ours, improving demand may be a potentially more relevant benefit than savings through automation. Hence, given the availability of a large pool of skilled resources, AI efforts need to be directed towards complementing human capabilities and helping businesses prepare for the future,” he added.

The survey also reveals a shift in the nature of inhibitors from technical to business as organisations who were primarily focusing on pilots and proofs of concept (PoCs) are now attempting to scale up these solutions at the enterprise level. The change in the nature of inhibitors clearly signals an improvement in the maturity and willingness of organisations in terms of adopting AI as a tool for achieving business outcomes.

However, organisations adopting AI applications often face multiple challenges and fail to realise the optimum value from their AI investments. For instance, 37% of organisations find it challenging to identify the right use cases for AI implementation and 28% of enterprises lack high-quality data for use in AI solutions. Through the report, PwC India recommends a structured approach towards implementing AI to help overcome these challenges.

Note to Editors:

Objectives and methodology

To gain a sense of the AI adoption landscape in India, PwC conducted comprehensive interviews between August and September 2020, eliciting more than 200 responses from CXOs and decision makers across the Indian market. Around the same time (September–October 2020), PwC conducted a larger online global survey that attracted 670 responses from businesses across the world.

The primary objective of the India-based study was to understand the awareness, adoption and impact of AI in the post COVID-19 landscape. It also sought to capture the near- and long-term benefits of AI adoption. On the other hand, the global survey aimed to understand the importance of ethics in AI, including the development, deployment and ongoing management of AI solutions and the extent to which COVID-19 impacted AI adoption.

The survey covered respondents from:

  • industries such as financial services, healthcare and pharma, industrial products, retail and consumer, telecom, media and technology, and travel and hospitality; and
  • business functions such as customer service, finance and tax, human resources, IT and cyber security, manufacturing and operations, research and development, risk, legal and compliance, sales and marketing, supply chain and logistics.

AI adoption trends:

AI adoption trends

Source: PwC Analysis

The increased adoption of AI can be attributed to the following factors:

  1. Post COVID-19, AI-enabled use cases like contactless selling and delivery have gained traction due to changes in buying behaviour.
  2. As organisations are reopening their manufacturing and office locations, AI-enabled tools are helping them enforce best practices from a health and safety perspective.
  3. The remote workforce is relying more on AI-enabled digital assistants to do their work without loss of productivity.
  4. As past knowledge and experience may fail to provide the right insights in these times of disruption, organisations are increasingly making decisions based on current data using AI-enabled predictive and prescriptive tools.
  5. To reduce cost of doing business, combat disruption and become future ready, organisations are adopting AI-based digital twins and synthetic data. This is also enabling them to build resilient ecosystems (e.g. supply chain and operations).
Industry sentiment towards AI

Source: PwC Analysis

Top inhibitors in 2020 (post COVID-19)

Source: PwC Analysis

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Ruchi Mann

Ruchi Mann

Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, PwC India

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