A recent Accenture report looked at how companies are progressing on the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), including what sets leaders apart from those that are just talking about it. Investment in new applications of AI is increasing across all industries. In fact, the report notes that more than 80 percent of companies are undertaking moderate to extensive investment in AI in a number of different areas, including machine learning, natural language processing, video analytics, and robotic process automation.

The firm defines AI as a “constellation of technologies that extend human capabilities by sensing, comprehending, acting and learning—allowing people to do much more.” According to the Accenture report, the winning combination for achieving AI success requires striking the right balance between invention and collaboration. To help companies gauge where they are in AI adoption and how they can improve, Accenture looked at how leaders perform across these two areas, creating what it calls the Artificial Intelligent Quotient, or AIQ, as a metric for success. 

Not surprisingly, the firm found more than half of the 200 companies surveyed said they are “still on the sidelines” with inadequate investment in AI capabilities and no collaboration with others. On the other end of the spectrum, 17 percent of companies said they possess “good in-house AI innovation and strong tactical collaboration with others” to support their AI initiatives. For those companies that both innovate in-house and externally collaborate with others, what the firm calls Collaborative Inventors, Accenture found that their total enterprise value grew at double the rate compared to those that did not.    

From a leadership standpoint, success starts at the top with the CEO. “They alone can lead the organizational, cultural and business model changes that AI demands,” according to the Accenture report. The key is putting AI at the core of your organization’s strategy, but this requires the right level of investment in technology, data, and people. As stated earlier, focusing on both internal innovation and external collaboration are the key levers for unlocking the potential of new technology. Additionally, building AI into the business needs to be championed by all members of the Executive team, and by leadership across the company.

AI success also depends on data. Accessing it, converging old and new sources, sharing it, and monetizing it are all strategies that can transform your business. Companies need a solid data strategy in place to effectively execute on AI across the business. 

Finally, helping your people evolve and advance is a necessity in this new world. Nurturing new employee skills, managing more diverse skills, reskilling, and upskilling are all ways to help your people—and your business—keep up and evolve as AI helps augment intelligence.

To learn more, including which industries are exhibiting the highest AIQs, check out the complete Accenture report.