BCG Henderson Institute

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Long the many companies investing in artificial intelligence, there is one surprisingly exclusive group: companies that actually generate value from AI. And right now, at least, the odds against gaining admission are sobering. According to a survey of more than 2,500 executives — conducted for a new report by MIT Sloan Management Review, BCG Gamma, and BCG Henderson Institute — seven out of ten companies report minimal or no gains so far from their AI initiatives. Why do some efforts succeed but many more fail?

It’s a crucial question, as the importance and urgency around AI are greater than ever. Nine out of ten survey respondents agreed that AI represents a business opportunity for their company. And nearly half — 45% — perceive some risk from AI. So while companies see a lot of potential in AI, they also fear that their competitors may realize it first.

The report looked for patterns in the survey data — supplementing the analysis with in-depth interviews with executives leading AI initiatives. The idea: to uncover the common strategies and approaches employed by those companies that do generate value.

Ultimately, a set of critical strategic, organizational, and leadership behaviors emerged: steps other companies can take to boost their chances of joining that select club — and win with AI.

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