Despite all the hype and excitement surrounding AI, new research has found that just 13% of businesses are currently using it.

Yet, although current take up is low, greater investment is on the horizon for the majority. The research of 150 senior business decision makers by cloud accounting software, bluQube, found that 35% are planning to invest in AI over the next year and 17% said they’ll be investing over the next three years.

A future with fewer human employees

A quarter (25%) believe they will eventually be able to reduce staff numbers and staffing costs due to AI, and 6% said AI has already allowed them to do this.

However, the findings also point to a clear reluctance to embrace AI among some leaders, with 15% saying they’re unlikely to invest over the next three years, and 12% with no plans to invest at all in future. When these respondents were asked why they’re not planning to use AI, expense (35%) came out top of the list. A third (33%) agreed they didn’t have enough time to implement and train AI, while 23% had concerns around security breaches.

Operations leading the way in AI uptake

Operations is the most common area currently being impacted, cited by over half of respondents already using AI (52%), followed by production (48%) and customer service (38%). Sales and marketing (33%) and finance and accounting (29%) came out bottom of the list.

However, when respondents were asked which areas of their business they felt would be most impacted by AI moving forwards, it was sales and marketing (34%) and finance and accounting (32%) that came out on top.

Commenting on the findings, Simon Kearsley, CEO at bluQube, said: “AI seems to have erupted recently and is dominating conversations across many different facets of business. While current take up is low, it’s clear that many organisations have plans to implement AI in various ways in the near future. The research raised some interesting findings about the role these business leaders see AI taking in their businesses, with some even viewing it as a means to replace elements of their human workforce.

“While much of the current sentiment around AI is positive, some business leaders feel unable, or are unwilling, to embrace it. And, although hesitations are understandable, inaction could see them being left behind. It’s the businesses that remain open to possibilities and ready to adapt that will be the better equipped to remain competitive, profitable and reach new heights.”

To access more findings from bluQube’s ‘Age of AI’ report, visit