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AI investment increased during the pandemic, and many business plan to do more, Gartner found

A quarter of IT professionals increased AI investment levels due to COVID-19, 42% kept it at the same level, but 75% plan to continue or begin new AI projects in the next 6-9 months.

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As far as enterprise artificial intelligence projects are concerned, the COVID-19 pandemic was just a minor bump in the road, Gartner found: 24% of business and IT professionals surveyed said they increased AI investment during the pandemic, and 42% kept investment at the same level.

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Driving current AI investment has been customer experience and retention, revenue growth, and cost optimization, Gartner found. Those areas of focus are likely to continue as new projects are initiated in the post-pandemic business world, which Gartner said will be rich with AI investment.

Seventy-five percent of respondents said that they plan to continue current AI initiatives or invest in new ones over the next six to nine months, and 79% said their organizations were currently exploring or piloting AI projects. Only 21% said that their AI projects were in production, leaving a lot of room for explosive AI growth as the business world recovers from COVID-19.

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“Enterprise investment in AI has continued unabated despite the crisis,” said Gartner’s distinguished research vice president, Frances Karamouzis.

Gartner also found that AI talent, often cited as a major reason for organizations not launching AI or machine learning projects, may not be as much of a concern as people think.

“The biggest misconception in the journey to successfully scaling AI is the search for ‘unicorns,’ or the perfect combination of AI, business and IT skills all present in a single resource. Since this is impossible to fulfill, focus instead on bringing together a balanced combination of such skills to