Just over half (51%) of UK businesses understand the benefits of AI, with only 20% having a strong understanding of how to harness AI technology, according to a survey commissioned by data infrastructure company NetApp.

The poll found that businesses with 250+ employees are better equipped for AI adoption compared with smaller organisations

Two-thirds of UK businesses plan to increase AI investment in 2024, viewing it as crucial for future success.

Only 33% of IT leaders surveyed believe their organisation is well-prepared for AI adoption.

AI confidence is fragmented, with 67% of leaders seeing AI as strategically important, but concerns about effective investment and implementation are growing.

The primary motivation for AI adoption is to keep up with competitors, according to 30% of UK businesses surveyed.

Some 42% of SME leaders are unsure if their AI adoption will result in a return on investment.

AI readiness varies across the UK, with 31% of business leaders stating that their company is well-prepared.

Concerns include an inadequate understanding of AI at the management level, the need for urgent investment in existing data infrastructure, and a lack of relevant skills.

The research emphasises the need for a strategic approach to AI adoption, cautioning against hasty decisions that could have long-term consequences.

NetApp suggests prioritising improvements to build an intelligent data infrastructure, as AI is only as good as the data that fuels it.

YouGov‘s research commissioned by NetApp shows that 26% of organisations with a turnover of £10m or more have adopted “off-the-shelf” AI tools.

IT decision-makers are torn on the best uses of AI, with opinions spread across various applications such as computer vision, natural language processing, large language models, digital twins, and virtual reality simulations.