Bespoke AI solutions fuels Middle East AI and ML Skills Gap: Rackspace Research


The research titled, AI/ML Annual Research Report 2022,” from Rackspace Technology has revealed how demand for bespoke Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) solutions is fuelling a skills gap. The majority of Middle East IT leaders report that their organizations intend to build AI/ML solutions from the ground up, with just 9% opting for off-the-shelf solutions.

The research indicates that demand has been fuelled by the trend towards AI/ML maturity – 83% of Middle Eastern IT leaders are actively seeking to hire people with AI and ML expertise.

Simon Bennett, CTO, EMEA at Rackspace Technology, commented, “many organizations are moving into the next stage of maturity for their AI and ML implementations to drive real return on investment, and we are seeing this reflected in the more prominent role AI plays in business and IT strategies. But this shift means that the use of AI is no longer a competitive advantage. The lack of investment in AI has become a significant competitive disadvantage.

The following are the key observations in the research:

  • More than one-quarter of organizations (13%) report a lack of skills as having created challenges for exploiting the results of AI and ML programs. IT leaders need further upskilling for team members in AI and ML programming and software design (44%), ML (40%), data quality analysis (46%), and data governance and security expertise (44%).
  • The majority (68%) of IT leaders report that AI and ML are now part of their current business strategy, with the majority of companies (71%) reporting having realized substantial benefits from AI and ML to their operations. Those that have implemented it report a positive impact on revenue (77%), the ability to reduce expenses (68%), brand reputation (73%), and brand awareness (74%).
  • Organizations are now moving into a stage where they are optimizing and scaling their AI and ML models with (35%) or moving from proof of concepts and pilots to formalize the solution in production (27%). To further realize the technology’s potential, IT leaders are investing a greater proportion of their IT budgets in AI and ML programs. 90% of Middle East organizations are dedicating more than 6% of their annual IT budget to these initiatives in 2022 – a 32 percentage point increase on those that committed that proportion of their budget in 2021.

Rackspace Technology is a leading end-to-end multi-cloud technology services company. It designs, builds, and operates customers’ cloud environments across all major technology platforms, irrespective of technology stack or deployment model.

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