December 5, 2023

EMEA companies are driving interest in artificial intelligence and machine learning

Workday, a provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and HR, has released the results of its new study on the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) on the world of work. The report, “Preparing for Energy Boost: EMEA Leads the Way to an AI-Driven Future,” shows that business leaders are fundamentally convinced of the benefits of AI and machine learning, even if opinions in boardrooms differ on the details.

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November 1, 2023

New Business Day study on the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). (Image:

A reliable regulatory framework fosters optimism and willingness to invest

52% of executives in EMEA welcome the benefits of AI and machine learning in their business; This puts them ahead of their peers in the Americas (50%) and the Asia-Pacific region (46%). Austria (62%), the UK (60%) and Switzerland (58%) are leading the way in adopting AI and machine learning, while Norway (40%), Denmark (44%) and Germany (45%) are less enthusiastic. . 44% of companies in the EMEA region have already taken measures to become more agile and allocate resources more quickly and according to needs.

The Workday survey also shows that business leaders in the EMEA region have more confidence in AI and machine learning than leaders in other regions. Following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the European Union is currently planning to pass an AI law that will set the legal framework for the use of AI. By establishing AI governance, data quality, transparency and human control should be ensured in order to achieve broader acceptance of new technologies.

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“The EU law on AI is a milestone and a notable step forward towards the responsible use and development of AI,” comments Jens-Henrik Jepsen, Senior Director of Public Policy at Workday. “At Workday, we’ve been building AI and machine learning capabilities for nearly a decade. We know that these technologies need to earn people’s trust in order to realize their full potential. Smart, proportionate, risk-based regulation can help create that trust and address Risks potential harm, while enabling innovation. We hope that the new EU law on AI will achieve this when it comes into force and encourage the responsible use of these technologies by companies.

The combination of clear rules and widespread enthusiasm for AI and machine learning among EMEA leaders is significantly increasing appetite for investment. Northern European companies are ahead here, while companies in Southern Europe prefer a more conservative investment approach.

There are differences in evaluating and implementing AI/ML at management levels

Despite all the openness, different management functions have a different vision for and implementation of AI and ML.

CEOs are generally supportive of AI and machine learning: 53% of CEOs in EMEA want to introduce similar technologies into their companies. Their enthusiasm has been dampened by concerns about potentially wrong decisions that AI and machine learning systems can make.

Finance provides a good example: AI and machine learning are already widespread here. 19% of CFOs in EMEA say their teams are increasingly or widely using AI solutions. In North and South America, only 7% of CFOs were relatively positive. Finance leaders in EMEA are using AI and machine learning to forecast, make budget decisions and plan scenarios, as well as support strategic planning across different business areas.

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HR still has some catching up to do: 44% of HR managers in EMEA are open to the potential of AI and machine learning; However, 49% of them have not yet introduced the right technologies in their teams.

51 percent of IT managers are convinced that they can better support other teams or achieve greater strategic value using AI and machine learning solutions.

Data silos and bureaucracy are the biggest obstacles

In addition to the varying pace of implementation, AI and machine learning technologies are also slowing down due to other factors. Lack of data governance and excessive bureaucracy are the main reasons why business leaders are hesitant to adopt AI and machine learning. 60% of companies in EMEA complain about data silos that make it difficult for them to get relevant insights in real time. In the DACH area, only 22% of companies in Switzerland are making good progress in reducing bureaucratic barriers that slow down decision-making processes, compared to 39% in Germany and 40% in Austria.

A significant cultural change must occur in many companies in order to use AI and machine learning more widely. 37% of EMEA leaders believe their leadership does not yet understand the importance of AI and machine learning.

The time for hesitation is over

EMEA leaders have realized how beneficial AI and machine learning can be for their organizations, especially in HR and finance. Future-oriented AI and machine learning-based solutions provide you with the opportunity to improve your performance and achieve greater success overall.

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“If you want to get maximum business value from AI and machine learning, you must first compare your expectations with reality and prioritize initiatives aimed at solving specific problems,” advises Jens Löhmar, CTO Continental & DACH, Workday. “Ensure your organization can use relevant technologies effectively by identifying and filling skills gaps. Choose AI and machine learning options that align with your business strategies and needs and define a clear roadmap with clear goals and metrics. Continuously monitor the effectiveness of measures and adapt them as needs change Your company or work environment.


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