Report: 13% of Institutions Ready for AI

Despite having artificial intelligence (AI) strategies, numerous institutions lack the vital infrastructure, training, and data policies necessary for implementation.

A new survey – conducted by the Center for Digital Education and commissioned by SHI International and Dell Technologies – highlights both the transformative promise of AI and substantial readiness gaps across research institutions in North America.

The survey polled leaders and IT professionals from U.S. higher education institutions. It revealed that approximately half of research universities have AI deployment strategies, but only 13.2 percent feel adequately prepared to leverage AI effectively. Additionally, over 20 percent of respondents said they are not ready to engage with these technologies.

In the report, SHI Public Sector Field Solutions Engineer Steve Troxel emphasized the pivotal role of research universities in innovation and their history of groundbreaking inventions, stating that “getting AI implementation right for these schools is critical.”

“Having the right policies and guardrails in place makes for the easiest integrations and allows these institutions to take full advantage of the AI systems they’re using,” he said.

According to the survey, over 80 percent of respondents indicated incomplete policy implementation, while 70 percent were either currently using AI or plan to within the next year.

The lack of readiness by higher educational institutions should be especially alarming to chief information officers and chief information security officers, according to Troxel, because they “need to create a method for capturing AI interests across the institution, so they can build a strategy to suit them.”

“The best thing institutions can do is hop on board the speeding AI train and figure out how to use it to best reach their destination or goal,” said Adam Robyak, field chief technology officer and principal engineer at Dell Technologies.

Respondents also offered insights into the top AI use cases leading the way in academia – chatbots (36.8 percent) and research tools (35.3 percent). The top five use cases also include automating administrative tasks, predictive analytics, and enhancing student services, all at 29.4 percent.