Munich, May 8, 2018 – A new study by PAC, a CXP Group company, finds that 71% of European companies plan to integrate AI technology into their existing applications or have already done so, as they look to increase automation and reduce the level of human error.

In a push towards greater automation, European companies are looking at artificial intelligence (AI) technology for process improvements and for increases in efficiency. Many companies are convinced that the integration of AI in business applications will eventually lead to a greater level of workflow automation, thereby reducing the level of human interaction.

Market research and strategic consulting company PAC has conducted an in-depth study to find out how European companies see and approach AI initiatives within a business application context, from strategic, implementation and operational perspectives.

The report, “What AI can do for business applications”, is based on interviews with senior business and IT decision makers of 240 companies operating in Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France, UK, Italy, Spain and the Nordics (Finland, Sweden, Denmark).

High expectations of AI

73% of those interviewed believe that AI technology will lead to faster completion of business processes, and more and better recommendations for actions are expected by 72%. This reflects a strong appetite for technology that can increase efficiency and make a tangible business impact. As a result, almost half of the companies surveyed already have some kind of AI technology in place today.

Neither the lack of business cases nor the fear of job losses are the largest obstacle to using AI in the context of business applications. For 82%, the biggest problem are legal and compliance aspects.

From an implementation perspective, 92% name cloud application vendors as their preferred suppliers of AI technology with respect to business applications. Only 28% think the same of on-premises software vendors. Even though a business application provider must be able to implement AI, companies also expect them to provide applicable use cases.

Sharp North-South divide

From a regional perspective, two significant findings stand out. As such, it is possible to observe an overall cautiousness towards AI from companies in Spain and Italy, with only 17% believing AI to be strategically important for their future business. In comparison, companies from Nordic countries have particularly been pushing AI forward in their business agendas. While so far only 17% have already an AI strategy in place, 70% will or have started to develop AI-specific internal skills.


value contribution AI business applications

Fig. 1: Value contribution of AI in a business application context

Finally, AI is not just seen as the next hype, but as strategically important. Indeed, 78% of respondents believe AI is already strategic or will provide the basis to help improve existing business processes. This could be in the reduction of errors, in higher quality or a greater level of automation. For many companies, AI holds the potential for better business outcomes.

Frank Niemann, Vice President Enterprise Apps & related Services at PAC and author of the study, said: “European businesses expect a lot of innovation potential for their business applications regarding process management, the automation of workflows and user experience.
AI offers opportunities for improving existing business processes and decision support in various areas, such as finance, supply chain, manufacturing as well as sales and marketing.”

Sabrina Donatelli, Analyst at PAC and co-author of the study, said: “AI is more than just a hype – we will see an increase in the adoption of AI in the next few years across departments and industries. Particularly companies in Northern Europe have been quick in adopting a relevant AI strategy.”

“Business applications vendors will have no other choice but to include AI-enabled features in their software offerings”, said Olivier Rafal, Vice President Digital Business Innovations at PAC and co-author of the study. “Business applications were meant to automate processes and help people take faster, better informed decisions. They have only partly succeeded. AI has the potential to keep this promise.”

About the study

For the PAC study, “What AI can do for business applications”, senior business and IT decision makers from 240 companies with more than 1,000 employees were surveyed on their perception of AI in business applications. Respondents came from various countries in Europe and included companies from the manufacturing industry and the services, trade and transport industries. The study was prepared in the multi-client model and supported by premium sponsors Accenture, Fujitsu, Salesforce and T-Systems and gold sponsor NTT DATA.

The executive summary and infographics relating to the study are now available for download at
Please contact the sponsors if you wish to receive a full version of the study.

About PAC – a CXP Group Company

Founded in 1976, Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC) is part of CXP Group, the leading independent European research and consulting firm for the software, IT services and digital transformation industry. CXP Group offers its customers comprehensive support services for the evaluation, selection and optimization of their software solutions and for the evaluation and selection of IT services providers, and accompanies them in optimizing their sourcing and investment strategies. As such, CXP Group supports ICT decision-makers in their digital transformation journey. Further, CXP Group assists software and IT services providers in optimizing their strategies and go-to-market approaches with quantitative and qualitative analyses as well as consulting services. Public organizations and institutions equally base the development of their IT policies on our reports. Capitalizing on 40 years of experience, based in 8 countries (with 17 offices worldwide) and with 155 employees, CXP Group provides its expertise every year to more than 1,500 ICT decision-makers and the operational divisions of large enterprises as well as mid-market companies and their providers. CXP Group consists of three branches: Le CXP, BARC (Business Application Research Center) and Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC). For more information please visit or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn or our Blog.

Frank Niemann
Vice President – Enterprise Applications & Related Services
PAC Germany
Phone: +49 89 23 23 68 15 

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