Lack of data trust hamstrings AI use: report

Dive Brief:

  • Workers in construction and other industries are worried about artificial intelligence, and it’s keeping their companies from moving forward more decisively with the surging technology. Those are two big takeaways from the second annual report on productivity from project management software maker Quickbase. 
  • Nearly all workers – a whopping 94% — range from slightly to extremely concerned about the impacts of AI on data security, compliance or privacy risks. At the same time, 42% named those factors as the largest barrier to the adoption of AI by their organization. This hurdle ranked higher than implementation costs or perceived return on investment, per the report.
  • The survey, which spoke to nearly 2,000 professionals in the U.S. and U.K. across complex, operationally driven industries including construction, manufacturing and healthcare, also found that 58% of respondents spent less than 20 hours per week on work that created meaningful results.

Dive Insight:

The results are similar to last year’s findings on “gray work,” or work that teams do to create ad-hoc solutions to solve problems and keep moving. For example, Quickbase revealed that around 45% of respondents spent more than 11 hours per work week chasing information across different people and systems.

Tech doesn’t seem to be making problems go away, either. Seventy-four percent of people who answered Quickbase’s questions found that compared to a year ago, the amount of manual work in their jobs has either increased or stayed the same since the prior year.

In addition, 94% of respondents reported feeling overwhelmed by the number of software products they need to use every day to get their work done, up from 87% in 2023, per the survey.

As artificial intelligence grows in popularity, data confidence will become even more important. While the report found that 92% of respondents were curious on some level about AI-powered tools that could boost productivity and efficiency, only 10% of respondents claimed to be “extremely confident” in the accuracy of their key project information.

That could spell trouble for the end users of AI-based programs, who will glean insights from those tools but still may not trust them.

Finding solutions

To cut through this digital clutter, Quickbase advocates for users to integrate tools, simplify processes and embrace automation and collaboration to mitigate gray work.

“Finding ways to connect workers on-site or on the shop floor with people in the back office and regional or corporate offices will ensure valuable project and process data isn’t lost,” the report claims.

On the data side, the company writes that strong data governance wouldn’t just be a logical safety choice, but will also create a competitive advantage. 

“When workers are empowered with the data they need, they’re able to drive more successful outcomes easier and faster. And the gap between the IT department and the day-to-day business goes away,” per the survey.

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