There’s no doubt that artificial intelligence (AI) and its underlying technology building blocks are top of mind for enterprises today. But who’s driving this change and its adoption within their organizations?

On the surface, it may appear that AI is yet another technology that firms will expect their technology organization to champion, evaluate, and bolt onto existing systems — as opposed to letting their business leaders drive the charge. Yet the Forrester Data Global Business Technographics® Data And Analytics Survey, 2017 reveals a nuanced view of AI adoption. We found that business technology decision makers (TDMs), i.e., those technologists aligned with a business unit, are the ones driving AI adoption within their firms, more so than traditional technology decision makers who are aligned with the tech organization.

What’s contributing to this? For one, the organizational structure keeps business TDMs aligned with a functional unit, a line of business, or firms’ strategic priorities as well as challenges and, therefore, ideally situated to understand the impact of emerging technologies to solve business problems. These technologists within business units are also beginning to realize that AI isn’t just big data or advanced analytics on steroids, nor is it best applied to gain operational efficiencies or achieve incremental gains. Rather, AI can be wholly disruptive, and each firm must use it to completely reinvent its business model.

In collaboration with my data insights colleague, Phil Hannafin, we reveal some interesting insights through this infographic into how business technology decision makers are driving AI adoption, where they report to, their aspirations for the transformative nature of AI, and the challenges they expect to face.