Top tech: Business leaders rank AI and Web3 as essential in next two years

Nearly 9 in 10 business leaders view the metaverse and Web 3.0 as essential to success, but AI trumps both with 91% seeing it as crucial over the next two years.

85% of eCommerce, marketing and IT business leaders say that cutting-edge technology like the metaverse (85%) and Web 3.0 (87%) will be essential to their businesses in the next two years, helping to unlock new revenue streams and future-proof their companies.

Yet, AI topped the list with over 9-in-10 (91%) leaders viewing it as crucial to their firms’ success. 

It also ranked as the technology companies were most comfortable working with, and 94% go as far to say that their companies were already well equipped to harness the technology; over half (51%) of those surveyed had already implemented some form of AI, with a third (33%) saying it was in the works.

The Disruptive Technologies research, conducted by Wunderman Thompson Commerce & Technology surveyed IT, eCommerce & marketing leaders in the UK, US and China, and found that 92% of respondents had already adopted or were in the process of implementing at least one of the six leading disruptive technologies: AI, Web 3.0, the metaverse, blockchain, decentralised identity technology and extended reality. Web 3.0 (70%) and the metaverse (65%) in particular continued to be heralded as revolutionary by leaders.

Despite high levels of confidence in adopting technology, on average, two-thirds (67%) of leaders still believed they would benefit from working with specialists to implement each of the disruptive technologies. And over a third (37%) are still struggling to find the right strategic partner.

Even with rising confidence and investment, a level of uncertainty and lack of understanding continues to plague businesses’ ability to adopt these technologies. 51% of small businesses in particular feel unsure about the benefits of Web 3.0 and two-thirds (65%) view the metaverse entirely as hype.

“We now expect to be amazed by the latest technologies…but are equally quick to dismiss bewildering, slow or unreliable solutions”

Nick Harry, Head of Technology at Wunderman Thompson Commerce said: “Technology enables businesses to create new solutions, services or products to meet consumers’ ever-changing and often lofty demands. We now expect to be amazed by the latest technologies and ideas but are equally quick to dismiss bewildering, slow or unreliable solutions. It’s why the metaverse remains in relative infancy – because it’s difficult to visualise what a working, entertainment and even shopping world might look like in the merged virtual and physical environment.

“Taking a leap forward for any business is still fraught with challenges and a lack of understanding. Crucially, it’s about having the right technology partners in place, investing in the right skills and taking the time to understand how innovation can create meaningful, positive change in the customer journey. Companies must strike the balance and invest in the right technology that is going to future-proof their business and customer base for years to come.”

The research was conducted by Censuswide, with 600 senior decision-makers and leaders in digital commerce, marketing and IT, equally split across UK, US and China in companies ranging from £1 million+ to £500 million+ annual turnover. The research was run between 21st to 28th April 2022.