Two-thirds of large organisations will rely on tech vendors to navigate AI legislation

Some of the UK & Ireland’s largest organisations are looking to their software vendors to help them stay on the right side of artificial intelligence (AI) regulations, research has revealed.

Two-thirds (66 per cent) of respondents surveyed by SAS, a global leader in AI and analytics, said they expect their current AI software suppliers to help them comply – placing more trust in them than their own legal and IT teams (57 per cent and 21 per cent respectively).

They are also more than twice as likely to trust their current vendor compared to a new one.

The findings appear in SAS’ latest report, AI Readiness: How are organisations preparing for new requirements?

As many as 85 per cent said they were confident that their AI software could meet new regulatory requirements – and the same proportion again were confident in their vendor’s knowledge of the pending legislation.

Around 57 per cent said this was because their vendor had shared their expertise with legislators ahead of new laws being drafted, and 54 per cent said their vendor had previously advised them on AI compliance.

The study also found that 88 per cent of organisations had already started to make changes to their software in line with new legislation or had plans to do so.

That leaves 12 per cent who have yet to take action, putting them at risk of non-compliance and falling behind the technology curve. Lack of resources, such as skills, was the reason cited by 72 per cent of respondents, while 48 per cent believe they lack third-party support.

The report comes as the EU is expected to implement its AI Act by March 2024, the first of its kind by major regulator. The UK government has set out five principles for the responsible use of AI – stressing that it wants to avoid legislation that could stifle innovation. However, it hasn’t ruled out introducing a statutory duty for regulators to ensure the principles are followed.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Iain Brown, Head of Data Science at SAS Northern Europe, said:

“AI is arguably the most powerful and transformative technology we’ve seen in a generation – so it’s more critical than ever that organisations exercise due diligence when selecting a vendor. They need a trusted partner who can advise on adoption of best practices across the organisation, and has the ability to create trustworthy AI solutions.

“In addition, it’s important to foster accountability throughout the company. Staff training and consciousness regarding data usage need to be firmly grounded in data management principles, including data quality and lineage. It is also crucial to establish robust model governance to continually monitor the array of models being used across an organisation, and ensure outputs minimise potential bias.”

For more research findings on how organisations are preparing for AI legislation, as well as a four-step guide on how to be ready, download a free copy of SAS’ report, AI Readiness: How are organisations preparing for new requirements?


SAS commissioned the research which was carried out by Coleman Parkes, from December 2022 to January 2023. The research was conducted to Market Research Society standards. Respondents were decision-makers in data, analytics and cloud services based in the UK and Ireland. There were 200 respondents in total, and each worked at companies with more than 3,000 employees.

Two-thirds of large organisations will rely on tech vendors to navigate AI legislation

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