Emerging Technologies

3 ways to harness genAI as a business disruptor

To fulfil its potential, genAI requires a fundamental shift in business strategy in organizations.

To fulfil its potential, genAI requires a fundamental shift in business strategy in organizations. Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Stacy Janiak
Global Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte
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Artificial Intelligence

This article is part of: World Economic Forum Annual Meeting
  • A new survey confirms the high expectations business leaders have for generative artificial intelligence (genAI).
  • To fulfil its potential, genAI requires a fundamental shift in business strategy in organizations.
  • Technological advancements are key to confronting global challenges – this requires innovation and guardrails.

Generative artificial intelligence (genAI) has taken centre stage this year – claiming its position at the forefront of technological innovation as the driving force behind the transformation of industries and opening new horizons for businesses worldwide.

Recent market forecasts reveal that genAI is poised to have a profound global economic impact. Recent projections indicate that the genAI market is expected to double every other year for the next 10 years and ultimately will exceed $200 billion by 2032.

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Today, genAI is at an inflection point where organizations are just beginning to recognize its potential, but are yet to see it as a growth catalyst for business. GenAI tools and applications continue to proliferate, and we have started to witness how they can reshape business and government through powerful use cases. The actions taken now are expected to greatly influence how genAI adoption unfolds in the future and whether its benefits will be fully realized while its risks are appropriately managed.

There is widespread consensus that genAI is a game-changer.
There is widespread consensus that genAI is a game-changer. Image: Deloitte

This makes 2024 a critical year. As genAI rapidly reshapes the business landscape, will your organization be at the forefront or fall behind? Are you prepared to govern while managing risk? Will you be a disruptor or be disrupted by the competition? Building on its annual State of AI in the Enterprise report, Deloitte unveiled the first in a series of quarterly surveys exploring how actions taken now will guide how genAI adoption unfolds and whether its benefits are fully realized.

The survey, The State of Generative AI in the Enterprise: Now Decides Next, connected with more than 2,800 directors to C-suite level respondents across six industries and 18 countries. While respondents have a range of self-reported genAI expertise, all are experienced with AI and are piloting or implementing genAI in their organizations.

The survey found that almost half of the leaders consider themselves to have a high or very high degree of expertise when it comes to genAI. Additionally, more than three-quarters of leaders are anticipating genAI will drive substantial organizational transformation in less than three years. This indicates that leaders have high expectations for genAI to provide competitive advantage, despite the fact that their expertise in the technology is still maturing.

Industry disruptors understand that genAI is not just about technology, it’s about a fundamental shift in business strategy. With many companies looking to incorporate genAI only in discrete, siloed initiatives rather than as a systematic revolution across their organization, there may be significant untapped potential to seek larger opportunities for growth and innovation as initial productivity and efficiencies are seen. To fully capitalize on genAI’s potential, organizations should harness the disruptive potential of this emerging technology to reinvent how they conduct business today and in the future.

To help accelerate your path to genAI, organizations should immediately start reimagining and reinventing innovative ways of conducting business to stay ahead in this transformative landscape. To that end, I propose organizations consider three tenets to your genAI roadmap to help propel you forward as a disruptor:

1. Establish a strategy that embraces collaboration and innovation

Today, most organisations strongly focus on tactical, “off-the-shelf” solutions, which can help build their genAI experience and offer immediate returns on efficiency and productivity. However, survey respondents indicated they were less likely to develop bespoke genAI tools to address needs unique to their organizations. Over time, organizations may want to evolve to include both approaches to unlock the potential of all that genAI can fully do to help transform their business.

On the other hand, organizations that want to fully embrace AI should approach their transformation with a holistic and integrated business strategy, incorporating genAI strategies and solutions throughout the fabric of the company. Success with genAI rests on an overall assessment of its opportunities and risks, and determining how that influences your business strategy. And as technology evolves, business strategy also evolves to keep at the pace of innovation. This is what it means to be a disruptor.

Embracing a disruptor’s strategy means collaborating both within and outside your organizational functions and boundaries. From an internal perspective, this means moving beyond technology and stretching across all parts of the business, e.g. talent, operations and risk. From an external perspective, it’s about embracing collaborative innovation alongside alliance ecosystems, government agencies and industry peers.

In addition, disruptors should move beyond business as usual in order to leverage genAI for strategic advantage and innovation. It is vital to explore using gGenAI for things that were thought couldn’t be done before. This should enable organizations to solve existing problems while differentiating themselves from their competitors.

2. Prioritize the human impact

As genAI opens up new ways of working, it consequentially has massive implications for talent – altering how we work, learn and collaborate. To be successful, organizations should focus on the human impact, by prioritizing training and reskilling and identifying a path to reinvesting the time saved through efficiency improvements.

Many organizations surveyed indicate that they are less prepared when it comes to challenges related to genAI and talent. In fact, a lack of technical talent and skills is the top issue holding organizations back. There is more work to be done as less than half of those surveyed agree they are sufficiently educating their employees on the capabilities, benefits and value of genAI.

Importantly, we must not lose sight of the fact that some of the most productive uses of genAI will not be about replacing people, but instead will be about augmenting people’s skills to enhance productivity, knowledge and creativity. Humans will thrive in this environment and will be critical to ensuring that risks are addressed and mitigated along the way.

3. Adopt a proactive approach to risk and governance

While genAI has unleashed new ways of working and transforming enterprises, it has also exposed new potential risks. These risks call for increased collaboration beyond organizational boundaries. In fact, only a quarter of all those surveyed believe their organization is highly or very highly prepared to address governance and risk issues related to genAI adoption. A proactive and robust approach to risk and governance is essential in safeguarding the business.

While the regulatory landscape continues to evolve, a robust governance framework is the cornerstone of a successful genAI integration. This isn’t about setting rules, it‘s about crafting a vision that aligns with your business’s values and pinpointing potential risks and gaps in capabilities, then validating that performance. By taking this critical step, a framework can both help safeguard the business and establish confidence and provide a foundation for genAI to flourish. Proactively anticipating potential challenges and taking active steps to improve trust and confidence in the technology should provide a balanced approach that helps enable an organization to manage the risks of genAI innovation with the rewards. Striking this balance should create trust across the fabric of your organization.


How is the World Economic Forum creating guardrails for Artificial Intelligence?

As momentum for genAI continues to mature, the potential is immense, the opportunities are boundless, and the time to act is now. This revolution is not a distant future – it’s a present reality and we have a choice to make today. Will we be the disruptors who harness genAI to redefine our industries? Or will we be disrupted by those who dared to embrace change?

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Emerging TechnologiesFourth Industrial RevolutionForum Institutional
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