Head over to our on-demand library to view sessions from VB Transform 2023. Register Here
A recent study conducted by IT solutions integrator Insight Enterprises and research company The Harris Poll has shed light on the increasing adoption of generative AI amongst businesses while also uncovering concerns about its implementation.
The study indicates that most business leaders from Fortune 500 companies (72%) plan to incorporate generative AI within the next three years to improve employee productivity.
However, approximately half of the respondents expressed reservations about the deployment of these technologies. The primary concerns cited were quality and control (51%) and safety and security risks (49%).
Furthermore, the study found that 90% of business leaders anticipate that adopting generative AI will impact specific organizational roles.
VB Transform 2023 On-Demand
Did you miss a session from VB Transform 2023? Register to access the on-demand library for all of our featured sessions.
Data analysts and data scientists emerged as the roles leaders thought were most likely to be affected (44%), followed by software developers and testers (37%) and professionals in financial operations and communications roles (32% and 30%).
“As generative AI can assess millions of datasets and find patterns better than any human, it is extremely effective at identifying correlations in research data and making suggestions regarding potential paths for further research,” Matt Jackson, global CTO of Insight, told VentureBeat. “It can use those same capabilities to find patterns in code repositories and generate highly effective software.”
Aiding employee productivity through generative AI
According to the study, business leaders want to embrace generative AI primarily to enhance employee productivity and customer service.
Two-thirds (66%) of these leaders recognize the technology’s potential in improving customer service — with 44% keen on providing personalized customer experiences through gen AI.
“We’re seeing that business leaders, by and large, are excited by the potential of generative AI, primarily because it can drive both productivity improvements and increased customer engagement,” Insight’s Jackson told VentureBeat. “This data shows ample opportunity for internal and external stakeholders to leverage generative AI as a competitive advantage, helping them work ‘smarter,’ not ‘harder.’”
The study reveals that around half of the business leaders (53%) anticipate gen AI’s assistance in research and development, while others expect it to automate software development.
Jackson asserts that generative AI and large language models (LLMs) will revolutionize business interactions and decision-making. He emphasized that the potential use cases for these technologies are virtually limitless, leading to a fundamental shift in the nature of work.
He said that generative AI aligns with the theory of “two types of innovation.” Sustained innovation benefits established industry leaders, while when disruptive innovation emerges it creates new markets and challenges existing businesses.
“This prompts us to inquire: Does this technology primarily serve as a ‘sustaining innovation,’ benefiting dominant hyper-scalers such as Microsoft, who already wield the requisite computing power and research capabilities? Or does it qualify as a ‘disruptive innovation,’ fostering opportunities for an entirely new ecosystem of companies?” Jackson said. “I predict that both scenarios will prove to be accurate. Nevertheless, these tools introduce captivating possibilities for company expansion, operational efficiency, and the creation of innovative products.”
Lingering enterprise concerns around generative AI
The study found that over a quarter of professionals (26%) express concerns about workforce displacement caused by implementing generative AI.
Respondents also cited specific concerns, including the potential limitation of human innovation (39%), budgetary constraints (38%), and compliance with legal and regulatory requirements (35%). Moreover, 38% expressed worries about human error due to lack of understanding of how to use the tool or accidental breaches of their organization’s data.
“Such data indicates that people are still central to decision-making and that we cannot become overly dependent on AI. It can help people become more productive, and it may help companies grow without the need to scale their workforce, but generative AI in its current form cannot replace a human’s creative potential,” said Jackson. “Regardless of industry, businesses are fueled by — and all about — people. Generative AI shouldn’t get in the way of that. People’s needs should be at the forefront of any decision-making surrounding generative AI.”
Jackson emphasized the importance of business decision-makers carefully considering how to efficiently leverage this technology. He said that the initial step is to establish robust governance, and the stage entails developing secure and customized solutions across the entire enterprise.
“Businesses must create guardrails for testing and learning to minimize security risks. A policy framework that gets reviewed on an ongoing basis should help teammates understand the good the technology can achieve, as well as its limitations and drawbacks,” he said. “It’s encouraging to see that these practices are already in motion: Our research also found that 81% of business leaders say their company already has established or implemented policies/strategies around generative AI or are currently in the process of doing so.”
Insight Enterprises and The Harris Poll conducted a targeted survey among 405 U.S. respondents aged 25 and above, all occupying full-time director-level positions or higher at companies with over 1,000 employees.
Insight said the survey results were measured for sampling precision using a credible Bayesian interval by The Harris Poll.
VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative enterprise technology and transact. Discover our Briefings.