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a recent research performed by IT solutions integrator Insight Enterprises and research firm The Harris Survey has shed light on the increasing adoption of generative AI among companies while also highlighting concerns about its implementation.
The research indicates that most business leaders at Fortune 500 companies (72%) plan to integrate generative AI to improve employee productivity within the next three years.
However, about half of the respondents have reservations about the use of these technologies. The top concerns mentioned were quality and control (51%) and safety and security risks (49%).
In addition, the survey found that 90% of business leaders expect the adoption of generative AI to impact specific organizational roles.
Data analysts and data scientists emerged as the roles leaders thought would be most impacted (44%), followed by software developers and testers (37%) and professionals in financial operations and communications functions (32% and 30%) .
“Since generative AI can assess millions of data sets and find patterns better than any human, it is extremely effective at identifying correlations in research data and suggesting possible paths for further research,” said Matt Jackson, global CTO of Insight, to VentureBeat. “It can use the same capabilities to find patterns in code repositories and generate highly effective software.”
Boosting employee productivity through generative AI
Business leaders want to embrace generative AI primarily to improve employee productivity and customer service, according to the research.
Two-thirds (66%) of these leaders recognize the technology’s potential for improving customer service – with 44% excited about delivering personalized customer experiences through gen AI.
“We see business leaders generally excited about the potential of generative AI, especially as it can drive both productivity improvements and increased customer engagement,” Insight’s Jackson told VentureBeat. “This data shows that there is ample opportunity for internal and external stakeholders to leverage generative AI as a competitive advantage, enabling them to work ‘smarter’, not ‘harder’.”
The survey shows that about half of business leaders (53%) anticipate the help of gen AI in research and development, while others expect it to automate software development.
Jackson claims that generative AI and large language models (LLMs) will revolutionize business interactions and decision making. He stressed that the potential use cases for these technologies are virtually limitless, leading to a fundamental shift in the nature of work.
He said generative AI aligns with the “two kinds of innovation” theory. Sustainable innovation benefits established market leaders, while disruptive innovation creates new markets and challenges existing companies.
“This begs the question: Does this technology serve primarily as ‘sustainable innovation’, to the benefit of dominant hyperscalers such as Microsoft, who already have the computational power and research capabilities required? Or does it qualify as a ‘disruptive innovation’, opening up opportunities for an entirely new ecosystem of companies?” Jackson said. “I predict that both scenarios will turn out to be true. Nevertheless, these tools introduce exciting opportunities for business expansion, operational efficiency and the creation of innovative products.”
Persistent enterprise concerns about generative AI
The survey found that more than a quarter of professionals (26%) are concerned about workforce displacement as a result of implementing generative AI.
Respondents also mentioned specific concerns, including the potential limitation of human innovation (39%), budget constraints (38%), and regulatory compliance (35%). In addition, 38% expressed concerns about human error due to a lack of understanding of how to use the tool or accidental breaches of their organization’s data.
“Such data indicates that humans are still at the center of decision-making and that we should not become overly dependent on AI. It can help people become more productive and it can help businesses grow without scaling their workforce, but generative AI in its current form cannot replace a human’s creative potential,” said Jackson. “Regardless of the industry, businesses are powered by – and all about – people. Generative AI should not get in the way of that. People’s needs should be at the forefront of any decision making around generative AI.”
Jackson stressed the importance of business decision makers carefully considering how to efficiently leverage this technology. He said the first step is to establish robust governance, and the phase includes developing secure and tailored solutions for the entire enterprise.
“Companies need to create guardrails for testing and learning to minimize security risks. A policy framework that is constantly being reviewed should help teammates understand the good the technology can achieve as well as its limitations and drawbacks,” he said. “It is encouraging to see these practices already underway: from our research also found that 81% of business leaders say their company has already established or implemented generative AI policies/strategies or is in the process of starting to do so.”
Insight Enterprises and The Harris Poll conducted a targeted study of 405 US respondents ages 25 and older, all of whom held full-time, board-level or higher positions at companies with more than 1,000 employees.
Insight said the survey results were measured for sampling precision using a credible Bayesian interval by The Harris Poll.
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