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We Are Yet To Tap The Real Potential of Gen AI for Enterprises

We Are Yet To Tap The Real Potential of Gen AI for Enterprises

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In both business and tech circles, there's a widespread acknowledgment that Generative AI (Gen AI) marks a significant inflection point in technological advancement because it isn’t just a step forward but a leap into new possibilities. A disruption at the scale of Gen AI last occurred with the invention of the internet - closely followed by the launch of the smartphone. 

Much like the advent of the iPhone, which revolutionized personal computing, connectivity, gaming, healthcare, and even TV, Gen AI has the potential to reshape industries and generate new ones.

The significance of Gen AI: A catalyst for change 

The transformative power of Gen AI lies in its ability to emulate human cognition, bridging the gap between machines and human intelligence. What makes Gen AI so undeniable is that nobody can say what it can definitely do, nor what it definitely can’t. 

From expert systems to rule-based algorithms, the goal has always been to create software that can think and act like a human. While previous technologies have made strides in this direction, Gen AI represents a leap forward in terms of capability and potential impact - we’re now inching closer to realizing this dream at an unprecedented pace. What sets Gen AI apart is not just its current capabilities, but its potential for exponential growth and improvement. 

“Enterprises today overestimate what Gen AI can do in the short term, but underestimate what it can do in the long term.”

While it took the iPhone a decade to reach its full potential, Gen AI seems poised to achieve similar milestones in a fraction of that time. Businesses that embrace Gen AI early will have a competitive edge, much like those that capitalized on the internet's emergence as a transformative force.

Early adopters of Gen AI are already reaping the rewards, but the impact will soon extend to every corner of the business world. Just as every business had to adapt to the internet era to remain relevant, the era of Gen AI will demand similar adaptability and readiness. Organizations that fail to prepare for this paradigm shift risk falling behind in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Three types of users and the adoption challenges

Understanding the trajectory of Gen AI adoption is essential for enterprises seeking to leverage its capabilities effectively. The adoption journey can be categorized into three distinct buckets, each presenting its own set of challenges and opportunities.

Individual consumers drive adoption through personal use cases such as travel planning and email composition, serving as early indicators of Gen AI's potential value proposition. This can clearly be seen in OpenAI’s revenue and growth.

Tech companies experiment with Gen AI on the periphery of their operations, exploring potential applications and use cases. While not fully integrated into core functions, these experiments lay the groundwork for future adoption and innovation. 

For instance, a fully activated Gen AI should be able to do 70-80% of what a CMO is doing today for HubSpot. Notable initiatives like Amazon's Rufus, however, signal a shift towards leveraging Gen AI not just for enhancement but as a foundational element of new offerings.

Enterprises represent the third and arguably the most pivotal bucket in the Gen AI adoption journey. While widespread adoption within this segment remains elusive, the looming inflection points are unmistakable. Even more than how it was for the iPhone. Everybody is overestimating what Gen AI can do in 2 years and underestimating what it can do in 10 years. Many of the leaders are getting direction and pressure from the board and their CEOs to come up with a plan, but they are also wary of its capabilities. 

Despite the hype around how 71% of companies are experimenting with Gen AI, the use cases companies have explored so far have been limited to making teams more productive and prompt - to “enhance experiences, offerings, and productivity”. Challenges abound in identifying suitable use cases that yield tangible value without exposing businesses to undue risk. Consequently, some leaders opt to deploy Gen AI cautiously, reserving its application for internal operations to enhance productivity. Furthermore, early adopters are taking proactive measures by establishing AI governance committees and centers of excellence. 

However, the true litmus test lies in the successful implementation of Gen AI in production environments and the realization of its transformative potential.

Building a strong foundation: The role of data in Gen AI adoption

Establishing a robust foundation for Generative AI (Gen AI) is paramount for its successful integration within enterprises. While many prerequisites align with traditional AI frameworks, Gen AI's distinguishing feature lies in its enhanced ability to comprehend unstructured data. This capability signifies the potential value of leveraging a broader spectrum of data within organizational ecosystems. However, concerns surrounding data, both perceived and real, loom large among enterprises.

Foremost among these concerns is data security. “Will my proprietary data become part of the LLM's learning?” “Will it go to some other customer?” As such, implementing a comprehensive data governance strategy becomes imperative. The challenge is that only the most mature enterprises have adopted governance because it needs a lot of people processes and behavioral change in terms of how people produce, consume, and share data. 

“LLMs are powerful but generic. So the question facing enterprises is - how do you make it intelligent about your business?”

The challenge that faces enterprises is how to train Gen AI to think on behalf of their business – why it exists, what it wants to achieve, and the reality in which it exists – challenges and all. And the only way to make it intelligent about your business is by supplying it with your data. In any AI project, data is going to be 80% of the work. 

As enterprises navigate the intricacies of Gen AI integration, prioritizing data-centric strategies and strong governance emerge as cornerstones for success.

Preparing an organization for the big change

In comparison to previous inflection points, the advancement of Gen AI exhibits exponential growth annually, with consistent incremental enhancements every day. An enterprise should educate its workforce on what is possible today. Sustained education plays a vital role in fostering a comprehensive understanding of these issues. From a team standpoint, mastering the nuances of Gen AI entails acquiring specific skills, particularly in development methodologies tailored to the technology's intricacies.

Preparing data for Gen AI deployment unfolds as an iterative process, involving a meticulous examination of the business landscape to pinpoint relevant use cases. This entails scrutinizing data contexts to identify ripe opportunities and leveraging rich and unique datasets that align with high-impact scenarios. A keen focus on data infrastructure and landscape is indispensable, given the rapid influx of tools and emerging technologies.

At Ideas2IT, we transcend conventional tech paradigms, placing equal emphasis on solutioning alongside technological prowess. Our commitment to continuous education and exploration underscores our dedication to understanding the full spectrum of possibilities and high-impact use cases. As we invest incessantly in advancing our capabilities, we advocate for enterprises to emulate this proactive approach, ensuring they remain at the forefront of Gen AI innovation.

The value of niche AI consulting in healthcare

The future belongs to those who not only grasp Gen AI's theoretical potential but actively integrate it into their operational and strategic frameworks, especially within the healthcare sector. 

However, the journey from recognizing Gen AI's importance to actualizing its benefits is marked by a need for clear goals and actionable strategies, a challenge we're dedicated to addressing at Ideas2IT, by focusing on helping healthcare companies leverage Gen AI to overcome the unique data challenges they face.

“Any consulting agency can focus on technology or use case identification or business modeling around Gen AI. But if these capabilities can be combined and brought as a package, it is of tremendous value to any enterprise.”

In contemplating the future landscape of consulting, particularly within the realms of McKinsey, Bain, BCG, and such, there emerges a compelling prospect: the rise of niche AI consulting partners equipped with specialized execution capabilities. By honing expertise in select industries—such as healthcare—consulting firms can delve deep into understanding the intricacies of business challenges, whether in drug discovery or care continuum management. 

It is a two-pronged approach — horizontal and vertical. Under the horizontal approach, you understand and develop competency in a broad set of Gen AI and related technologies for data. In the vertical strategy, you create teams that will focus on what is possible with Gen AI in each of these verticals. Both these approaches need to go hand-in-hand.

Empowering the C-Suite to get stakeholder buy-in

While Generative AI emerges as a transformative force within enterprises, CIOs, and CTOs stand at the forefront of enabling its integration and securing stakeholder buy-in. While top-level mandates may signal the imperative to leverage Generative AI, the onus falls on technology leaders to strategize effectively and cultivate organizational alignment. While it’s encouraging to see enterprises set up task forces to lead the charge on Gen AI adoption, what I see missing right now is a clear mandate on outcomes.

My recommendation centers on establishing a robust enterprise infrastructure that prioritizes both people and processes. This entails nurturing expertise in solution modeling with Gen AI and cultivating the technical prowess necessary for seamless integration within the enterprise ecosystem.

Collaborating with strategic partners, such as Ideas2IT, can provide invaluable support in navigating the complexities of Gen AI implementation. However, it's imperative to ensure that these task forces are not merely fueled by excitement but are driven by predefined deadlines and tangible deliverables.

While cautionary thinking is certainly essential, and focusing on what can go wrong could prompt stronger guardrails and firmer goalposts, the challenge of tapping the true potential of Gen AI is that the best learning we can get is by stretching the limits of what is possible through trial and error- just like Open AI has done through its revolutionary approach of “testing in public”.

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