Insight

Global Technology & Data Leaders Survey: Are you ready for Generative AI?

Published May 14, 2024

  • Data & AI

With GenAI entering the public consciousness last year, the pressure has been mounting on technology leaders to translate the hype, and any highly specific, short-term pilots into genuine competitive advantage for their organization.

In the Wavestone Global Technology & Data Leaders Survey 2024, we talked to nearly 600 technology leaders – Chief Information Officers/Chief Technology Officers/Chief Digital Officers/Chief Information Security Officers – in Europe, North America, and Asia about the impacts of this seismic technology on all parts of their business – covering topics from sustainability to cybersecurity and from foundational capabilities to functional impacts.

The findings reveal that many have yet to lay the necessary foundations to embrace the opportunities of GenAI – while avoiding the risks.

#1 Everyone is late to the party!

The vast majority of technology leaders surveyed (75%) agree they are ‘behind most of their competitors when it comes to using GenAI’.

This corporate FOMO is often an illusion – progress on GenAI adoption is being made in some areas – for example, individual productivity (‘Copilots’), content creation, customer relationship management – but it will be some time before most organizations realize substantial business impact.

  •  of technology leaders agree they are behind most of their competitors when it comes to using GenAI.
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#2 Technology leaders should be alert to ‘new’ risks of GenAI

‘New’ risks specific to GenAI – such as Protecting intellectual property (27%), Hallucinations (26%), Bias (23%) and Ethics (17%) – are largely overlooked. Technology leaders must acknowledge and address the specific risks attached to GenAI implementation, not merely their existing concerns.

The critical steps are to assess their organization’s risk appetite and ensure that business leaders are clear about – and comfortable with – the risks they may encounter.

Chadi Hantouche, Partner, Wavestone

#3 Technology leaders must accept that GenAI is a game-changer for their business

Technology leaders such as CIOs (57%), CTOs (34%) and CISOs (20%) were all listed as more likely to lead or fund GenAI adoption. However, 16% believe that CEOs should take the lead, a far higher figure than for previous generations of AI.

With business leaders showing strong interest in GenAI, the need for technology leaders to align with their aims is non-negotiable – in this high-stakes game, there is no room for ambiguity, misalignment, or indecisiveness.

GenAI is going to be transformational for every part of the organization and the business will expect a return on its investment that extends beyond the IT department.

#4 GenAI’s perceived environmental impact needs a reality check

This finding does not tally with our experience ‘in the field’ and suggests undue optimism or a lack of data regarding the emissions related to GenAI.

The challenge for corporates is the lack of transparency about the emissions associated with GenAI from vendors. The industry should be pushing for more transparency around the environmental impact of GenAI and agree on frameworks.

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#5 The importance of change management is underestimated

Do not underestimate the effort necessary to realize GenAI’s full potential. The full value will only be obtained through profound business and process transformations – which can only occur when it is fully embraced by users, the wider employee base and company leaders. Successful adoption of GenAI will require the implementation of cultural and behavioral change management measures.

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#6 No data quality, no GenAI – period

Data quality will determine the success or failure of GenAI initiatives, yet many organizations have struggled for decades with data quality issues. Now is the time to fix these problems for once and for all. No data quality, no GenAI. Period.

GenAI undoubtedly has the potential to create winners and losers. As with the introduction of Internet, those that are quickest to make the transformations necessary to fully exploit the power of GenAI will realize significant business advantage; while those that are slower to do so will be consigned to irrelevance.

This survey makes it abundantly clear that most organizations have started their GenAI journey but almost none have identified their ultimate destination – and very few have even a clear short-term development roadmap.

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Get advice on how to embrace GenAI.

DATA & AI

WAVESTONE GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY & DATA LEADERS SURVEY 2024

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Author

  • Chadi Hantouche

    Partner – France, Paris

    Wavestone

    LinkedIn