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Gartner: Execs put generative AI on business agenda

Generative AI is being pushed up the boardroom agenda, with more organisations appearing to be piloting the technology

The hype surrounding generative AI (GenAI) has meant the technology is now on the boardroom agenda, according to analyst Gartner.

In August, Gartner put GenAI at the top of its hype cycle, suggesting there is a lot of industry noise about the technology. At the time, Arun Chandrasekaran, distinguished vice-president analyst at Gartner, said: “The massive pretraining and scale of AI foundation models, viral adoption of conversational agents and the proliferation of generative AI applications are heralding a new wave of workforce productivity and machine creativity.”

The analyst firm has also been looking at how quickly the technology has been adopted and whether organisations are piloting or deploying generative AI in production environments. In a recent survey of 1,419 executive leaders, 45% reported that they are piloting generative AI, and another 10% have put generative AI-based applications into production.

This represents a big increase over the past few months. When Gartner looked at the take-up of generative AI in March and April 2023, it found that just 15% of executives surveyed were piloting the technology and only 4% had systems with GenAI in production.

“Organisations are not just talking about generative AI – they’re investing time, money and resources to move it forward and drive business outcomes,” said Frances Karamouzis, distinguished vice-president analyst at Gartner. “In fact, 55% of organisations reported increasing investment in generative AI since it surged into the public domain 10 months ago. Generative AI is now on CEO and board agendas as they seek to take advantage of the transformative potential of this technology.”

Gartner reported that 78% of those polled believe that the benefits of generative AI outweigh its risks. This is higher than the 68% who reported this sentiment in the earlier poll.

“Executives are taking a bolder stance on generative AI as they see the profound ways that it can drive innovation, optimisation and disruption,” said Karamouzis. “Business and IT leaders understand that the ‘wait and see’ approach is riskier than investing.”

The main factors driving adoption include driving business growth (30%), cost optimisation (26%) and customer experience/retention (24%).

Gartner’s survey also found that 45% of enterprises are scaling generative AI investments across multiple business functions, with 22% scaling across more than three different functions. Software development is the function with the highest rate of adoption or investment in generative AI, followed closely by marketing and customer service.

“Many organisations began their AI journey with an overemphasis on cost optimisation and efficiency,” said Karamouzis. “Savvy companies have moved beyond this to focus initiatives on efficacy, quantifiable value and business agility in products and services. This ensures visibility, trust and synergy among stakeholders, and most importantly, alignment to business outcomes.”

Read more about generative AI

  • At Generative AI World 2023, various industries convened to explore existing and potential generative AI use cases. Review insights from one company’s implementation experience.
  • Learn how generative AI will affect organisations in terms of capabilities, enterprise workflows and ethics, and how the technology will shape enterprise use cases.

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